Financial anxiety is becoming a more common issue in our society. Especially because of the economic landscape which continues to cause a deep sense of uncertainty. In 2022, around three in four adults reported feeling worried about the rising cost of living. More than half felt worried every single day.
The reasons for struggling with money worries differ from person to person. They may have recently lost their job, be facing redundancy or have debts that feel overwhelming.
Some may see changes in external situations that are placing pressure on their income. This could include inflation, rent and mortgage increases, or the need to pay for care for another family member.
Some people may be in a stable financial position but have had past traumatic experiences. This can make them feel anxious about money.
Whatever the reason for struggling with financial anxiety, we know that it can be debilitating. It can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and can take its toll emotionally, physically, and mentally.
While there’s no quick fix for overcoming financial anxiety, there are steps to take that may help with money worries.
Talk to someone
Sometimes, it might feel easiest to bury your feelings and ignore the anxiety. But by doing this, you’re at risk of the problem getting bigger. Or your emotions may become too overwhelming to manage.
Follow the mantra ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. By opening up to someone else, you can begin to find positive support systems and solutions to your concerns. This could be a friend, family member or someone impartial like the citizens advice bureau in Jersey or Guernsey.
When you’re struggling with feelings of overwhelm, finding ways to feel in control can help. When it comes to money, a good first step is to budget. This can show you your incomings and outgoings, highlight where costs can be reduced and enable you to plan day-to-day.
If you struggle to do this work on your own, asking a friend or family member can really help. A fresh set of eyes may spot any regular outgoings that you may not have even realised you have.
Keep a money diary
Suffering from financial anxiety could be linked to other issues such as mental ill-health. There can be a link between being unwell and struggling to manage your finances, which can lead to financial anxiety. For example, if someone is depressed, they may feel a short-term elation from shopping which could lead to overspending.
Some people may avoid checking on their finances or paying debts, because this triggers a mental health spiral.
Keeping a money diary can help manage these behaviours. Note down how you were feeling at the time and what happened. Then, come up with alternative actions for the next time you feel that way. Perhaps it’s calling someone for support. Or it could be finding an alternative activity to give you a sense of positivity. This could be exercise, watching your favourite film or listening to music.
Seek medical support
Financial anxiety may be something you’re managing in isolation. It may also be related to other mental health issues you have. Whatever your circumstance, getting support from a trained professional is key.
You can do this by speaking to your GP or finding mental health support systems in the Channel Islands. These include Guernsey and Jersey Mind, Jersey Recovery College, the Jersey Listening Lounge and Samaritans Guernsey.
Having financial worries might seem impossible to manage, especially if you feel alone or overwhelmed. But, with the right support systems and action plans, it is possible to overcome and regain a sense of financial control. Speak to someone today to start your recovery journey to a happier, healthier, financially freer life.