Ongoing global pandemics, political unrest, and warring countries seem to be becoming the norm for all of us. While you’d think that’s just enough stress for one lifetime, life seems to have thrown another curve ball in the form of inflation. “Enough’s enough!” you yell, and, boy, do I hear you!
If you’ve felt particularly stressed, anxious and hopeless this year, you’re not alone. June’s inflation reached 9.1%, a four-decade high that’s not only impacted our wallets, but our mental health as well. According to polls conducted for the American Psychological Association, 87% of adults have rated inflation as one of the biggest stressors of their lifetime.
How Does Inflation Harm Our Mental Health?
With everyday essentials like groceries, gas and utilities getting more expensive, many people struggle to find the resources to meet their needs and wants. It’s no wonder that when consumer prices rise and your paycheck doesn’t, your stress levels, and probably even temper, threaten to spill over. This financial strain has led to higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger, and substance abuse in many populations throughout the United States and the world.
If you’ve been feeling the impact of inflation, you may be anxious about your financial future, have resentment towards your job, and/or possibly experience resurgent bad habits and addictions. All of these external factors challenge our ability to cope, threatening both our physical health and our mental health. So how exactly do we combat these negative impacts and avoid a mental health crisis?
Mitigating the Pressures of Inflation
Don’t worry, there is good news! You can safeguard your mental health and survive this. All it takes is a little research, outside support, and ability to recognize that your mental well being is worthwhile!
1. Check your health benefits.
Many companies and communities faced with the same barrage of issues as us, have recognized the importance of mental health and have included mental health benefits as part of their healthcare or community outreach programs. If you have a job with health benefits, it may be worthwhile to research if your company provides such things as access to telemedicine or mental health days.
To see what mental health resources are available in your community for free, search “your community” and “mental health.” For example, Parkland Cares offers local resources to those in the Parkland, FL community.
2. Look to family and friends for support.
To heal your heart a little, don’t be afraid to reach out to your loved ones. In many cases, they’re in the same boat. Getting together for a family dinner, going for a walk with friends, or even having an at home movie night can not only rejuvenate joy, but also help save money.
3. Practice self care.
You may be stressed about bringing food to the table, balancing bills, and taking care of your family, but you cannot forget about taking care of yourself too. Take that mental health day. Go ahead and spend money on a little treat for yourself. Allow yourself to rest. That little boost to your attitude can change your outlook on the future, even if it’s just for tomorrow.
4. Don’t seek out old habits.
Last, but not least, don’t fall into bad habits. Often when overstressed, those who struggle with addiction may find themselves indulging in old behaviors. Remind yourself of the reasons you are abstaining, go to an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting, call your sponsor, and surround yourself with a healthy support system.
If you find yourself struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression or addiction, I’m always here to help. I understand that the pressures of a pandemic, politics, and economical hardships can be brutal and unfair. Know that even when faced with all this, you can continue to live a healthy and happy life. Let me help you along the way!