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Managing Financial Stress – A Guide for Employees

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

The current financial climate and the cost-of-living crisis is having an impact on everyone whether it be falling further into debt, having to make difficult decisions around how you spend your money or saying no to business opportunities due to a lack of resources.

Research suggests a strong link between financial pressure and poor mental health. The mental health charity Mind identifies that a negative cycle that can occur where worrying about finances can lead to poorer mental health and in turn, when mental health is affected, it can become more difficult to manage finances. For businesses this leads to more sick days, higher stress levels and fragmentation within teams ultimately effecting employee wellbeing and productivity.

How financial stress impacts your work

Financial stress forms part of the wider picture of workplace wellbeing and as a result can make you more susceptible to burnout and overwhelm at work

Financial stress is impacting both productivity and workplace anxiety with 53% of respondents believing that rising mortgage rates and the cost-of-living crisis is negatively affecting their ability to do their job.

What’s more your cognitive ability can be impacted by lack of sleep caused by worrying about financial pressures.

So what can we do about it?

It may be that you are not in the position to change the pressures of financial stress (at least not immediately), and so being proactive in how you react to the pressure and developing ways of coping with financial stress is important in avoiding further stress and things getting worse.

Managing the stress to break the cycle

When we experience stress in relation to our finances it impacts more than just our bank balance. Financial stress can have a negative impact on our sleep, diet, relationships and our mental health. This stress is often a combination of internal and external factors that, if left unchecked, can lead to overwhelm, low self-esteem and isolation.

The first step to managing this stress is to take back control. This requires shifting your focus from how bad the situation is to the first positive steps towards improving the situation would look like.

Top tips:

Write a list

Get clear on the challenge you’re facing. When we experience financial stress we often feel overwhelmed and feel our options are limited. This can lead to avoiding facing our problems. Writing a list of the problems, although scary, gets the information out of your brain and onto the page. This often leads to the realisation that they aren’t as big as we thought and also clears up some headspace to start to tackle them one by one.

Time limit problem solving

This can feel especially difficult when it feels as though we can’t afford to take time away from solving an issue. The reality is that constant worry will chip away at both your mental and physical health which will make things worse. Consider allowing yourself time to find joy in life as an important element in resolving your problems. Recognising that finances, while important, aren’t everything, will help you to think clearer.

Recognise that this will pass

Reminding yourself of times where we had less pressure can be helpful in giving us that much needed perspective that things weren’t always this difficult and that as humans we are innately resourceful. Thinking of how we have overcome challenges in the past can also give us inspiration for what we might consider doing now to help improve things.

Speak to us if you'd like more tips on improving your wellbeing at work and building resilience.

Free Development Session - Managing Financial Stress Espresso

Our free Espresso session on Managing Financial Stress takes place on 18th October, exploring behaviours and thought cycles that impact our actions and teaching you techniques to help you and your team to take back control.

If you have money-related issues...

You are not alone. Both in the sense that there is support available to you and also that many people struggle with their finances daily. Acknowledging this can help you to leave shame at the door and seek the help you need to get you back on track with your finances.

On a practical level it is advisable to seek advice and support. Opening up a conversation about your finances can help you explore your options and get clarity on how to move forward. You can find further information for this at the bottom of this page.

GOV.UK  has information about a range of work and money-related issues including redundancies, dismissals, disciplinaries, benefits, court claims, debt, bankruptcy, finding a new job

Citizens Advice has information on benefits, dealing with debt, redundancy entitlements and who to speak to if you're at risk of losing your home.


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