Coping with Financial Stress in Your Daily Life 

Stress Management

Wow!!  Life has heaped on a mountain of financial stress!!  You are experiencing a tough life crisis--maybe a divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of your job, or a severe health issue.  Although very different in nature, the events represent a crisis in your life with a capital "C."  Add to that a loss in income and financial security, and the stress level can skyrocket! 

The crisis you are experiencing is forcing you to make rapid changes in your life which results in stress.  If your income has dropped, you must cope with this financial stress as well as the daily reminders--bills piling up, medical treatments, groceries, children's clothing, or transportation expenses.  What do you do?

What is Causing Your Financial Stress?

Review your financial picture by completing this simple written exercise.

  • Write down some specific ways that you and your family can reduce expenses or manage your finances more efficiently.  Then, use these strategies to create a monthly list of expenses you are comfortable in following.
  • Now list your projected monthly income.  Is there a gap between the total monthly expenses and total monthly income?  You might look for a part-time job or hobby to supplement your income.
  • Making decisions in areas where you have control can help you feel more secure in these insecure economic times. Cut back on leisure-time activity expenses and realign your food expenses to control costs.
  • If you are having trouble paying bills, ask for help by calling your bank, utilities or credit card companies. 

Performing this written exercise offers you a clearer picture of where things stand now, and just putting things in writing can help you cope with your financial stress.

Remember to Take Care of Yourself.

When you are in the middle of a stressful situation, you need to maintain self control.  Some people, in rough times, try to relieve problems such as financial stress by engaging in smoking, drinking alcohol, gambling, or emotional eating.  High levels of stress can also affect relationships.  If you find yourself spiralling in the wrong direction, consider seeking help from a mental health professional before the problem becomes worse. Sharing worries with people who have similar experiences can help calm your stress. 

Always take care of your health.  Although your income may be sharply reduced, maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Good nutrition and exercise keeps you fit, while reducing stress.

Take One Day At A Time.

In difficult economic times, try to consider how the forced changes in your life can become growth opportunities.  Always remember to take one day at a time, and set small goals that you can accomplish and in which you can take pride.  Resolve one issue at a time. Consider learning a new skill.  Take a course or look into low-cost resources that can lead to a better job.  Turn the negative situation into a positive outcome as you develop new ways to manage your life.

Share Your Time.

Doing something for others is a great way to get your mind off your own financial stress troubles, help them and improve your own self-esteem.  Community involvement and donating time and talents to a community project, church or other organization can be a source of self-pride and may even provide a meaningful entry on your resume.  Engage in activities that can release stress, like exercise, hobbies or enjoying time with friends and family. The stressful situation may not be going away, but with these types of activities, you can react to the stress with a more positive outcome.

Develop An Action Plan.

When planning for your economic future, you may feel a sense of urgency to make quick decision, but you also want to make the best choices for long term success. Since the financial stress can impact the family members, you should make certain that everyone involved understands his or her responsibilities and how each can lend a hand in helping relieve some of the daily hassles that may be adding to the tension. 

This is probably a good time to hone your time management strategies.  Use time efficiently when researching job opportunities or learning new skills, and try to set a daily action plan as you consider your financial solutions. 

This may be a good time for you to talk with professional employment agencies to get a fresh look at your existing skill set and see how to reconfigure them to match different job opportunities.

Lower Financial Worries & Build a Career from Home

Tips for Managing Financial Stress

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