Looking After Your Mental Health During a Cost of Living Crisis
The Cost of Living Crisis is on the forefront of everybody's minds at the moment. After two very turbulent and stressful years, it can be massively draining to have to live through and deal with ANOTHER crisis. It's dominating the news cycle, it's all over social media and it's affecting our mental health.
It's a scary and confusing time as there's a lot of uncertainty and plenty of scaremongering going on and it's very easy to slip into a negative, pessimistic or even depressive headspace.
It's also hard to know HOW to look after your mental health during these tough times, as when we we worry about money, what we're really concerned about is our security. As illustrated by Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs, our safety needs (such as employment, resources, and personal security) need to be met before we're able to think about self-esteem, self-actualisation and our mental wellbeing. So when our safety and security is under threat, telling you to meditate and do yoga isn't going to solve a very real, very tangible fear.
However, there are things you can do to adjust your mindset and perspective to stop this fear and anxiety controlling you, helping you to approach the crisis with a more logical head. Read on for some tips on how to look after your mental health during the cost of living crisis.
Don't bury your head in the sand
At the time of writing (August 2022), the cost of living crisis is very much a reality. While there might be political intervention at a later date, it's best to accept this reality and plan for it. It can be very tempting to "bury your head in the sand" and hope for the best, but this is potentially just exacerbating the problem further down the line. If it’s constantly playing on your mind and making you anxious, it’s probably because the issue is unresolved so now's the time to actively engage with the issue, look for solutions. It might not be as scary as you think.
Take the first step and say to yourself "Today is the day, I need to take action, take control and make a plan". Not only is this more sensible in the long run, it will ease the pressure and give you a sense of relief that you are taking ownership and control of the problem.
Set time aside to worry
This might sound counter-productive - surely everybody knows worrying doesn't make things better? And you're right; however, it's much better to accept your reality, that you are worried and go with it, instead of beating yourself up for being, quite rightly, anxious.
Set half an hour aside to "worry". During your 'worry hour', get your concerns on paper, analyse your financial situation, empty your head so these noisy thoughts aren't cluttering up your head, and dedicate time to examining the situation from every angle. Doing this allows you to engage with your worries with a more logical head, instead of one in panic mode. Use this time to reflect on your finances, research your options and action-plan, instead of ruminating and sending yourself into a negative thought spiral.