Most of us have financial obligations or expenses that we must take care of. Some of those include rent or a mortgage, maybe a car payment, credit card payments, and other needs such as clothing, and recreation. Sometimes these obligations can become stressful and this stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and other physical and behavioral problems. It’s important to take care of financial stress before it takes a toll on you and your family.
What Causes Financial Stress
Certain situations and circumstances can shake up finances and can lead to a major change in our finances and thus financial stress.
For example, finances may be affected by a job loss or maybe a bad year of sales if you work on a commission. Other major changes include a new baby, separation, divorce, or the death of a family member.
However, financial stress can affect a family at any time and therefore, you must be able to recognize and manage it.
Learn to Recognize
How do you recognize financial stress? You have to learn the signs and signals. Your true sources of stress are not always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
For example, you may know that you’re constantly worried about being able to pay bills on time. However, maybe it’s your lack of organization, rather than not having the money to pay the bills when they are due, that leads to stress. Hence the importance to sit down and work with your money and bills consistently.
Some signs of financial stress include:
•Frequent worry or arguments about money
•Spending more than you make and using credit cards to make everyday purchases
•Only making minimum payments or making payments late
•Feeling overwhelmed by debt
If you are experiencing any of these, it could mean that you are experiencing financial stress and it is time to start managing that stress.
Manage Financial Stress
Managing financial stress begins with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for family and work, relationships, relaxation, and fun – plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head-on.
Talk about the situation and explain to family and children how things may and how they can help turn things around. Keep up routines and keep life as normal as possible. So, as a family, eat together and do other things together whenever possible. Focus on the positive and know that your situation is temporary, and you can make it better.
When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy of greatfulness can help you keep things in perspective.
Keep in mind that your children learn how to cope with stress by watching you.
Create a household spending plan or budget. This is the first step toward making it better and regaining control of your finances. Track your expenses and know where every dollar is going. In tracking expenses, you will begin to see ways to reduce expenses and save money.
If your financial situation is stressing you out, recognize the causes of stress and begin to manage that stress. Take charge of your finances and take charge of the stress.