Inflation Stress: 8 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health in Uncertain Times
Jul 28, 2022   •   Cristina Morales
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Jul 28, 2022   •   Cristina Morales
The whole world can feel it. Since early 2021, prices have been rising, and our stress levels are following suit. One recent study from the American Psychological Association found that 87 percent of Americans say that the rising prices of everyday items are a significant source of stress. Though there haven’t been any similar studies conducted in the Philippines, it’s safe to say that Pinoys are probably experiencing similar — if not higher — levels of stress.
While we can’t really do anything to avoid inflation, we can improve the way we respond to it. We talked to mental health experts from Filipino startup Mind You about how to deal with inflation stress, and here’s what we learned.
Money can’t buy happiness, but financial stability can make a huge difference to someone’s mental health. When we start feeling insecure about our finances, some level of stress and anxiety can be expected. However, it can become problematic if your stress becomes so severe that it disrupts your life. Left unchecked, your financial stress might lead to anxiety, depression, and could even harm your physical health.
The experts at Mind You identified three groups of people as the most vulnerable to financial stress:
So what can you do to keep your financial stress under control? Here are some tips from Mind You:
In times of economic crisis, it’s important to recognize how you deal with financial stress. Being mindful of how you experience stress and how you react can help you understand how stress affects you. Do you become irritable? Do you isolate yourself? Do you feel tension in your body or get headaches? Do you experience negative thoughts? Do you turn to unhealthy behaviors like drinking and gambling?
Ask yourself and be honest: Does the way you cope really relieve stress? Or do your coping mechanisms just sweep the problem under the rug so you’re temporarily distracted?
While no individual can single-handedly stop inflation from worsening, there are some things under our control that can help us take control of our financial situation. Doing so can help alleviate financial stressors.
Plot out a plan by seeing where you and your household can reduce expenses. Do you have any unnecessary subscriptions? What about cutting back on online shopping? You could even find ways to create more streams of income, such as taking on a side hustle.
Whatever plan you create, remember to set realistic expectations. This will alleviate that feeling of uncertainty without being overly optimistic. And once you’ve drawn out your plan, stick to it.
Now that you’ve created your plan, turn your attention back to the present instead of being overly preoccupied with the future. Check on your progress regularly, but don’t let your finances monopolize your headspace. Set your focus on things under your control — tomorrow can worry about itself.
Don’t make rash decisions. When you’re faced with a big financial decision — such as quitting your job, making a big purchase, taking out a loan, or making an investment — take your time. Think about your options first and weigh the possible repercussions of these actions before proceeding.
Be honest with your loved ones, especially if you have people relying on you to provide. Breadwinners often feel like they have the whole world on their shoulders, but you don’t have to do it alone. A solid support system — whether financial, physical, or emotional — can help you reach your financial goals.
When faced with financial stress, some people turn to unhealthy habits that offer temporary escapes, such as drinking, smoking, gambling, or stress eating. These habits may relieve stress temporarily, but tend to create more stress in the long run. They might even exacerbate your financial problems.
Self-care has become a buzzword in recent years, but we can’t emphasize this enough. Taking the time to take care of yourself is essential for your mental health. This looks different for everyone: you could practice meditation, journaling,
Eating healthily, getting enough rest, maintaining good hygiene, spending time with friends, and exercising even by just walking around for 30 minutes can help you relax and get your stress levels under control.
There’s no shame in seeking professional mental health assistance when you’re starting to feel the effects of financial stress. Look for free or low-cost mental health services available. Remember: you don’t have to wait before the issue gets worse before you ask for help.
Are you experiencing inflation stress? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Though a chronic dabbler in whatever tickles her fancy, Cristina claims she can count her passions on one hand: feminism, literature, the environment, embroidery, and the power of a solid pop song. She lives in Uniqlo lounge pants and refuses to leave the house without a winged eye.
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