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How to Handle Financial Stress

handle financial stress

Are you looking for ways to handle financial stress? A recent survey (pre-COVID-19) discovered that although 58% percent of workers thought their finances were heading in the right direction, 38% were living paycheck to paycheck, and 39% could not come up with $3,000 in the event of an emergency. Recent events due to COVID-19 have probably changed those numbers dramatically. Everywhere you turn these days, someone is talking about money worries.

The Financial Health Institute classifies financial stress as a condition caused by financial events that create anxiety and worry, often coupled with a physical response. And if you have experienced financial stress, you are probably familiar with some of the symptoms:

  • Irritability or anger
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Change in appetite
  • Headaches

Find Ways to Handle Financial Stress

So how do you handle financial stress? Find a way to make more money? It might not be as simple as that in many cases. If you’re anxious about your finances right now, you’re not alone. You may not be able to fix the cause right away, but there are things you can do to address your financial stress during these difficult times.

Determine Resources Available

There are a lot of resources available. From community-based programs through federal assistance programs, if you’re willing to do some research, chances are you can find a way to get additional support and resources during this difficult time. CESI has prepared a list of COVID-19 resources for consumers to find assistance. Some options to look for:

  • Food assistance programs in your community
  • Local 211 resources in your zip-code
  • Mortgage forbearance assistance through your loan servicer
  • Utility Resources through your local utility companies
  • Self-care or mental health resources to help with stress
  • Benefit resources
  • Healthcare resources
  • Unemployment resources

Stick to an Emergency Budget

Not having a written plan or budget can cause financial stress because it leaves room for overspending and possibly neglecting what’s necessary for financial success. If you’re facing a financial crisis, it’s important to follow a spending plan that accounts for your needs during this time. An emergency budget is a specific type of budget or spending plan to follow when it’s important that you eliminate any unnecessary expenses to stay afloat financially during a crisis.

Cover Your Essential Needs First

It will be easier to handle financial stress if you know that your most important needs are met first. Worrying about food, housing or utilities can cause a lot of emotional weight for you to carry. Focus your emergency budget on taking care of the essentials, and then evaluate what’s leftover to take care of bills. If there isn’t enough to cover everything, contact your creditors to let them know about your financial situation and see if they have any hardship programs that can help temporarily.

Take Care Of Yourself

Handling financial stress can feel overwhelming. Many people feel like they are all alone when dealing with financial hardships or problems. Finding ways to take care of yourself is essential. Here are some ways to care for yourself:

  • Take a break: Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is lay your worries down for a moment and take a break. Do something fun to help take your mind off the problem. playing with your kids or pets, talking with friends, watching a movie at home with your family or playing/listening to music are great choices to give yourself a needed break and relieve some stress.
  • Practice Healthy Coping Skills: Experiment with a variety of healthy options until you discover what works best for you. Maybe it’s art, maybe it’s a new hobby, maybe it’s video chats with a friend -- find something that helps you manage the feelings of stress in healthy ways.
  • Get Moving: Research shows exercise is important to mental well-being. It can boost your happiness and help with depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Take a walk, stream a yoga class, dance in the living room with your kids -- just move. Your emotional outlook will improve dramatically!
  • Ask for help from an expert: A financial counselor can help you look for solutions to relieve your financial stress.
  • Learn something new: Read personal finance books by experts or personal finance blogs, to enhance and increase your financial IQ. Learning more about money, credit, saving and investing can give you options to help your financial situation, eliminate financial fears and relieve financial stress.

If you feel that you are unable to handle financial stress on your own, it’s important to share your concerns and not just keep them to yourself. Find someone to talk about your money concerns with such as a trusted friend or family member. The more you are able to share about your concerns instead of feeling isolated and alone, the better you will be able to handle financial stress.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, CESI is here to help. Our counselors are available to assist if you are experiencing job loss, temporary loss of income or financial hardship during this time. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.


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1 Response to How to Handle Financial Stress

  1. Awesome post!

    I really like SMART in setting goals. Pretty cool twist on the SMART that I used to teach to first year college students.

    Looking forward to reading more!

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