Cost of living: supporting yourself & others 

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Health Assured team

28 March 2023

71% of UK adults are worried about maintaining their standard of living over the coming months.

If you’ve read our previous blogs in this series about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, and what this means for mental health, you’ll be familiar with many more shocking statistics that are starting to emerge.

The numbers show how the landscape is changing for almost all of us—and these changes can be hard to navigate.

So in this third and final blog of the cost of living series, we will look at how you can support yourself and others around you through these times. 

De-stigmatise finances in your circle 

Finances and debt can often carry a stigma that makes the topics hard to discuss openly with others. This cycle can keep people stuck in shame or guilt and discourage them from reaching out for support.

You can rewrite this story by openly checking in on your friends, discussing your financial concerns and reassuring them if they need to talk things through, then you’re there to listen. Sometimes all it takes is a simple conversation starter for people to really open up. 

Social support networks

In times of struggle, social support networks can be really important. So try to keep up connections with your friends and family as much as you can. From phone calls to cuppas, try to find free or cheap ways to bridge bonds, even if you can’t carry on doing the activities you’re normally used to.

If you feel your social circle isn’t where you’d like it to be, scout out opportunities near you—whether it’s browsing sites like Meetup or seeking out community support groups and organisations.

Avoid avoidance 

With all the uncertainty and change we’re seeing—it’s normal to feel anxious in response. If you are finding that you’re feeling worried or on edge at the moment, allow yourself space to experience these emotions.

A common tendency when anxiety arises is to avoid the scenario creating anxiety. But this response often only creates further stress, worry and panic. That’s why it’s important to always take action where you can. Even if you only start small.

If you’re struggling with your finances, act now before it gets worse. Keep tabs on your spending, contact a free support service like Step Change and try to take ownership of your situation as much as you can—there is light on the other side of the tunnel. This advice goes for any problem you might be anxious about. 

If you’ve been dealing with these issues for a long time, you might benefit from professional counselling support to help you overcome this hurdle. It can be hard to reach out for help, but it can give you the guidance you need to make some changes once and for all. 

The healing power of nature

The nights are getting longer, and the temperatures are (hopefully) going to get a little warmer. If there’s ever been a time to get out and explore the healing power of nature—it’s now. Getting outdoors is free, and it can also bring a great range of health benefits including:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced feelings of stress or anger
  • Improved relaxation
  • Improved confidence and self-esteem
  • Reduced loneliness
  • A physical health boost
  • Better connections with new people in the local community

Take each day as it comes 

In periods of poor mental health, the thought of all the tasks you have to do or issues you’re facing can be overwhelming, which might increase anxiety and deplete your energy levels further. When times become turbulent, try to take each day as it comes. Focus on what you can control and make small steps in the right direction.

Go back to the basics and ensure you’re taking care of your physical health by eating a nutritious diet, regularly exercising and drinking enough water. Sleep is another one that’s super important for helping you to think more clearly, make better decisions and feel more positive. Prioritise these things in every way you can. 

Cut back on news and social media usage

Social media can breed comparison, and too much time spent on social media has been shown to exacerbate mental health problems like anxiety and depression. If you’re feeling down, there can be a temptation to sit and scroll social media, but this can be one of the worst times to engage with it. Try to limit your screen time where you can and use this time to connect with others in real life or do something you enjoy.

The same is true of consuming news, especially around the narrative of the cost-of-living crisis. News channels are rolling 24 hours a day, and these continuous updates can take their toll on your wellbeing. Of course, it‘s important to stay up to date with key events, but you don’t want to get lost in a cycle of distressing news.

Try to regulate your news consumption by turning news notifications off on your phone or allowing yourself a time frame each day for news consumption.

Seek professional help

Remember that these tips are here as a guide to support you. But they are not a substitute for seeking professional support. If you’re struggling with money or mental health, reach and access the help that's available. You are never alone—you don’t need to suffer in silence.

The services below are free to use, and you can access them whenever you need to:

Step Change - Free debt advice and support service

Samaritans – Speak to someone for free with no judgements by phone, email or live chat.

Mind – A fantastic range of resources, guidance and helpline.

Health Assured – if you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) with us, remember that our helpline is available 24 hours a day. 

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