Managing Your Mental Health During a Cost of Living Crisis
At My Black Dog, we understand how stressful everyday life can be. Keeping our heads above water with the daily pressures can be overwhelming. Add to this the current strains of the cost of living crisis, and life can become too much. The current economic climate has forced millions to stretch their budgets further than ever. This additional pressure can manifest in many ways but often results in our mental well-being suffering more, so we put together a few helpful tips and some useful websites that can help you at this highly stressful time.
Develop a Financial Plan to gain control and ease anxiety.
One of the most important steps to managing your mental health regarding finances is knowing exactly what your expenses are and how to budget effectively, giving you a sense of control. Identifying the daily spending and incomes lets you know where and if you need to cut back and prioritise your needs versus wants. If you need help figuring out where to start, seeking financial advice from a financial planner can also be beneficial. Read more about effective strategies to sensing control of your money here.
Affordable Ways to Practice Self-Care
We are big fans of self-care when it comes to managing our mental health, especially when times are tough, and while you may be concerned that some aspects of self-care come with a price tag, there are plenty of affordable or accessible ways to get in the essential 'me time.' Activities such as meditation, yoga, reading, or walking outside in nature can be ways to really give you a chance to connect with yourself, give your mind a rest, and bring you joy. Ensuring time for self-care can decrease stress levels, improve mood, and increase productivity. Furthermore, taking care of your physical health by eating well, sleeping enough, and exercising can positively impact your mood, so when the tough times roll, you're in the best space to handle them head-on.
Take control and change the subject
It's common to feel anxious and stressed about the high cost of living due to news, social media, and conversations. If you're feeling overwhelmed, it's okay to let your friends and family know that you don't want to discuss it or change the subject. This can lead to a more positive conversation or allow you to express your feelings. Additionally, try taking a break from TV and social media to focus on other things and protect your mental well-being.
Focus on the good stuff
Try writing down things you're grateful for every day, like having a roof over your head and food to eat. Focusing on what you have instead of what you don't have could ease the resentments that cutting back brings.
Little progress is still progress.
It's understandable to feel overwhelmed and helpless when our emotions run high. However, taking small steps can make the process much more manageable. Start by identifying what you can do today to improve your situation, even if it's just writing down your outgoings, and tomorrow you negotiate some bills; tackle it one step at a time. Breaking up tasks into smaller, achievable goals can boost feelings of accomplishment and self-confidence, leading to a more positive outlook on moving forward. Remember at this time to be kind to yourself, the cost of living crisis is affecting everyone and a lot of us are in the same situation.
We at My Black Dog are very aware of the issues we all may face during this current cost of living crisis, so we have gathered together some useful links that might be able to help you on a day-to-day basis.
Citizens Advice has compiled a very comprehensive list of information and links to various organisations and government sites that can assist you:
Also, the following are very helpful:
https://costoflivingsupport.campaign.gov.uk/ - Advice Site
https://www.stepchange.org/ - Debt Management Charity
https://www.mencap.org.uk/help-with-food-energy-and-money - Help for those with Learning Difficulties
https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/ - Food Banks/Food Vouchers
https://toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb/ - Unwanted food site
https://olioex.com - Food & Household good sharing community