Financial Stress Can Affect Mental Health

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

✔ Financial stress affects millions of Canadians every day and contributes to your overall health and well-being.

✔ If you’re struggling with financial stress – there’s hope! Understanding the reasons for financial stress 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.
 


We just spent two bright, bustling months surrounded by friends and family. So, why don’t we feel rejuvenated in January? Firstly, after the high of the holidays, the winter blues begin to set in. Secondly, the party’s over and the holiday bills start to arrive. You’re not alone and there is hope.

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, in addition to mental and physical wellness. 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.

If financial stress weighs on your mind, you’re not alone: about half of Canadians say they’ve lost sleep over money worries. 44% say it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay was late, and almost half say financial stress affects their performance at work. Almost a third of surveyed Canadians spent a little or a lot more than their household income in 2019, according to the 2019 Financial Health Index. Because they’ve run out of money, 46% use credit to buy food or pay expenses.  And yet, there’s still a stigma that encourages us to keep our finances private so many Canadians end up suffering in silence.

What can you do to manage your financial stress? Here are some tips:

  • 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.
     
  • 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. 
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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 wellness 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. 

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