How to cope with money worries
You may be feeling, behaving or thinking in ways that are unfamiliar. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from depression or an anxiety disorder.
How to survive financial stress
David Richards, professor of mental health services research at the University of Exeter, shares his top tips for coping with feeling low or anxious because of money worries.
Keep seeing your friends, keep your CV up to date and try to keep paying the bills. If you have more time because you’re not at work, take up some form of exercise – it can improve your mood if you’re feeling low.
Face your fears
For example, if it looks like you’re going into debt, get advice on how to prioritise your debts. When people feel anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to others. Some people can lose their confidence about driving or travelling. If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will generally make them easier.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
For some people with money worries, alcohol can become a problem. You may drink more than usual as a way of dealing with your emotions or just to fill time. But alcohol won’t help you deal with your problems and could add to your stress.
Get tips on how to cut down on alcohol.
Don’t lose your daily routine
Get up at your normal time and stick to your routine. If you lose your routine, it can also affect your eating: you may stop cooking, miss breakfast because you’re still in bed or eat snacks instead of having proper meals.
For tips on healthy eating, see our food and diet section.
More help for money problems
Citizens Advice is a good place to get information about benefits, how to deal with debt, what you’re entitled to if you’re made redundant and who to speak to if you’re at risk of losing your home.
GOV.UK has sections on:
Finding a new job
The jobseekers section on GOV.UK provides lots of advice for people looking for work, including tips on writing a CV, planning your job hunt and applying for jobs online.
Staying healthy on a budget
Coping with debt
Citizens Advice has lots of information on help with debt.
Other useful organisations include:
- Money Advice Service (0800 138 7777)
- National Debtline (0808 808 4000)
- StepChange Debt Charity (0800 138 1111)
Mental health and money
The charity Mind has a money and mental health section on its website, which includes advice on how to manage debt.
Mental Health & Money Advice has information and advice for anyone struggling with money because of mental illness or whose financial situation is affecting their mental health.
When should you get medical help?
Most people who experience emotional distress will pick themselves up after a few days or weeks and then feel able to tackle challenges, such as finding a new job.
See your GP if you’re still feeling worried, anxious or low after a few weeks. If you think it will help, your GP can advise you about psychological therapy services in your area. You can also search for psychological therapies near you.
Seek help immediately if you really can’t cope, if life is becoming very difficult or if you feel it isn’t worth living.
Either see your GP or contact a helpline such as Samaritans (call free on 116 123) for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.
See more mental health helplines.