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Protect your mental health from a financial crisis

Job loss, rising inflation, rising cost of living. All these factors have taken an even greater toll on people's health, but people don't always realise this association. Mental health and financial health go hand in hand.

With rising inflation, many people worry daily about being able to afford housing, food, energy/heating and healthcare for themselves and their family. According to Professor Klontz (Heider College of Business at Creighton University - USA) people experience psychological distress, individually and collectively, when one experiences an economic downturn. Individually, financial worry is associated with depression, anxiety and interpersonal problems. Collectively, knowing that people in your group of friends and colleagues in your community are unemployed or on the verge of being unemployed, are struggling to make ends meet or are modifying their lifestyle to stem financial losses has a negative impact on everyone. Even if that person is not in financial trouble directly.

When we think of expatriates, a financial crisis and resulting economic limitations can have a greater impact. In many cases, the reason for going to live in another country is the financial benefits. When those benefits are at risk, the life choice, to live in another country, can also cause suffering.

  • Don't let finances get in the way of your mental health.

It is important to know that getting through a crisis and recovering from it depends on problem-solving and caring for its emotional effects. There are several financial measures that can help you get through an economic crisis and stay financially secure. Here, I would like to leave you with ideas to take care of your emotional side, to keep your mind and emotions healthy despite the crisis:

  1. Try to think that this is a passing scenario. Crises come and go, keeping the confidence that this crisis will also pass and that you will manage it is important.

  2. Do not let this problem take over your personal and family life. Life goes on beyond financial difficulties. Bringing other issues beyond this problem into your daily life helps to improve your mood, strengthen your sense of security and confidence.

  3. Don't isolate yourself. Hiding a bad financial situation from other people is the worst thing you can do. You don't need to expose yourself or explain too much about your life, but try to talk to friends and family you feel safe with and who you know will understand how you feel.

  4. Accept your situation - for now. You need to first accept the way things are before you can change them. Respect your history, throw out old and limiting beliefs, and keep an open mind to new perspectives.

  5. Talk about finances. Earlier I recommended that financial crisis should not be a topic in family life, but it is important to recognise that the subject cannot be forgotten. Individually, you can do some reflection to find out how you really are financially and emotionally. If besides you, your family is also feeling this impact, it is important that everyone is aware of the reality they are experiencing and how they can overcome it.

  6. Don't blame yourself. When times get tough, we have a tendency to position ourselves as very harsh critics of ourselves. What happened is in the past, it cannot be changed, but no matter how bad the mistake was, no one should carry it with them forever.

  7. Focus on what you can control about finances. Look at your budget. Plan a course of action, within what you can actually control.

  8. Avoid drugs and alcohol. If you are under financial pressure, you are probably going through anxious times and experiencing physical and mental symptoms of stress - for example muscle tension, headaches, irritability and reflux. Sometimes we don't even recognise that these physical symptoms are caused by emotional issues. The use of alcohol and other drugs in these situations intensifies the damage to your mental health, especially those related to difficulties in interpersonal relationships.

Just like other problems, financial difficulties can appear at any time and shake our lives in unthinkable ways. Thus, self-care must be an ongoing effort. When our well-being remains the focus, we are able to get through difficult times with considerable ease as we strive to take care of ourselves at all times.

You don't have to face that emotional burden alone. Talking to a mental health professional to process current financial stress or any finance-related distress in the future can help.

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