If you are struggling with anxiety, it can be difficult to keep on top of your finances. After all, the root of anxiety is all about the apprehension and fear resulting from a perceived or real threat, situation or event – so it makes sense that you will feel anxious about looking after your money.
How anxiety can affect your finances
- Your income could go down or stop if you can’t work or need time off.
- You might be susceptible to spending money that you don’t have to make yourself feel better, which you might regret afterwards.
- You may feel anxious about talking on the phone or opening bills.
- Day-to-day financial decisions might make you feel anxious, so you avoid making them.
- Being in debt can make you feel worried, even if you have enough money.
What you can do to ‘future-proof’ your finances
It’s difficult to predict when your mental health is going to affect your finances, but there are some practical things you can do to future-proof yourself so that when you are feeling low, you can keep on top of your finances.
- Keep a diary of your spending and your moods. Record what you spent and why, and your mood at the time – were you stressed? This could help you work out any patterns and identify a trigger point in your anxiety that makes you spend.
- If you find you spend a lot when you’re feeling anxious, make sure to not have your card auto-filled on shopping sites – the act of getting up to find your card can slow down the process and make you consider your purchases.
- If bills make you anxious, appoint someone close to you to open your post and consider moving to a bank with online services so you don’t have to visit a branch for services.
- Share your money worries with a professional who can give you advice. The Money Advice Service can give you free, impartial advice on your finances.
- Lots of banks and utility providers are now training their staff in mental health awareness. By calling your bank and explaining your anxiety, you can help the banks to give you better service.
One of the best ways to help your finances stop impacting your anxiety is to stop comparing yourself to others. In the Instagram generation, it’s easy to get sucked into pictures of everyone else’s wealth – holidays, cars, houses – and compare yourself. Remember, you don’t know how much is in their bank account, so whilst they may look successful, it could be thanks to credit cards and a whole lot of debt. Plus, everyone puts their best lives on social media, so on the inside, they could be struggling too. If you’re feeling really affected, step away from social media.
If you are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, phobias or obsessive-compulsive disorders, consider becoming a member of becoming a member of No Panic. Severe anxiety and phobias affect up to 18% of the population, so don’t suffer in silence.