René Nourse, CFP®
Money can be one of the biggest sources of stress, and can arguably be one of the worst kinds of stress. According to the American Psychological Association, women, in particular, are more likely than men to report finances as a source of stress.
When you feel like you are under too much financial pressure and can’t get out, it’s hard to feel like you can handle your emotions surrounding it. Here are some tips to help you feel more in control of both your finances, and your stress around them.
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail
This goes for most things in life, but especially finances. Hiring an expert to help you go over your “must” expenses and create a realistic budget for yourself that includes a savings plan (emergency savings, retirement, taxes, etc.) can be the first step in feeling like you’re getting ahead of your stress. Taking action towards elevating some of that burden can be the most rewarding feelings during this process.
Stay healthy in other areas of your life
Because stress can wear on other areas of your body, you want to make sure you do what you can to treat your body well when you can.
This goes back to our previous tip about planning being the antidote to failure. Chances are you work a busy job, have a family, friends, and little time to worry about things like planning a meal or scheduling a 30-minute work out 5 times a week. However, it is possible.
Sundays are a great days for planning and cooking. Cook 2–3 very simple meals during the day, and portion them out for yourself for each meal during the week. You can leave your meals for Monday and Tuesday in the fridge, and put the rest in the freezer and take out as needed.
Having a physical activity where you can spend some energy is also be a great way to reduce stress. Again, this is especially important for women, who are more likely than men to experience anxiety and depression in response to stress, according to researchers at Yale University. Exercise increases feel-good chemicals in the brain, helping alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety.
If you can find 30 minutes each day during the week to get a little activity in, you’ll be amazed of what the benefits can be. Don’t have a solid 30 minute block, or don’t want to pay exorbitant gym fees? Go online and look up free 10-minute work outs. You can do a 10-minute leg workout in the morning, a 10-minute arm workout during your lunch break, and a 10-minute ab workout at night. Maybe after dinner go on a walk with your dog or your family, and you’ll find your stress will lessen greatly!
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