At ClearScore, we know that a major part of managing your money is looking at the emotional impact it can have on you. In this article, we’ll cover some tips that should help when attempting to maintain your finances while ensuring your mental wellbeing doesn’t suffer.
Talk to someone
The old motto of “a problem shared is a problem halved” is as true today as it’s always been, especially when it comes to talking about money. Talking to someone you trust about any challenges surrounding your finances has two benefits. Firstly, you’re making this person aware that this is a challenge that you’re currently facing, and secondly, you’re beginning to come to terms with the idea that there might be a problem here.
Talking it over will help you consider what next steps you can take to start feeling in control of your finances again, potentially taking a massive weight off your shoulders. With any luck, it'll mean you can start making a plan.
Stick to your daily routine
If you feel that problems looking after your money have become the elephant in the room, it’s probably going to feel overwhelming and intimidating. It could even affect your ability to operate on a daily basis.
However hard it feels, it’s really important that you stick to your daily routine as much as you can, so whether it’s your morning run, or seeing friends every Wednesday, keep doing it. Even if a run you did before just becomes a walk around the block, or you might prefer seeing one friend rather than a big group. You can alternate the plan – just don’t stop. When we feel overwhelmed with money concerns, it can stop you in your tracks, so maintaining control over other areas of your life is key. Keep going.
Keep on track with treating yourself to purchases
Although excessive spending doesn’t have to put you in debt, if you don’t manage your money (especially at peak times like Christmas), it could lead to it. People often find themselves spending in order to feel better about themselves, using shopping for things they don’t need as a coping mechanism. If this sounds familiar, it might be better to try and talk to someone about it before your spending becomes uncontrollable.
One of the more practical things you can do is stop saving your credit card details online, making it harder to give in to those impulse buys. This way, you’ll have to stop and think about whether you actually need what you’re about to purchase.
Consider how you think about money
What’s the first thing you think about when you get paid? How about when you take money out of an ATM? Or when you see that ‘must have’ coat in the sales? Understanding your thought processes when it comes to money should help you make better, more informed financial decisions.
This might be a good time to reconsider getting outside and clearing your mind. You don’t have to be an elite runner or a lover of competitive team sports. Try leaving your smartphone at home and allowing yourself to be present and experience your immediate surroundings with a walk. Dog walking is a great excuse to get out and about - have you got a friend with a dog you could borrow? It might be difficult to take your mind off money worries, but the more you do it, the better you’ll feel.
Get professional advice
You might do all of the above and still feel like your finances are a huge burden. It’s OK - that’s perfectly normal (in fact, there's no such thing as normal, so take comfort in the fact that there's no right or wrong way to feel). If that’s the case, you might want to consider seeking out professional help, which is less scary than it initially sounds.
There are a number of resources that you could use to find the level of support you need:
Mind - The mental health charity that wants to make sure no-one faces a mental health problem alone.
Stepchange - The UK's most comprehensive debt advice charity. They help people with money problems take back control of their finances
Citizens Advice Bureau - CAB will give you impartial advice on making the right financial choices.
Worrying about money can be a stressful experience, and being in this financial situation could trigger feelings of anxiety and depression, among others. But help is at hand. If you're in need of immediate assistance, you can contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day for a listening ear.