Managing Stress During a Financial Crisis
by Diane Bergman
Reduce Financial Stress
5 Ways to Make Finances Easier
I have been very stressed over money problems in my life. I felt like I was up against the wall. Unable to work because of health problems, I was trying to manage on little more than air. While I still struggle with money to some degree, I am much happier than I have ever been in my life. I have composed a list of tips on how to cope with stress during a financial crisis. Some of these tips are suitable for any crisis.
Get Regular Exercise
Studies have shown that daily exercise improves brain function and mood. You'll soon be in better shape mentally and physically, giving you the strength that you need to get through the tough times.
Keep a Journal
I discovered writing in a journal while dieting and was pleased to find that putting my thoughts on paper made me feel better than I ever had. I was surprised that I could come up with solutions on my own just by writing out my own problems. Sometimes, I would catch myself being a drama queen and my problem wasn't really that bad after all. I also discovered that I complained less to others about my situation. Therefore, I was more pleasant to be around.
Keep a Routine
When facing a financial crisis, it's tempting to draw the drapes, shut off the phone, and crawl back into bed to escape from it all. While that is a pleasant thought, you can't hide forever. In fact, staying on schedule, job hunting, seeing family and friends, and going to appointments will let you know that the earth has not stopped rotating and you can carry on.
Even though you feel miserable, try to see the positive side of your situation. Perhaps you can start that home business that you always wanted to try or you can go back to school. Remind yourself how you've been through hard times before and managed to get through it just fine. It's only temporary, and you can improve your situation if you take action. Keep up the positive self-talk and you will soon find that you feel better.
Look for Community Support
There are many support groups out there happy to welcome a new member. If you need help, it's there for you. If you run out of groceries, don't be too proud to ask for help. You need food to function properly in order to get out of your current situation. I knew of a man who tried to survive on popcorn until he could get another job and he became very ill. Pride can get you other problems without realizing it! Also, trying to find a job can be very overwhelming. Consider seeing a job counselor for help in obtaining work as quickly as possible.
Clean Your Home
You are probably thinking, "Sheesh! That's the last thing I want to do!" But you know you will feel so much better for it. It's a meditative experience when you are concentrating solely on the task at hand. It's a constructive way to release pent up negative energy that we carry around while worrying. Then, after all the hard work is done, you have a spotless home, which is an instant mood lifter. The action makes us feel as though we are taking charge of our lives. (If we can fix up the mess in our homes, maybe we can fix the mess in our lives.) Afterwards, you may feel like showing off your clean home and inviting the neighbors over!
The first time I began really appreciating my life was when I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I already had a few other serious health problems, but it took being knocked over with a life threatening illness to force me to wake up and realize that being upset over the little day-to-day irritations was not worth wasting my valuable time. If you are under stress because of money problems and you are healthy, at least you have your health, which is more valuable than all the money in the world. If you don't have your health or money like me, enjoy the people in your life or a favorite hobby. I'm grateful for the medical care that I receive. There are people in other parts of the world who have no medical care or pain relievers. There is always some reason to be appreciative. When looking at your problem in perspective to the world, it really may not be that bad at all.
Laughter is good for us, so laugh often. If you find little reason to laugh, try watching funny TV programs or movies or spend time with the funny people in your life. Everyone in my family is funny, so I'm always laughing. Laughter has been proven to relieve stress.
Own a Pet
According to medical research, owning a pet is supposed to lower blood pressure. I have only heard of the research covering dogs and cats, but I'm sure even the little pets count, too. Those of us who are low on money can't afford the care of dogs or cats, but we can certainly manage a budgie or a hamster. Just be sure to do a little research to see if your new family member will fit into your budget and lifestyle. Pets, such as mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and budgies, are often thought of as suitable pets only for children. I disagree. Pets of any size are living creatures that deserve the best care possible. In return, you'll have a pet that will amuse you and make you laugh when no one else can. It always feels good to take care of something else.
When we are lacking self-confidence, the boost we need might be as easy as contributing to society by volunteering. Not only do you feel great about yourself, but also it's an opportunity to learn new skills and stay involved in the community. You can even get a reference that highlights your new skills to help you while you are job hunting. Volunteering is worth your time. You will get more than you receive.
It seems that stress is a major health problem in modern society. Maybe we just need to take a step back and look at how we are coping. Stress is here to stay, so if we learn to deal with the stress in our lives, we will live calmer, healthier lives. We just have to remember to take care of ourselves during the tough times and remember that good times are around the corner.
Take the Next Step:
- It's important to dwell on the positive things happening in your life. Consider starting a gratitude journal. What's going right? Write it down and then look over your journal periodically when you need a boost. This will help to get you through the hardest of times, including times of financial crisis.
- Take The Dollar Stretcher's free Get Out of Debt course and begin the journey to financial freedom!
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
- Learn more about surviving layoffs.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
I often wonder if I should be seeking professional help to get my debt under control! Tell us: Yes, I'd like to find out if I am a good candidate for credit counseling or No, I don't think I need couseling but I would like to find out how I can pay off my credit cards more quickly.
More Debt Tips & Tools
- 6 smart strategies for paying off your credit cards
- 5 great second jobs to bring in extra cash
- Pay down debt now or save: Here's how to choose
- Can I get a debt consolidation loan with bad credit?
- I stopped going to college but they want me to keep paying my student loan
- Cutting the burn during tough times
- Digging your way out of a financial hole
- This week's Readers' Tips
- Reduce your debt with this free debt course by The Dollar Stretcher
- Am I a good candidate for credit counseling?
- Do I have a debt problem?
- Reduce your debt payoff time
- Calculate the real cost of your debt
- Reduce credit card debt calculator
- Debt pay-down calculator
- Calculate the true cost of paying just the minimum