Financial stress is more prevalent than ever in the U.S., especially in a COVID-19 world. A shift to remote work and restructuring how many public-facing businesses operate has negatively affected many people. The loss of a job or reduction in income is all too common in today’s society. Rising prices, in everything from rent to food to gasoline, put further financial pressure upon families and individuals, resulting in unhealthy levels of stress.
According to a 2021 Capital One CreditWise survey, 73% of Americans rank their finances as the most significant source of stress in their life. This survey also reported that younger generations in the workforce are the most stressed about their finances. 82% of Gen Z respondents and 81% of Millennial respondents noted that their finances are stressful.
Financial stress can have negative impacts on our mental health. Worrying about finances can cause the following adverse effects:
- Social isolation
A study of 65 countries by the World Health Organization found that rates of depression varied by levels of income. Studies show that people at lower socioeconomic levels are at a higher risk for depression and suicide due to a lack of resources.
Work Burnout and Dealing with Financial Stress
Those with a low income experience additional stress due to their jobs. Lower paying jobs have strict working conditions, job insecurity, poor pay, poor management, a lack of benefits, and little to no promotional opportunities. These stressors can lead to work burnout, which also has a negative impact on mental health.
A survey of 1,500 U.S workers conducted by Indeed reported that 52% of respondents feel burned out, and 67% believed their burnout has worsened throughout the pandemic. Work burnout is a growing concern within the American workforce that can no longer be ignored.
Work burnout happens due to prolonged stress caused by the demanding factors of your environment. It interferes with your ability to function effectively on a daily basis, affecting your physical and mental health. You miss deadlines, have trouble sleeping, become irritable, have trouble remembering things, and have difficulty concentrating. Your physical health depletes as you become fatigued, get frequent headaches and lose your appetite.
Stress triggers your body to produce hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These hormones work together to give your body small bursts of energy and suppress the digestive and reproductive systems, preparing your body for a flight or fight response. Over time, the constant habitation of these hormones creates various health risks such as:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Our bodies aren’t designed to endure prolonged stress, so it is important to be aware of symptoms and our environmental triggers in order to prevent harmful impacts on our physical and mental health.
Some Suggestions for Handling Financial Stress and Mental Health
Financial stress is different for everyone. Some people may be facing eviction and homelessness due to the loss of a job, while others are just barely managing to pay the bills because of rising living expenses. Whatever the case, there are a variety of ways to manage and reduce stress, including the following:
Exercise increases oxygen circulation in your body to make feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Our organs need oxygen to function properly. Exercising 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week, can improve your physical and mental health.
Implementing Specific Foods into Your Diet
Try introducing more of these foods into your diet:
- Complex carbs like whole-grain bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, and oats: These foods contain serotonin, a feel-good chemical that stabilizes your blood sugar levels from the heightened blood sugar brought on by stress.
- Oranges: Oranges contain vitamin C, which helps combat high blood pressure brought on by stress.
- Spinach and leafy vegetables: These foods contain magnesium, which helps combat headaches and fatigue.
- Fish: Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent surges of stress hormones and fight depression.
- Nuts and seeds: These foods are a good source of healthy fats, reducing inflammation and protecting you from the effects of stress.
- Avocados: Avocados are rich in potassium, which helps in reducing high blood pressure.
- Milk: Drinking a warm glass of milk before bed eases anxiety and helps stabilize your mood.
Take Time to Do the Things You Love
Putting time aside for yourself and catering to your feelings is a form of self-care. Taking time for yourself helps you relax and clear your mind from your daily stresses.
Seek Out Fun or Humorous Things to Elevate Your Mood
Spend some time watching funny videos or reading funny jokes to help boost your mood. Laughter soothes tension and aids in muscle relaxation caused by stress.
Seek Professional Counseling
Speaking to a professional helps you develop coping strategies to manage your stress based on your specific situation. Speaking to a professional can be a life-changing experience and give you the tools to alleviate other aspects of your life.
Let Clear Behavioral Healths in Los Angeles Help with Financial Stress and Mental Health
If you or a loved one are struggling with financial stress approaching a true mental health disorder, seeking professional treatment is essential. Clear Behavioral Healths offers Californians in person and virtual outpatient mental health treatment that improves self-awareness and helps identify triggers that contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Call 877.799.1985 now for more information or contact us online.