Financial wellness and your well-being
With the holidays approaching, some people may experience financial stress — the worry, anxiety, or fear caused by money problems. In this article, we take a look at some steps you can take to reduce financial stress.
Know you’re not alone
Money and finances are stressful for many people. In fact, some surveys rate it as the number one stressor for the majority of people experiencing stress. A recent poll by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that:
- A majority of adults say the economy (69%) and money (66%) are a significant source of stress.
- Most of those people also said they worry about paying for basic needs.
- 41 to 55% of people said money is a cause of family fights or tension.
Recognize relationships between your money and your well-being
Like other types of stress, financial stress can impact your health. It can cause headaches and problems with your sleep, digestion, and heart, just to name a few. Money problems might lead to increased stress in other parts of your life too, such as not being able to get medical care or do social things with friends.
Your state of well-being can affect the way you manage your finances, which may increase stress. For example, if you’re experiencing depression, money management might be overwhelming. You might avoid thinking about it entirely.
Work with a counselor
A licensed mental health professional can help you understand issues underlying financial decisions, help you develop a plan to reduce stress caused by finances, or direct you to supportive resources. Employees covered by the EAP can request counseling at no cost to the employee.
Improve your financial literacy
Improving your financial literacy means gaining knowledge to help you manage your budget, avoid debt, and plan for your future. These actions could reduce the chances you’ll experience stressful money problems. They could also help your finances be more resilient to big impacts like a job loss or large medical bill.
- Ask your bank or credit union if they have financial literacy tools, like spending trackers. They may also offer educational guides, events, or consultations.
- You may find helpful resources online, such as MyMoney.gov or this guide from Harvard University.
Use EAP Work/Life benefits
Employees covered by the Washington State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may also have Work/Life benefits. Work/Life benefits include expert counseling, informative articles, and financial calculators.
- To find out if you have Work/Life, check with your supervisor or Human Resources.
- Visit the EAP website to learn more about Work/Life.
Don’t let stigma stop you from asking for help
While stressful financial situations can be caused by personal choices, it’s important to remember there are many causes for financial strain that happen outside of personal control, such as medical expenses or changes in employment. Try not to judge others — or yourself.
Instead, when dealing with uncertain situations, the APA recommends:
- Be patient. Remind yourself that it might take time for the stressful situation to resolve.
- Change perspective. Ask yourself what you might tell a friend in a similar situation.
- Get support. Seek out guidance to help you address your concerns.
There may not be a quick solution to financial issues you’re facing. But taking steps toward a solution could reduce your stress by restoring a sense of control, as well as increasing your financial wellness in the future.
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The Washington State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential program created to promote the health, safety and well-being of public service employees and their household adult family members. EAP provides counseling and other resources to support well-being, address workplace concerns, and help with legal and financial issues. Reach out to EAP online or call 877–313–4455. To find out if the Washington State EAP serves your agency or organization, contact your supervisor or human resources department.
Links to external websites are provided as a convenience. The Employee Assistance Program and the Department of Enterprise Services do not endorse the content, services, or viewpoints found at these external sites. Information is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the counsel or advice of a qualified health or legal professional. For further help, questions, or referral to community resources for specific problems or personal concerns, contact the EAP or other qualified professional.