Mental Health has been talked about a lot so far this year. The fact it is being spoken about is fantastic and is helping to break the attached taboo and stigma, yet people still struggle to open up about it. Financial worries are also something people often keep to themselves. In this blog post, I explore some of the link between money and mental health.
Unfortunately, money and mental health issues can become a cycle that is hard to brake. Worrying about money can have a negative effect on your mental health, and a poor mental health can make managing your finances hard. That cycle will continue going round and round until a solution is found or, at the very least, you stick a spanner in the works. If this sounds like you, there is help out there – please see the links at the bottom of this post, and use them.
What if you are unable to work because of your mental health? Sitting around worrying about your job and money matters will not help your mental health at all. By keeping yourself busy, you can fill your head with something in the moment rather than with previous negative thoughts. Time off work can help with rest and recovery but having nothing to do for long periods of time can sometimes do more damage than good.
Money and mental health issues can become a cycle that is hard to brake
When you feel low and down about yourself and about life, an easy pick-me-up is to buy something new. Spending money on new exciting items can bring happiness, but only temporarily. Unnecessary purchases don’t actually make you happy, it’s only the feeling you get when you purchase them. The more you worry about something, the more you may want to purchase this temporary joy but ultimately taking control of your money and spending sprees will help your financial situation and in turn, your mental health.
It’s no secret that the benefits system seems to have issues. So often we see news stories about people losing their payments because they missed a meeting – they’re just cut off, right there and then. The benefits system can actually affect your mental state as you worry about the financial situation you’re in.
Some people feel that if they can’t see something, it won’t happen. This burying your head in the sand approach, or ‘being an ostrich’, doesn’t help when it comes to money troubles. Sure, it may feel like a way to deal with things in your own head, but the worry is still there, even if it’s at the back of your mind. Not opening bills or hiding them down the side of the sofa won’t change the information inside. Surely sorting things out is better for your mental health. Having a worry and stress-free head is much better for your wellbeing and standard of life.
Time off work can help with rest and recovery but having nothing to do for long periods of time can sometimes do more damage than good
Doing a job you hate might pay your bills but what does that time sat in the same four walls everyday do to your mind? My father in law, a long time ago, worked in a motor vehicle factory. He hated it. Every lunchtime he cried in the toilets. We spend so much of our lives at work, it should be a time that we enjoy, not something that damages our health.
Money problems can affect your social life and personal relationships. Family members might see that you’re not yourself, or that something is worrying you, but you might not want to tell them about your financial problems. Similarly, it can be hard to open up about mental health issues. Borrowing money from friends and family to get you out of your financial difficulties can seem like a good idea at the time but even that comes with difficulties. Being open and honest with those closest to you, regardless of how it makes you feel, is the best way.
I hope you take something from this. I’ve had my own mental health issues and I found having a hobby helps – mine is photography. Yes, I had to buy the camera in the first place and I occasionally have to fill the car up with fuel to get to the places where I wish to take photographs, but the positive effects on my mental health from having something to focus on are brilliant. I can imagine that having money issues on top of mental health problems would make me feel like I was drowning. Stay safe, seek help, open up, and talk with people about your situation.