Dealing with financial stress

By:  Catherine Morgan, The Money Panel 

Dealing with a financial shock can cause stress and financial upheaval.  We often get into money conversations with ourselves that are really difficult and because these conversations are stressful, we tend to just find something else to do. Occasionally we get into a scarcity mind set – that we’ll never have any money again or never be able to afford things that we want.  These conversations drain all of our energy and it feels so bad that we just don’t do anything about it.

To help you manage these difficult shocks, we’ve got 6 things you can do now to lift your spirits and help you deal with financial stress…

  1. Raise your Mood

Stick some music on, ideally something to get you moving and feel good.  This will help you to tackle something that you’ve been putting off. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a treat too, it’s really important that we give ourselves a pat on the back if we accomplish something that we have been putting off for a while.

  1. Write it down

Make a list, a simple notepad is all you need and dump everything on the page.  Whilst writing your to do list, ask yourself

  • Do these tasks need to be completed by me or could I share the responsibility with a partner, for example? Can it be done by somebody else, or can you get somebody else to support you?
  • Do I have to do it now? Is it a priority or can it be done later?
  • Pick one thing to do now and get that done. It’s a good idea to identify the most important thing (and often the most difficult) first and tackle that.  This will make everything else seem like a breeze in comparison.
  • If there is something that you simply must do and has a deadline, treat it as an emergency and do that first.
  1. Change your language and shift your energy

If you tell yourself “I’m rubbish at managing money”, then your whole body and mindset is going to reflect that.  Change your language to “I’m looking forward to learning ways to manage my money better” and your brain will look for evidence to support that view, so remember, the overwhelming stress is just a feeling.

Once you open up the opportunity to be kind to yourself, and have more confidence, then managing money can be seen as an opportunity or challenge rather than something negative.

  1. Focus on the present

By focusing on the here and now could take away some of that overwhelm. Don’t worry right now about the financial future IF you’re in a difficult situation right now and that’s causing you financial stress. Deal with the here and now, and deal with the future later.

  1. Plan your time

It’s really important to set some time aside to deal with your to do list.  Try to identify what you are going to do each day, put it in your diary and stick to it.

  1. See it as a challenge rather than a chore

Treat your financial stress as something you can overcome rather than an obstacle.  It’s a bit like if you go to the gym when you really don’t want to go.  Once you’ve been, it makes you feel good so it’s going to make you want to go back again.  Don’t forget to think about how could you reward yourself afterwards too.

BONUS TIP – Develop a Habit

The more you focus on these tips, the more likely they are to become part of your daily routine so in summary…

  • Raise your mood
  • Write it down
  • Change your language and shift your energy
  • Focus on the present
  • Plan your time
  • Set it as a challenge
  • Develop healthy financial habits