Many of us have faced job losses or financial difficulties in recent times. Worrying about money or unemployment can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Poor mental health can make managing your finances harder, and feeling stressed about money can make your mental health worse, so it’s important to take action.
Here are 8 things you can do to feel more in control, as well as lots of free support if you need it.
1. Create a budget
Working out a budget can be a good first step in managing money worries as it helps you to track your spending, work out what you can afford and see where to save money.
Some people find it helpful to choose a regular time each week to look at bills and other spending to stop things piling up, or only withdrawing the amount of money they intend to spend each week.
2. Get free debt and finance advice
If you are struggling with money or debt it can feel like there is no way out, but there are lots of organisations who can provide you with clear advice and help you come up with a plan to feel more in control.
It can be tempting to avoid tackling debt head on – but the sooner you face your fears and get help, the sooner you can start getting back on top of things.
3. Know your rights and get support
If you are facing possible job loss, it can help to know where you stand and think about your options. The Money Advice Service COVID-19 hub is full of financial advice and support, including what you’re entitled to whether you’re employed or self-employed, and a checklist of things to do if you lose your job. Citizens Advice also has lots of information about benefits and support for wider issues you might be facing. If you are made redundant, it’s important to know your rights.
4. Talk about how you are feeling
It’s good to talk to someone you trust about your situation, whether that’s a family member, friend or someone at work. They can support you, or help come up with a plan for what to do. If you are struggling with how you are feeling, there are lots of mental health charities who can help – no matter how big or how small the problem feels.
5. Be kind to yourself
For many people, facing job loss or financial difficulties has nothing to do with their personal actions. Try to be kind, do not blame yourself and remember that this situation is not permanent. If you’re struggling with feelings of uncertainty, try to accept that you cannot control everything, and focus your time and energy on the things you can control.
Our video gives some techniques to help you manage how you are feeling.
6. Maintain a routine
If you are no longer working then it’s important to still keep to a routine. Having a structure to your day helps you avoid bad habits, gives you a sense of purpose and boosts your mood. This can be hard if you are feeling low – start with easier activities and, as you progress, your mood should improve. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. You might even find it helpful to write a plan for your week. Fill your day with positive activities, such as cleaning, cooking or exercise, and meaningful activities like reading or getting in touch with friends.
You could also commit to spending some of your usual working hours looking for new jobs, but make sure you switch off at the end of the day and relax.
7. Clear your mind
Make time to relax your mind. This can help with difficult emotions and worries, and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety – try listening to our relaxation audio. Taking a moment to pause and focus on your breathing can really help you feel more calm and present. Even taking a few deep breaths in and out can help, or try our mindful breathing exercise video to guide you.