Money and Depression: How to Keep Money Troubles from Harming Your Mental Health

If we stumbled upon a genie in a bottle, how many of us would wish for unlimited money? That wish is telling, because it reveals that people believe money solves problems.

But does money solve problems? Or does it actually cause problems?

Financial troubles often cause problems, like severe stress. Stress can be a big factor in our mental health.

There are ways to keep money troubles from harming your mental health. Keep reading to learn more about money and depression.

1. Eat Well and Exercise

You might be rolling your eyes at this one. You’ve heard it a thousand times before. But that’s because it’s true, it’s effective, and it makes a huge difference!

Often with depression comes an overall lack of motivation. Many important things get dropped. Unfortunately at the top of that list is usually healthy eating and exercise.

Look back at other times you’ve struggled financially and felt heavy stress, even depression. What was your natural response? If you turned to fatty and greasy foods and endless Netflix binges, take note of that.

That’s valuable information for you now. Now you know exactly your tendencies and what to avoid. Set up a plan for when you start to feel anxiety about your money situation.

It doesn’t have to be eating Keto and running five miles! Here are some easy things you can do that will make a big difference in your overall well-being:

  • Go for a brisk walk outside
  • Weed the garden
  • Get up with the sun — it’s an empowering feeling!
  • Throw some easy greens like spinach or broccoli into your breakfast
  • For every soda you drink, drink two waters
  • Add nuts and fruit to your afternoon snack

Good foods fuel your body and brain. Exercise releases endorphins. This is the first place to start if you want to keep money troubles from affecting your mental health!

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

When you’re stressed about money, maybe the last thing you want to do is talk about it. You might feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even burdensome.

Fight that urge to keep to yourself! Talk about your feelings and your situation openly with someone you trust. You’d be surprised how beneficial it is to just say things out loud.

Just like a shaken soda can, letting these things bottle up inside you usually ends in an explosion. Talk with a friend, sibling, parent, teacher, or even a mental health professional! Avoid unnecessary internal turmoil by opening up to someone.

Plus, the person you talk to can give you useful advice. Maybe there’s a side of your situation you’re not seeing.

Maybe they have experience or know someone who can help you. You’ll never know until you communicate!

3. Don’t Forget to Sleep

Did you know that sleep loss and depression are closely linked? Sleep is just as important to your health as nutrition and physical activity.

Sleep deprivation impairs your mood and your judgment. Erratic or just down moods can certainly add or lead to depression, and poor judgment can add or lead to money problems.

Eating well and exercising will help you sleep better. Here are some other things you can do to sleep healthier (healthier meaning, all night instead of all day!):

  • Skip caffeine after noon
  • Avoid blue light (phones, TVs) for two hours before bedtime
  • Increase your exposure to bright light and sunshine during the day
  • Skip the late afternoon nap
  • Set a consistent bedtime and wake time
  • Find your ideal bedroom temperature (most people sleep better when it’s cooler!)
  • Take a warm shower right before bed to calm your mind and relax your muscles
  • Skip the late-night meal — food can cause acid reflux and liquid can increase nighttime urination!

It’s important to sleep when you’re stressed so your stress doesn’t lead to mental health issues. But it’s not just about sleeping, it’s about sleeping at the right times, in the right ways. Don’t just sleep 24/7, that would damage your mental health too!

4. Identify the Issue

It’s crucial for you to identify the real issue. Stop mowing the weeds!

Be brutally honest with yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I spend money to make myself feel better?
  • Do I spend more money than I’d like to admit?
  • When and where do I tend to spend money?
  • Given my life situation (cost of rent, cost of car, childcare, etc.) do I need to make more money? Or do I need to change the situation?

Do you just have too many non-negotiable expenses? Then think about getting a better job that pays more. Do you spend unnecessarily? Then set strict limits for yourself.

Don’t let your spending and depression become a vicious cycle. Identify your root issues now so you can avoid harming your mental health.

5. Take Action!

After you’ve identified your root issues, it’s time to take action. This is the most important step!

First, get organized. Don’t hesitate to physically write out your exact finances: income, non-negotiable expenses, variable expenses, savings, and unnecessary spending.

Also consider writing down your usual triggers: is it clothes? Food? Stuff for your house? Stuff for your car? Travel? It can be helpful to see your tendencies written out right in front of you.

Next, make a plan. How are you going to achieve your financial goals? Don’t be afraid to include meeting with someone!

That can be a financial planner, a loan officer, your bank, etc.

If you’re worried about some pressing due dates that are coming up before your next paycheck, you might want to consider payday loans. Click here for some helpful information about how they can help.

Last but not least, do whatever is necessary: give your cards to a loyal friend if you can’t be trusted with them; withdraw exact amounts of cash and use only that amount for expenses. Some actions might seem extreme to you, but maybe that’s what’s needed! 

Money and Depression Don’t Have to Live Hand in Hand

A serious and damaging misconception is that money and depression must live hand in hand. When you’re super rich, you’re unfulfilled. When you’re poor, you’re constantly stressed.

That’s true for some people, but doesn’t have to be true for you! Choose to not let financial troubles harm your mental health.

Check out our other articles about happiness, finances, and money saving. Don’t forget to apply the tips you’ve learned here!

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