It’s Summer 2022, and it feels like we have jumped out of the pan, only to fall straight into the fire. Two years after the first outbreak of COVID-19 and a few months into the war between Russia and Ukraine, inflation peaks at a 50-year high and the rising cost of living continues to affect every single one of us.
Things that used to be affordable have suddenly become unattainable. The increasing price of energy bills, housing prices and everyday expenses like food and gas makes people worrying about their finances. And the possibile recession, that experts predict for next year, makes us even more worried about the uncertainty that lies ahead.
Right now, it’s easy to experience stress, anxiety, panic and to be overwhelmed by the headlines, which are saturated by the cost of living crisis. If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety and panic because of the situation, you are not alone. Researchers have found that we experience inflation as a chronic psychological stressor: when inflation is high it increases our anxiety. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Healthy Minds Monthly Poll, nearly nine out of 10 Americans (87%) said they are anxious or very anxious about inflation, up 8 percentage points from the previous month. 51% of them are also worried about a potential loss of income. And how could they not?! There’s a certain level of comfort that economic security brings, and money loss – whether it’s layoffs, rental hikes, or expensive necessities – is stressful and scary.
Amidst the ongoing financial crisis, looking after your mental health is now more important than ever. Here’s what you can do to cope if you’re feeling stressed about inflation.
Credit image: headtopics.com
Learn more about finance as a whole
Having a general understanding of what inflation is, what it means to be in a recession and what their impact is on our day to day lives could actually make a difference in the way we cope with the situation. An understanding of finance is also very helpful for your personal life, as it helps you to feel more confident in making decisions.
Track your finances
If the inflation and the cost of living crisis are impacting your mental health and causing stress, take a look at your finances and your monthly budget. In this regard, there are a few things you can do that will help you address some aspects of money-related stress. Start by tracking how much you spend each month, every single expense, from the biggest to the smallest. Writing down how you spend money will help you have a better idea on what you spend them on.
Declutter your budget if you can
Now that you know the ins and outs of your expenses, create a new budget. Include your necessary monthly housing, food, and transportation expenses, but try to set aside some money for savings. Also, regular budget checkups are essential to improving your financial health: the more control you have, the less stress you will feel.
Don’t forget self-care
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important thing to do that will help you manage your stress. So don’t discount your emotions. These are stressful times and it’s important to show some self-compassion. Try to get enough sleep, to engage in regular physical activity, to meditate or journaling; all these stress management technique will help you combat feelings of anxiety.
Reach out for support
Talking to a financial counselor may be helpful if you are dealing with financial worries or debt problems. Not just that: if you’re really struggling, don’t be afraid to seek professional support.
Written by Miriam Tagini