Financial Struggle: How to Thrive During Hard Economic Times

Posted on May 13, 2013

Hard economic times mean change for everyone.

Individuals, couples, and families are all affected by economic downturn and are struggling to make ends meet.  If you are not experiencing challenges due to the economy, consider yourself lucky!  Finances, however, are only one thing affected by economic downturn.  High stress, worry, and frustration caused by the economic changes can lead to changes in mental health and emotional health as well.  Relationships often become unstable in the presence of high stress and financial frustration.  Families often experience more fighting, less connection, and lack of support when stress, worry, and anxiety are present.

Depression can be an affect of financial struggle, along with anxiety attacks, feelings of worthlessness, extreme fear, and panic.  Physical symptoms can arise from the effects of financial struggle also, such as ulcers, heartburn, and high blood pressure.

So, how can you manage all the changes caused by economic downturn and financial struggle?

First, I encourage you to begin thinking differently.  I agree that the hard economic times are an incredible struggle.  However, this is also an opportunity to grow.  Learning how to manage money or downsize your living space may seem extreme to some, but you can learn a new skill, save money, and live within your means to help relieve stress and anxiety.  Believing that you, your relationship, and your family will survive the hard time is also essential to managing your emotions and physical health.  Have faith that you will make it and don’t give up.

Second, make a budget and stick to it!  Many individuals, couples, and families live without a budget and find themselves scraping for money at the end of the month.  Creating a budget that lists all your monthly expenses in comparison to your income is a great way to track your finances and make sure you manage your money for the survival essentials like housing, food, and clothing.  If you find that you are spending more than you make, I encourage you to eliminate unnecessary expenditures from your budget.  Make dinner at home instead of eating out or don’t buy the new shirt you really want.  Be intentional about your spending.  Using cash can also be a great way to cut down on your spending.  Withdraw a certain amount for eating out or buying clothes, and when the money is gone, stop spending.

Third, be creative about how you make money.  Maybe now is the time to finally have that garage sale you’ve been planning to have for two years.  Collect unneeded items from your home and organize a sale.  Ask your friends to help or combine their items for a larger selection and moral support.  If you are a video game lover, clean out your game supply and trade or sell them for something different.  You don’t need to spend $40 on a new game when you could find it used.

Fourth, be aware of your emotional changes.  Notice when your stress level is high and when you feel anxious.  Be aware of your feelings and how they affect your interactions with family members, friends, and coworkers.  If you are unsure how your emotions fluctuate, ask someone you trust if they have seen a change.  Have them explain what they have seen.

If you notice that you are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety due to the economic downturn and are struggling most days of the week to manage your emotions and relationships, I encourage you to seek support from a counselor.  A counselor can assist you with necessary changes that need to be made and can offer additional resources. Many offer reduced fees for those who need financial help.

 

Written by: Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at Groff and Associates Counseling.  Her passions are parent/child relationships, adolescent females, and grief and loss.   If you are interested in seeing a counselor and think that Kristie would be a good fit, please contact her at kristie@groffandassociates.com.

 

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==