Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is immensely challenging; it can provoke a blend of anxiety, sadness, and fear, much of which can be allayed as we commence our treatment plan, working alongside a team of health professionals we trust. Sometimes, we can feel anxious or depressed while receiving treatment; we can feel tired and can grow impatient with the wait, eagerly wishing to simply get back to our day-to-day lives. The stress we feel can be compounded if we are also struggling financially. This post discusses the relationship between finances and health, suggesting ways to nip the problem in the bud.
Financial Stress and Mental Health
Studies on financial stress among particular groups (for instance, students burdened by debt) have found a greater risk of mental illness. Debt, low wages, or bankruptcy take their toll on our energy levels, but also affect our motivation, sleep, and lifestyle choices. Indeed, the relationship between stress and our finances is cyclical; the more burdened we feel, the more likely we are to make poor financial decisions (including spending money impulsively and getting deeper into debt). The more in debt we are, meanwhile, the more anxious or depressed we can feel. These states affect our ability to think clearly and formulate a strategic plan to rescue our finances.
Stress and Physical Health
Because our mental and physical health are interrelated, when we are in constant ‘fight or flight’ mode, we can make lifestyle decisions which hamper our physical health. For instance, binge eating and other eating disorders can be trigger by stress. Overeating, meanwhile, or indulging in processed and sugary foods, can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, and even Type 2 diabetes.
Seeking Financial Advice
If you are battling cancer and struggling to meet work and health needs simultaneously, do not be reticent to ask for help. Ask friends or family about a trusted accountant or financial assessor who can give you handy advice on how to save, consolidate, or refinance existing debt.
Accountants can point you in the right direction by suggesting that you automate savings. They can help you figure out which debts to pay first, and formulate a retirement plan. They can also advise you on small ways to save that can add up, such as the use of cashback cards, which can return you up to 2% of everything you purchase. This is not for everyone; there are options which can consolidate and reduce costs, but also others to help raise short term funds. Financial apps, meanwhile, can make it much easier to save money every month. Small steps such as this can make a big difference; they can mean having enough to pay someone to help you with housework or to have an occasional massage and other soothing treatments.
Stress Busting Strategies
Because the relationship between finances and our mental health is so interdependent, it is important to battle stress actively. Yoga and meditation are two activities which have been found to lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, in numerous large-scale studies. In the end, stress reduction is a very personal pursuit; for some, experiences in Nature are a great source of relief. For others, hobbies such as art, music, or even gardening, do the trick. The key is to find something that resonates with you; the more mindful the activity, the better.
It is vital for patients, family, and friends to be aware of the effects stress can have on their physical and mental health; this is the first step towards putting an end to the stress-anxiety conundrum. By putting your finances in order and taking active steps to quell stress, you will find that neither has such a powerful hold on you as it may initially seem.
About the Author: Chrissy Fielding is a Content Manager and is working to build one of the best senior resource sites.