Do you find yourself lying awake at night worrying about unexpected expenses such as medical bills or car maintenance? Does the thought of saving for retirement seem overwhelming? Regardless of the circumstances, financial stress can happen to any of us and can be difficult to manage.
According to the 2017 American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America: The State of our Nation survey, money is the second most common source of stress for Americans. Use these five strategies to reflect and bounce back from stressful times.
1 Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Take a cue from Mindfulness 101 and pause for a moment. Check in with yourself, how you’re feeling and how you’re breathing. Take three long, deep breaths – breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe.
2 Identify the stressor. While you may be concerned about your finances, there could be other factors in your personal and work life that triggers stress. Make note of these stressors and identify ways to diffuse the situation—take a quick walk around the block or talk it out with a friend, for example. You may not be able to eliminate the stress completely, but minimizing it will help you stay grounded and focused.
3 Give yourself some credit. It’s easy to beat ourselves up when a financial mistake happens. Reframe the conversation, what are you doing well, how can you be kind to yourself in this moment and what could you do next time? Here’s a short meditation for quieting your inner critic.
4 Focus on the small, sustainable steps you can take. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. It could be as easy as cutting back on your daily coffee at your favorite coffee shop. Put the money you saved aside so that you don’t spend it. If you slip back into old habits, don’t stop! Start again the following week and watch your savings increase, while decreasing your stress.
5 Reach out for help. Whether you’re trying to pay off student loan debt, handle care for a family member, or navigate your budget, know that you’re not alone. Getting an outside viewpoint can help you see things differently. It can also hold you accountable to the goals you set. Not sure where to start? There are many resources available through King County to help you:
My Secure Advantage
My Secure Advantage (MSA) is a free program available to King County employees that provides access to tools such as webinars, calculators and financial coaching. Learn more about MSA.
Tune into the upcoming My Secure Advantage webinar, A Prescription to Relieve Financial Stress. This presentation will help you become more aware of the link between financial health and overall wellness, and will help you define a customized prescription for reducing the financial stress in your life. Two sessions are available on July 26. Choose the 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. PST time from the drop down menu.
Making Life Easier
Making Life Easier has many tips available to help you manage your stress, connect with others and reset your lifestyle habits. Call anytime to speak with a Crises Counselor, 24 hours, 7 days a week, or make an appointment with a Counselor by calling 1-888-874-7290, Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can also visit Making Life Easier online:
Username: King County
See also: Let’s talk about Financial Wellness.