Money and mental health

Struggling with money can make you feel stressed, anxious and depressed, so how can you protect your mental health?

Money worries can have a big impact on our sense of wellbeing, leading to huge amounts of stress and anxiety. It’s hard to enjoy life when you’re constantly worried about money, so what can we do about it? 

How money affects mental health 

The pressure to make ends meet and the worry around what happens if you can’t can trigger intense stress and anxiety. This can manifest in many ways: not being able to concentrate, feeling irritable, restless or tense, experiencing headaches and nausea.  

Money worries can keep you up at night too, and a lack of sleep can make everything feel worse.  

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that 86% of the 5,500 people surveyed as part of their Money and Mental Health survey said that their financial situation made their mental health worse.  

How to look after your mental health 

Acknowledge your feelings 

The first step to feeling better about money is to acknowledge how you’re feeling. There’s no shame in admitting money is impacting your mental health – it’s a worrying time and only natural to feel anxious or depressed about your situation. Don’t bottle it up.  

Talk to others 

We’re much more likely to keep money worries to ourselves than admit to others that we’re struggling. Keeping it all to yourself is a big thing that can lead to feelings of shame, slowly chipping away at your self-esteem. Feeling worried about money is a lonely place, and talking to others about how you’re feeling can really help boost your wellbeing. 

Create a budget 

Sometimes taking the first step towards taking control of your finances is all you need for your anxiety to start easing. We’re not suggesting all your worries will be solved, but knowing you’re being proactive feels much better than burying your head in the sand. Create a simple budget to start looking at where you can cut back. 

Look after yourself 

Financial stress is extremely draining, so make sure you take the time to look after yourself. Make time to do something you enjoy, even if it’s as simple as a short walk in the park. Try and prioritise eating well and getting enough sleep too, so you’ll have enough energy to tackle things during the day. 

Challenge negative thoughts 

Money doesn’t define us, and struggling with money doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. If you find yourself being overly critical of yourself, try and stop that negative voice in your head and nip it in the bud. Remind yourself that struggling with money is really, really common, and you’re not alone. 

Seek help 

Don’t be ashamed to seek help. There are many charities who provide debt advice, and you van find a list on Money Helper. []. 

If you’re struggling with your mental health and it’s affecting your day-to-day life, make an appointment to discuss things with your GP. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction for seeking help and will be able to talk you through other ways to start improving your mental health.