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Money stress: 10 ways to boost your mental health

Creditfix > Blog > Cost of living crisis > Cost of living updates > Money stress: 10 ways to boost your mental health

 

Money and mental health are often linked, and it’s not hard to see why. Money is often seen as a route to happiness, so when people begin to struggle financially, it’s not uncommon for their mental health to suffer too.

November is Men’s Mental Health Month, which makes it a great time of year to reopen the conversation around money and mental health. In this blog, we’ll explore the link between money and mental health, and offer you ten tips to improve your mental wellbeing.

First, though, here’s a bit of background on Men’s Mental Health Month.

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What is Men’s Mental Health Month?

Men’s Mental Health Month is an annual, national campaign in the United Kingdom that promotes positive mental wellbeing and raises awareness about mental health issues among men in our society.

For a variety of reasons, men are less likely to share their mental health problems with others, which contributes to the fact that they’re also far more likely than women to reach the point of suicide.

The ultimate aim of Men’s Mental Health Month, and spinoff campaigns like Movember, is to get men talking about their mental health, end the stigma attached to mental illness, and help men take a more proactive approach to their mental wellbeing.

The link between mental health and financial wellbeing

Money worries are a key driver of stress, which can have serious consequences for your mental health.

One in six people suffer from depression due to debt problems, while people who are worried about money are far more likely to suffer from insomnia or sleeping problems.

Those suffering from debt-related stress are also more likely to experience difficulties with personal relationships.

Mental health and money stress can quickly develop into a vicious cycle where poor mental health makes it more difficult to manage your money, and worrying about money causes your mental health to worsen.

That’s why it’s important to break the cycle, by boosting your mental health.

10 ways to improve your mental health

1. Stay active
If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in a rut mentally, it may be because you’re not moving around enough physically.

Staying active releases endorphins that are scientifically proven to boost your mood. It can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, all of which have been identified as being key drivers behind poor mental health.

2. Eat healthy
Poor mental health and poor eating habits go hand-in-hand, which is why it’s crucially important that you take care over what you put in your body.

Eating a balanced diet can help keep your mood elevated and prevent the drop in blood sugar levels that can lead to anxiety and depression. The better we eat, the better we feel.

3. Get enough sleep
Sleep is the time when our bodies decompress and our brains have the chance to process the day that’s just ended, so it’s no surprise that getting enough rest every night is vital for mental health.

Interrupted or poor quality sleep can increase the risk of stress and anxiety, as well as tiredness and fatigue. By making sleep a priority, you’re also prioritising your mental health.

4. Watch what you’re drinking
Alcohol is a depressant, which means that, by definition, it can worsen feelings of anxiety and depression – especially if you overdo it.

Excessive alcohol consumption can exacerbate mental health issues, as well as trigger them in those who have never suffered from them before, so it’s important that you only drink in moderation, and try to view drinking as a treat rather than a regular activity.

5. Give back to your community
One of the best ways to break out of the cycle of only thinking about yourself, your mood, and your mental health, is doing things for others.

Getting involved in your community can improve your happiness and wellbeing, as well as reducing stress levels. At the same time, helping those who are less fortunate can also remind you how much you have to be grateful for in your own life.

6. Take up a hobby
Similar to getting involved in your community, taking up a hobby can also help you boost your mental wellbeing – after all, trying new things is what keeps life exciting.

Finding time for a hobby, whether it’s photography, cooking, or taking up a new sport, can help to improve your mental health and mood, as well as potentially boosting your physical health.

7. Spend time with friends and family
This may feel like it doesn’t need to be said, but you’d be surprised how many people suffering from poor mental health feel the need to isolate from family and friends.

Try to avoid that temptation. Spending quality time with friends and family is beneficial for both your emotional wellbeing and mental health, offering the chance to reduce stress levels and reconnect with the people who care about you.

8. Organise your finances
If you are struggling with debt, which is a major cause of money problems and money stress, it’s important to take action. Although it’s tempting, the longer you try to avoid your money problems, the worse they’ll get.

Face your debts head-on, make a budget that works for your circumstances, and, if you’re still facing financial difficulty, seek help from a debt charity like StepChange or Citizens Advice Bureau.

By taking control over your finances, you can reduce the stress related to money worries and improve your overall mental health.

9. Talk to someone
Mental health is a subject that a lot of us still hesitate to talk about, even with family and friends. But talking to someone about how you’re feeling can be a huge weight off your shoulders.

Knowing that someone is there to listen and offer advice can help you through the tough times you may be experiencing right now, and just knowing someone is there for you can help you avoid tough times in the future. It all starts with one conversation.

10. Get professional help if you need it
While there’s a lot you can do to improve your own mental health, sometimes people need a helping hand.

If you have a recurrence of any serious mental health problems, for example if you feel extremely anxious, depressed, or are having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to seek professional advice immediately.

You can get help by contacting an organisation like the Samaritans or Papyrus. They’re experts in dealing with crisis situations and will be able to get you all the support you need.

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