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By the author of The Flat Broke Cookbook and The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living
If the stress of inflation is getting you down, you’re definitely not alone. A survey about stress in 2022 found that the vast majority of adults were worried about money this year.
Inflation was reported as a source of stress for the vast majority of adults (83%), and the majority of all adults also said the economy (69%) and money (66%) are a significant source of stress. Of those who said money is a source of stress, most said that stress is about having enough money to pay for basic needs. Slightly more than half of adults who reported money is a significant source of stress (55%) said money is a cause of fights or tension in their family compared with 41% of the general population who said the same. This may be partially due to having to make different choices due to lack of money.
Nearly three in five adults (57%) who indicated money was a source of stress said that having enough money to pay for things in the present—like food or rent/mortgage—is their main source of stress regarding money, while more than two in five adults (43%) reported feeling that saving enough money for things in the future is their main source of stress.
Dang. I feel that on a personal level.
If you aren’t feeling the heat, this article isn’t for you. Statistically, though, more than 8 out of 10 of us are worried.
When you are worried and stressed out, it’s hard to be effective. You may feel the urge to work non-stop or to eschew all things fun and pleasant. Alternatively, you might feel paralyzed by what seems like an insurmountable situation.
If you can manage your feelings of anxiety, you’ll be in a much better position to get through this. Here are some tips for managing the stress of inflation.
Avoid the urge to be constantly productive.
Going into hyper-productivity mode works for a while to combat the effects of inflation, but nobody can keep up the pace forever. You can set yourself up for a terrible cycle of stress by taking on too much. You’ll find that you quickly move into a state in which you simply can’t “shut it off.”
I get it. When things go sideways, all I want to do is fix it as fast as possible. But working yourself into the ground isn’t the way to do that unless your issue is strictly short-term and finite. If you are dealing with a big-picture, long-term financial crisis, going non-stop isn’t the way through it, no matter how much you want to fix it, fix it, fix it.
There are several risks when you try to be constantly productive:
- Poor sleep – I don’t know about you, but when I work from the time I get up til the time I go to bed, sleep is elusive at best and absent at worst. Insomnia is not your friend, and while you might be able to get by short-term with a sleep deficit, eventually, it will catch up with you. You need some downtime before bed so that you can wind down enough to get your rest.
- Weakened immune system – When you are constantly busy, chances are you aren’t eating well or sleeping well. This affects your immune system. Lack of sleep will also make you more susceptible to illness. When you’re in a weakened state, you are more likely to get sick, and that means a) you have to spend money on a doctor and medicine or b) you miss work, or c) both of the above.
- Difficulty managing emotions – When I’m stressed, I get moody fast. I am more prone to snapping at the people I love, more likely to be upset over something trivial, and find it difficult to be cheerful. This stuff all conspires against me – my bad mood then makes everything feel more hopeless, and that makes my situation even worse.
- Burnout – Finally, pushing yourself too hard for too long will lead to burnout. It’s not pretty – Colette wrote about it here. Burnout can affect every aspect of your life, from your professional skills to your personal relationships to your health. Once it happens, it can take months, if not years, to recover.
Take my advice – you have to pace yourself.
Know what you can control and what you can’t.
There are a lot of things you can control – the meals you plan, the money you spend on discretionary things, and choosing activities that don’t cost money for entertainment.
But there’s a lot going on right now that you can’t do a darn thing about. No matter how angry you get, how much you feel like you know the right answer, or how desperately you want to, there is absolutely nothing you can do about the overall economy. You can’t singlehandedly reduce inflation, control government policies, influence corporate decisions, or affect national decision-making. While I believe it’s important to stay informed, immersing yourself in all this day in and day out will just make you feel angry, helpless, and frustrated.
Focus your energy on the things that you can control and limit the attention you give to things you cannot. You can’t control the economy, but you can definitely mitigate the stress of inflation.
Let things go.
This is really hard, but sometimes you have to let things go. We’re in an economic situation right now in which our old way of life may no longer be sustainable.
Are there expenses you can cut even though it feels like a sacrifice? (Colette wrote about that here.) Perhaps it’s lessons or a hobby. Maybe you need to switch to being a one-car family. It could be that you need to change your entire living situation to be able to keep your head above water.
While the decision to let things go may be difficult, the relief you will feel afterward is immense. (Although I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s mixed with sadness.)
Make time for pleasant activities.
This is the place a lot of folks find to be a sticking point. When they’re feeling the stress of inflation, they feel guilty for enjoying themselves when their financial life is in shambles. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to try and get past that. You might be struggling to make ends meet, but you still deserve to be happy. Punishing yourself by living a spartan life with no joy will not help you through this situation any faster.
This website is absolutely loaded with ideas for entertaining yourself and your loved ones without spending much – if any- money. We have all sorts of suggestions for delicious yet frugal food, for family activities and special occasions, and for having a good mental attitude. Life is too short, and this economic situation will last too long for you to eschew all things pleasant until the situation resolves. Being miserable will not get you through this any faster.
I’ve noticed that after I give myself a little break, when I come back to the problem, I’m often able to attack it with a fresh perspective and more positivity. That is far more effective than sullenly trudging through my days due to the stress of inflation.
Is the stress of inflation getting to you?
If the stress of inflation is getting to you, you’re definitely in good company.
How are you managing it mentally? What concrete steps are you able to take? Let’s discuss how we’re handling the stress of inflation in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.