There are so many different aspects of mental health and outside forces are more impactful on our mental health than we may imagine. In a capitalist society like ours, we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about money, saving money, getting more money, and where our money is going. All of that thinking and planning for money can be mentally draining in the long run.
Beyond the obvious blockades of not being able to afford adequate mental health treatment if money is short, your money may be impacting you more than you think. With the added stressor of the current pandemic, it can be easy to find yourself swimming in a sea of worries, anxiety, and money drama without fully understanding how impactful your money and money worries are on your mental health.
There are dozens of little ways that money can encroach on your mental health. With an economy based around buying and selling products, it can be easy to get swept up in the hype and forget about the way spending and using money impacts your mental health.
Indulging in a little retail therapy can be a lot of fun and a great way to relieve the stress of everyday life but if you’re not careful, overspending can quickly become a huge addiction. When you start to overspend just to pass the time, the pinch of having fewer funds for rent, groceries, and gas can become overwhelming.
This type of overspending addiction can lend itself to a never-ending circle and cycle of guilt, pushing away the guilt by overspending, and regret pushing the bounds of your budget. Retail therapy often leads to deeper levels of credit card debt and that can break your budget and bank quickly. The high and good feeling followed by buying something new is a rapidly fading good feeling.
There are a few ways to conquer this overspending addiction and put yourself in a better mental state! One of the first things you want to do is make it harder to spend money. Some banks let you lock debit and credit cards so you need to engage another step before purchasing something on either card. Also, spend time creating rules and setting boundaries for your purchases so that you review your bank account regularly.
Everyone carries a certain amount of debt but when it becomes larger than you can handle, your mental health can start a rapid decline. Keeping up with all of the financial commitments that come from being an adult can become overwhelming. Add to it a cycle of debt and spending and you might find yourself in a debt spiral.
There are sometimes mental health issues that cause debt problems and there are debt issues that cause mental health problems. Either way, they’re often based on debt and the cycle that consumes it.
If you’re experiencing debt then you may start to have feelings of hopelessness that your debt has gone too far, as well as feelings of guilt over letting yourself fall too far into debt, and a loss of control. If left unattended, these thoughts can turn into depression and anxiety which may then contribute to deeper and longer lasting financial problems.
Retail therapy is one side of the spectrum, but with fears of loss and debt overwhelming you, you may slip to the other side of the spectrum and become overly frugal. The anxiety of not spending money can cause you to horde your savings and make it hard to live a normal life. When this feeling and anxiety becomes overwhelming, it may even drown out your self-care!
One of the easiest ways to keep yourself on track financially is to create a budget. This will allow you to see your expenses and make plans for the future. By knowing where you’ve been, you can create a map to where you want to go!
Head to your local bank and open a savings account dedicated to self-care! Then you can keep a tight fist on your finances for your life and future but still have some spending money to take care of your wants and needs.
Protect your mental health by having a healthy, boundary heavy budget!
Get a planner, budget sheet, or research how to write and set up your budget and accounting log. Make it fun for yourself too! If you’re more into technology, get an app you enjoy using. If nicely colored pens and highlighters are more of your scene, get some so you enjoy making entries into your budget and plan.
Look through all of your expenses when you’re in a calm state. Once you’ve identified all of your recurring bills and expenses, make note of them in your budget or planner or the app. Set achievable goals for each step of the process. Writing out “make 1 million dollars” is pointless if it’s not achievable!
Each day, take time to write down what money you spent and how it was spent so you have a clear vision of where your money is going. The more familiar you are with the process and your spending habits, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with the issue. It can be easy to become obsessed with the numbers but continue to budget for your self-care as well as approach your daily budget and accounting with a clear and calm mind.
Be sure to keep your partner or other family members in the loop. Having another voice offering advice and help is a good way to keep your mind calm and mental health stable. Let them help you through the process! One of the hardest things for your mental health is the feeling that you’re alone with a problem or issue. Fight the stigma and include your family, partner, and community in your struggle!
Money is central to the way we live in this day and age. We think about making money, spending money, and how to save ourselves money all of the time. It’s bound to have a serious impact on our mental health if we don’t have a plan and include our community in the fight to gain control of finances and money!