An important aspect of financial wellness is mental wellness. Financial stress can cause emotional stress: it impacts our relationships and our workplace.
As part of this year’s Money Makeover Challenge, I had a discussion with Dr Lesego Rametsi, group head of health and wellness at Absa, about the relationship between financial stress and mental health.
When it comes to managing money, we need to be aware of our money emotions ‒ what makes us spend, why money makes us anxious.
While financial pressure can impact our mental wellbeing, our mental wellbeing could be causing us financial challenges.
For example, if stress causes you to over-eat, you are more likely to make impulsive purchases to make yourself feel better. Or maybe depression makes you start slipping behind on bills.
So how do you identify the triggers?
You need to first identify what is driving your behaviour. If you’re falling behind on admin, not paying your bills, and feeling overwhelmed, these could all be signs of depression. If you are suffering from a mental illness you need to get professional help.
If you find you are overspending and giving into short-term impulses, you may want to spend time understanding your relationship with money and events in your childhood that have shaped your current relationship with money.
Your beliefs about money could even lead to anxiety and a fear that you will never have enough, or that you may lose all your money one day. Understand the root cause of your anxiety or fears.
If you have a sense that your finances are out of control, break it down into small, manageable steps.
Start by simply writing down what you spend. Even that simple action can start to give you back some sense of control. Once you feel that your finances are under control, you will find that other aspects of your life improve.
Mental health and financial wellness go hand in hand; neglecting one will ultimately impact the other. Whether you’re struggling with financial stress or simply looking to improve your overall health, take the time to invest in both and prioritise your wellbeing.