On top of the damaging health effects so many have experienced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the negative impacts of the virus don’t stop there—it’s also introduced financial instability to countless individuals in America. Whether you missed out on your annual company bonus or are dealing with being furloughed or laid off, financial stress is at an all time high for many Americans. The Commonwealth Fund reported that over 30 percent of Americans say they’re facing negative economic impacts due to the pandemic.
As unemployment numbers continue to rise and fewer jobs are available, you’re certainly not alone if you’re struggling to keep your head above water financially. You also might not realize that the impact of your financial stress could be doing damage to your mental and physical health.
Did you know that:
- Close to 2 in 3 adults say money is a significant source of stress in their life.
- 48% of Americans report losing sleep at night due to financial constraint.
- 13% of those reported their ability to pay their credit card debt as the sole cause of their sleep loss.
- 20% of Americans said they felt physically ill at least once a month due to the debt they carry.
- 31% of Americans reported their financial anxiety led to feelings of depression on a monthly basis in 2020.
- 43% of Americans in debt said it negatively affected their sense of direction.
The damage that stress can do to our mental and physical wellbeing is real, and taking measures to manage its negative effects is imperative. While your financial situation might not change overnight, there are plenty of simple self care habits you can implement today and start feeling better sooner rather than later.
For example, are you one of the 48 percent of Americans losing sleep at night due to money issues? Start by taking control of your sleep schedule and committing to more consistent sleep. This can do wonders for your energy levels and overall mental state. Although sleep hygiene may not strike you as an act of self care, it’s a simple but powerful habit that really does make a difference in both your mental and physical health.
Perhaps you’re one of the 43 percent of Americans who said debt negatively affects their sense of direction. When it comes to unprecedented financial struggles, it can certainly make our world feel more uncertain. You can combat this by committing to a gratitude practice, where you take time each day to name a few things you’re grateful for. While it seems small, making this a habit can do wonders for your mindset and outlook on life. When we take the time to consider what we have to celebrate and be thankful for, we spend less time agonizing over the things we wish we could change.
Another small but mighty act of self care? A mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is simply the practice of being aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment. Many of us live life on autopilot, moving through our days in a state of reactivity. This can leave us detached from our own needs and can make it harder to move through difficult situations, such as financial stressors. By implementing mindfulness into our daily routines, we can find more clarity and acceptance of our situation and find better ways to navigate them with confidence and ease, rather than stress.
In addition to these self care habits, another way we can lower our financial stress is by educating ourselves on money management and where we could improve. When we’re faced with difficult or overwhelming situations—especially financial ones—it can be tempting to simply ignore it for fear of what we might find. While this may appease stress momentarily, it ultimately only creates more stress. While it might be hard to face at first, taking control of your financial situation and educating yourself on how you can better manage it will not only improve your financial situation, but your self esteem as well. The more you work at it, the more confident you will become in your ability to overcome the challenge and come out on the other side.
These are just a few examples of how simple it can be to take care of yourself and manage your stress levels effectively. For more self care strategies that can help you fend off the effects of financial stress, this visual designed by CreditRepair outlines additional habits you can start introducing today. Stress is an undeniable part of life, but with the right stress management techniques, you can nourish yourself to become a healthier, more resilient you.