A few weeks ago, we discussed a number of methods by which you can slowly begin to loosen your grip on your finances and learn how to banish the guilt that can sometimes accompany personal spending. In this article, I’d like to harken back to that same topic of conversation and touch upon a rather sensitive, often unlooked matter: how an unhealthy relationship with money (be it overly restrictive or overly indulgent) can take a serious toll on your mental happiness.
Those who have diligently followed along with KLS as we make our way through the ABCs of financial freedom have now read a multitude of articles about managing money, building savings, and repairing a suffering credit score. On the surface, it may seem as though this type of advice is a bit nearsighted and self-interested – after all, we are a collection agency. But whenever I sit down to put together a post that can help consumers heal their monetary mindset, I view it as an avenue to one of the more recently recognizable trends in mental wellbeing: self-care.
Quite a number of the suggested self-care methods I see often strike me as very short-term salves to long-term problems – luxuriating in a candlelit bath, allowing yourself to demolish a pint of chocolate ice cream, or spending the night binge watching your favorite reality TV show are all incontestably enjoyable in the moment, but ultimately are nothing more than ineffective Band-Aids. As someone who has been in dire, as well as stable (but highly anxious), financial situations, I can personally attest to the fact that my mental health was affected in largely the same ways – when my bank account has been in the red, I felt waves of shame, panic, and a deep sense of failure. When I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a steady paycheck and pay my bills on time, but feared losing that money, my feelings were just a different side of the same coin (no pun intended). That being said, how does one achieve a healthier financial frame of mind without all the bells and whistles? Keep reading and find out!
- It may seem like the most obvious solutions of all, but begin working towards paying off any existing debts. I won’t sit here and lecture you on how to begin this process – that’s what our other blog posts are for! However, exercising responsibility with your finances is, in and of itself, a form of self-care and can help alleviate a large part of the stress that comes with a stack of bills.
- Reach out to those you love and trust for emotional support and encouragement – chances are, they’ve been in a similar boat. We’ve mentioned before how nearly every KLS employee has gone through a financial rough patch or experienced collections themselves, and we mean it! It can be difficult to talk about your monetary struggles, but keeping things bottled up will only make you feel worse in the long run.
- Seek professional help. If you can’t bring yourself to discuss your struggles with your friends or family members, there is absolutely no shame in seeing a professional counselor. According to a 2017 study by the American Psychological Association, a whopping 62% of participants stated that money is a serious contributing factor to their everyday stress, so don’t ever feel as though you’re alone!
- Surround yourself with those who are already in a good place financially. In addition to picking up some helpful tips and tricks along the way, you may be surprised to find that a stable network does wonders for your overall attitude and motivates you to reach the same spot. Don’t spend too much time with people whose habits mirror your own!
- Try your hardest to separate your debts or spending reservations from your identity, because your bank account will never define who you are as a person. When you find yourself feeling down, focus instead on all of the things you love about yourself – maybe you’re the best cook in your friend group, or you can always make someone laugh, or people constantly come to you for your great advice. Whatever the case may be, you are more than your money!
At the end of the day, you can’t expect to develop a healthy relationship with money if your mind isn’t in the right place. It’s important to understand that debts and financial misgivings are temporary, but your mental health is forever. Take a deep breath, put things into perspective, and take comfort in the knowledge that KLS is in your corner!