Financial Stress: A lesser known foe

Posted: 1st Nov 2017

Unable to sleep, blurred thinking, throbbing headache? That feeling of a ton of bricks on your back? All are symptoms of stress.

Stress can come in many different forms, acute, episodic, chronic stress can be the result of different situations. Workplace stress, personal stress and psychological stress are all quite common. However, there is one that is less commonly talked about and that is financial stress.

Just because it is less talked about does not make it less relevant. Money Supermarket found that in 2016, 18.5 million people in the UK stated that their day-to-day finances caused them great stress – that’s a rise from 15.6 million the year before!

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But what exactly is financial stress?

Financial stress is stress which arises from, yes you guessed it, financial problems. Debt, loss of job, reduction in income and unexpected payments can all create financial stress within a person.

Financial stress can have an enormous impact on a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It can cause unhelpful and negative thoughts to arise, such as “I’ll never get out of this debt”. Feelings of anxiety, worry and dread may start to arise and these can soon turn into undesirable behaviours such as withdrawal from social situations, isolation and becoming easily agitated.

Financial stress can also come in stages:

Stage 1 is growing uncertainties, maybe about your ability to pay back the debt you owe, which leads to feeling threatened, “I am drowning in debt, I do not feel there is a way out”, which causes a stress build-up.

Then comes stage 2, which is a declining health and effectiveness. Blood sugar imbalances, sleep disruption and impaired cognitive function can all arise due to prolonged stress.

Stage 3 – “everything is going wrong”. This stage also involves disengagement, and the individual may be thinking “what is the point anymore, there is no end to this”.

It is more like a vicious circle, than stages, as it will keep going around and around unless the cycle is broken.

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How to reduce financial stress?

There is always help available to you, no matter what kind of stress you are under. Make sure you know what support is out there to help you cope.

  1. Get Advice – Speak to a professional who can provide you with free, impartial advice on the debt solutions available to you. At Aperture, our team of experts are here to offer free and confidential advice about what options you have, speak to one of our team today. There are also a lot of charities out there, such as Citizen’s Advice and Stepchange, that offer free and impartial advice in all areas, from financial stress to coping with personal stress.
  2. Stay active – Keep up with your daily routine, keep seeing friends and family and try to keep paying the bills. A fantastic way to stay active and improve your mood is to take up some form of exercise or sport. Get fit for free have some great ideas on how to exercise without spending any money.
  3. Determine what you can change – If you know you are spending more money than you are making then it may be helpful to sit down and see where you can cut costs, maybe on clothing, or a mobile phone bill. Look to see you have the cheapest deal about on the items you cannot part with. Comparison sites like moneysavingexpert.com can help show you the best deals.
  4. Make a budget – On top of determining what you can change, having a budget will allow you to see where every pound goes. A realistic budget lets you know what money you’ve got, which will help make you feel in control of your finances and lead to more peace of mind. For useful apps to help with budgeting, see our Best Budgeting Apps of 2017.

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When to get Medical Help

According to the NHS, people who are still feeling stressed, anxious or low after a few weeks, should see their GP.

Seek help immediately if you really can’t cope, life is becoming very difficult, or you feel it isn’t worth living. Either see your GP or contact a helpline such as Samaritans (call free on 116 123) for confidential, non-judgemental and emotional support.

Caring for Clients

At Aperture, we are fully invested in improving not only the financial issues our clients have, but improving their mental health and offering support and advice on how to stay out of debt. We know from speaking to our clients that being in unmanageable debt has a huge impact on their quality of life and their relationships with friends, family and colleagues.

That is why every client has their own dedicated Case Manager to help support them throughout the life of their journey to debt recovery and their brighter future.

 

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