Stress can do some crazy things to you. Stress can cause chronic neck and back pain, headaches, nausea, stomach upsets which can affect your eating habits as well as palpitations.
When it comes to finances, we have noticed four really significant psychological signs that you are in financial hot water. You may be aware that you are in a bit of a juggling act but these are signs that your finances are really out of control and that you need to consider seeking some professional advice.
1. You are losing sleep over finances, more than just occasionally.
If you are experiencing disturbed sleep or insomnia because of finances then it’s an indication that you haven’t got a handle on them. Sleep deprivation affects your thinking so that you have difficulty keeping track of things leaving you open to misplacing things like car keys or forgetting appointments. It also can affect your ability to make decisions, make your responses more emotional and can then either feel anxious or on edge or leave you lethargic and apathetic. It also puts you at greater risk of using alcohol or drugs to relieve or forget stress.
All of this can impair your ability to work and earn money and only serves to worsen your circumstances. The last thing you want is for it to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s time to chat with a professional to get back your sense of control and reward yourself with the sleep your body needs.
2. You are avoiding opening bills and credit card statements.
If you are avoiding opening bills and credit card statements, or you aren’t looking at those ‘paperless bill’ emails then there is a strong indication that you know you aren’t going to like what you see. If that progresses to refusing to answer calls from unrecognised or unknown numbers then you know the gig is up and you need to get honest about your debt situation.
It’s time to put on your big kid undies and answer the phone or call those you owe money to and explain your situation. Rather than avoid them, work with them to figure out a payment plan that offers you the chance to catch up amounts owed whilst relieving the immediate financial pressure.
3. You are experiencing fears of losing your job.
We all have concerns about what might happen if we to lose our jobs but once it moves from concern to a sense of fear there is reasonable indication that your financial situation is unstable. We live in tricky times in respect to employment stability and the best we can do in financially prepare for the possibility. So though the idea of losing your job might not be desirable, you avoid the sense that it is the end of the world.
If you are harbouring this fear that it suggests that your living circumstances could not sustain such a job loss. If your financial situation could not handle the loss of a job, even for a short time of under six weeks, then it is time to put together a strategic financial plan.
4. You fantasise about having better finances.
Almost everyone in the Western world fantasises about bring in a better financial position. However, to get there most people recognise that they need to have a strategy in place to do so. If you have stopped actively working on a practical strategy and mostly find yourself in fantasy land idealising what it will feel like when things are better then there’s fair indication that your financial situation is making you a little loopy, if not delusional.
You might be fantasising about getting that promotion or higher paying job, gaining a performance bonus or even having a relative die so you can gain inheritance money. Being caught in fantasy is a sign that you have a total loss of control over your finances that your brain has an unconscious awareness of. It’s time to snap out of it and get some help.
Is this you?
If these four signs have you feeling like someone has been secretly watching you and reading your mind as well you are not alone. Personal debt in Australia is around 200% of discretionary income so there are plenty of people feeling the pinch. There is ways to get help. A great place to start is ASIC’s Money Smart web site. They have a page here on managing debts. Getting advice sooner rather than later is a wise thing to do so don’t be afraid to reach out before the problem swallows you whole.
If you are also experiencing these psychological signs or the stress symptoms in the introduction then it is also time to have a conversation with your doctor about the financial stress you are experiencing. It is important to talk with them also if you are experiencing anxiety or what you believe is irrational fears, are feeling unable to cope with daily life, are becoming preoccupied with your appearance, noticing a decline in your work performance or have noticed that you are misusing alcohol or drugs. You doctor can help you put supports in place to help you deal with these symptoms.
If you are engaging in self-mutilation, self-destructive, or dangerous behaviour, having suicidal thoughts or the urge to hurt others then please seek immediate medical assistance or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Disclaimer: We are not financial advisers or doctors. We have compiled this list based on our own personal insights and it is not a comprehensive list of when to seek financial or medical advice for financial stress. If you are experiencing financial pressure or hardship please seek professional advice or assistance. Many charitable organisations also provide basic financial and budgeting support at little or no cost. Seek professional medical assistance for psychological and stress related symptoms.