It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and with the UK in the midst of a cost of living crisis, it’s never been more important to learn how to manage financial stress.
That’s why the experts at money.co.uk have put together a guide with all the need-to-know information when it comes to taking care of yourself financially - from dealing with redundancy, to services that can help you manage your debt.
James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Advisor at money.co.uk said: “Millions of Brits have been affected by the cost of living crisis, but what many people underestimate is the impact this financial stress can have on your health.
“Stress should be treated like any other medical condition, you need to take care of yourself in order to alleviate the symptoms. The good news is that if you’re struggling with financial stress, there are several ways to help manage the pressure.
“Many people struggling with finances fall into a spiral of low mood, preventing them from doing things they enjoy, like exercise or seeing friends. In this situation, it’s best to break the cycle. Staying active and socialising can improve your mood and clear your head to focus on finances.
“You should also try and plan for the week ahead, setting yourself small, achievable goals. Routines can be a great way to help us feel in control of our situation. Try to wake up at the same time each day and follow your usual morning routine to start your day off right.
“When it comes to financial stress, one of the main causes can be job loss. That’s why it’s so important to know your rights, so that you’re prepared for the scenario if it occurs.
“By law, you’re entitled to receive notice pay and any unused holiday. You may also qualify for statutory pay - though this will depend on how long you've been with your employer. If you’ve worked continuously with your employer for more than two years, you’re entitled to a redundancy payment.
“Another cause of financial stress is the fear that you’ll be unable to afford your bills, although creating a budget can help. A detailed look at the money coming in and the expenses you need to pay can either put your mind at ease about being able to afford rising bills, or at least give you a concrete sum that you will fall short by - allowing you to make specific plans to close that gap.
“If debts are eating into your budget, you need to ensure you’re prioritising your payments. Missing repayments on secured debts, such as your mortgage, may result in your home being repossessed, while not paying council tax can result in you being put in prison. These should be top of the list to pay first.
“For anyone struggling with debt, remember you’re not alone. Getting advice on your debts can be a great first step in helping you deal with your situation. There are a variety of free services available that can help you review your finances and set a realistic budget to pay off your debt.
“Citizens Advice offers free impartial advice for anyone struggling with their finances, meanwhile charities like Step Change can offer support on managing your debts.
“If you’re struggling with financial stress, more advice is available at money.co.uk guide here: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/coronavirus-managing-financial-stress.”
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.