How to Address Financial Stress

Financial worry can affect your overall health. Here's what you can do about it.

In light of Mental Health Week, we’re demonstrating the effects of financial stress on your mental wellbeing as well as some tips for how to mitigate those stresses.

What is Financial Stress?

To put it simply, financial stress is when you are consistently worried about money—not having enough to pay bills, participate in activities you enjoy, plan for the future, and more.

Financial stress does not discriminate; it affects folks from all over the world, from all stages of life, at different phases of their life.

Financial stress can be caused by loss of work, increasing debt, unexpected expenses, and other factors. The recent economic difficulties brought on over the last two years mean that even more of us are now facing financial struggles and hardship.

Financial worry is one of the most common stressors in modern life and is often touted as the primary source of tension in relationships.

Research shows that 48% of Canadians say they’ve lost sleep because of financial worries and 44% say it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay is late.

What is the impact of financial stress?

Financial worries can negatively impact your overall quality of life, including but not limited to, your:

  • Mental health: anger, shame, fear, mood swings, depression, anxiety
  • Physical health: pain, weight gain, weight loss, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, high blood pressure
  • Personal relationships: tension, social withdrawal
  • Sleep patterns: exhaustion, over-sleeping, insomnia
  • Self-esteem
  • Energy levels

It can lead to unhealthy coping strategies used to escape the stress such as:

  • Abuse of alcohol
  • Use of narcotics
  • Gambling
  • Overeating
  • Self-harm or thoughts of suicide

What can I do?

No matter how hopeless the situation seems, there is help.

  1. Talk to someone. Find a trusted resource whether that be a family member, friend, or professional therapist to work through the worries and stress.
  2. Take inventory of your finances. Start small. Look at all your monthly expenditures and compare it to your monthly income. Where can you make quick changes to help get back on track?
  3. Get professional advice. There are plenty of resources available to help consumers manage their financial stress including:

a. Talking to your local credit union branch.

b. Making an appointment with a professional credit counseling entity such as the Credit Counseling Society or Consolidated Credit.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada also has great resources to help Canadians get back on track including:

  • Budgeting and money management
  • How to pay down debt
  • Smart ways to save
  • Planning for retirement
  • And much more!

You’re not alone. Access Credit Union supports our members who may be struggling to get back on track by offering flexible repayment plans on loans, comprehensive demand account options, and expert advice.

Contact us today to set up an appointment with a lending specialist, wealth manager, or personal account representative to get started on your future.

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