Financial Stress and Mental Health: 5 Key Steps for Self Care



✔Financial stress affects millions of Canadians every day and affects overall health and well-being

✔If you’re struggling with financial stress, there’s hope! Understanding the reasons for it and creating a simple plan is a great first step

✔You don’t need to suffer alone. Look after yourself, tackle money problems head-on and reach out for support

Financial health and mental wellness are strongly linked. The Government of Canada includes financial wellness as one of the three key pillars of good health. Financial illness is considered one of our biggest social problems and is the root cause of other visible illnesses. People who are financially stressed are more likely to live with depression, have health problems such as headaches and high blood pressure, and have strain in their personal relationships and perform poorly at work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique financial challenges for millions of Canadians. In times like these when the future may feel uncertain, take time to reflect on how financial stress impacts your overall health and try your best to make time to focus on your physical, mental and financial well-being.

Financial health is self care

If financial stress weighs on your mind, you’re not alone, especially during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Seymour Financial Resilience Index™ from October 2020, more than 18 million Canadians (72%) are not financially resilient.  Renters, women, part-time workers and the underemployed are becoming more financially vulnerable. A year-end report found 27% of Canadians feel anxious about their financial situation, and 21% are pessimistic about 2021.

Tips for managing financial stress 

Financial Self Care Tip #1: Try not to become overwhelmed—better tomorrows are within your reach! If you’re able to take steps to pay off your debt or grow your savings, remember that even slow progress is still progress.

Financial Self Care Tip #2: You deserve to be healthy and happy so look after yourself physically and emotionally with exercise, good nutrition and restful sleep. You’ll be in better shape to handle financial stress. 

Financial Self Care Tip #3: Take control so your finances don’t control you. Think about what is causing you financial stress – maybe your money management style needs work, maybe you need to start a budget, or look at cutting expenses or earning extra income.

Financial Self Care Tip #4: If debt is eating away at you, create a specific plan to reduce your debt. You might want to consider a consolidation loan, or talk to your lenders about repayment terms that work better for you.

Financial Self Care Tip #5: Cast off the money taboo and talk to someone. Getting support when you’re feeling depressed or anxious can help. Reach out to a friend, a family member or a mental health professional. Many employers offer confidential, free employee assistance programs, or you can look for mental health services in your area.

As a society, we’ve opened up the conversation around mental health in recent years. We’re also seeing more support to reduce the stigma and provide more resources to help Canadians access help if they’re struggling. As you make your way towards a better financial future, listen to your mind and body, and don’t be afraid to seek help. We are here to listen too.

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