When Your Ends Don't Meet –
Overcoming Financial Stress
By Keith Coppersmith
Stress is somewhat of a modern-day epidemic, with more people experiencing it than those who don’t, or at the very least, those that rarely do. We feel tense when we fail to devote more time to bonding with our loved ones, when we fail to deliver the project to our client on time, or when we have no time to pursue some of our relaxing hobbies. However, one of the most common culprits of chronic stress can be found in financial instability. Managing your personal funds is a difficult task, involving everything from saving for your kids’ college fund, all the way to managing the budget for weekly groceries.
Whether you’re in a transitional period, or your career simply cannot satisfy the needs of your lifestyle, the stress of not having enough in your bank account can indeed be overwhelming. The ends might as well meet, but barely so, and that strain is more than enough to feel like a burden of survival, instead of the joy of living your life to the fullest. So, if you need some coping strategies to reduce the effects of financial stress on your life, here are a few that have been tried and tested that might help you restore balance to your life.
Swap unhealthy for healthy coping behaviors
We all have our weaknesses, and they are at their most prominent when we feel pressured to meet certain expectations, and we fail to do so. Stress can push you into numerous unhealthy habits, such as smoking, drinking, or binge-eating on junk food and candy. Those, however, tend to lead to more stress on your mind as well as your body, in the form of guilt for spending the money you don’t have on items you don’t need, and in the form of the actual damage you do to your health.
Take some time to consider better, less self-destructive behaviors that can serve as your coping mechanisms and actually reduce stress. For example, meditation, yoga, or gardening are all viable options. There are dozens of videos online so you needn’t pay for an expensive private lesson, and the effects can be the same. On the other hand, if you choose to grow plants you can actually eat later on, you’ll not only have a healthy coping mechanism, but also another way to eat better and cut your expenses.
Seek help in any form you need it
The anxiety and potential depression that may stem from financial stress are indeed very serious health issues. If you can prevent them with the help of those coping mechanisms until you get your financial life back on track, all the better. But in case you find yourself unable to cope, then seeking professional help may be your best option. If it’s necessary, talk to a mental health professional to manage your stress better. Then again, you should also consider talking to a financial advisor in case you’re not certain your skills will be enough to get you out of debt and back on the right track.
In certain situations, looking into financial solutions such as low-rate personal loans to help you consolidate your debt might be the best step forward to have a fresh financial start and rebuild your financial independence. These loans are a temporary solution, so make sure to combine them with a long-term budget plan that will satisfy your lifestyle needs, and one that will preferably avoid leading to any future debt.
Talk it out and make a plan
You’re not alone. You may feel as if the burden of this difficult situation lies entirely on your shoulders, but the truth is, you certainly have people around you who can share their two cents and help you cope. It can be your spouse, your grown children, your friends, or your accomplished relatives. Anyone with any experience of managing finances or stress for that matter can help you find smarter ways to face the issue at hand.
When you find your trusted confidant, you can and should make a budget plan. No matter how little you have at your disposal, planning your expenses can help you make sure you’re prepared. Budgeting is an intricate, complex task, so prepare to make changes on the go and to monitor your expenses. You can use apps to track your spending, see where you can make some cuts, and allocate your money to the most important items on the list.
Look for an additional source of income
Raising a family while you manage your financial setbacks can be quite a burden. Some people rely on their emergency funds in these situations to make sure they’re prepared for the future, but where should this emergency fund come from if your salary can barely cover your needs and paying off your debt? Thanks to the digital revolution and our changing pace of life, you can now start a second career online, a part-time job in the digital world that may be the best solution to your situation.
This gives you the autonomy you need to build your financial safety net one project at a time, while it also gives you time to build a more reliable approach to finances and a budget plan for the future. Ask other members of the family to pitch in with extra work, too, such as pet-sitting, babysitting, tutoring, or gardening for the neighbors. A little can go a long way for reducing stress and getting back on your feet.
The stress of financial turmoil can be very severe and manifest in a range of different, unhealthy and self-destructive forms of behavior that may ultimately contribute to your financial issues. Use these tips to deal with the stress as a consequence as well as the underlying issues that cause your financial troubles. That way, you’ll be able to nip this issue in the bud and become more resilient to stress in your life.
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight of the marketing industry based on both practice and theory.