Stress… the biggest health risk of our times.
And for many of us South Africans, that stress is directly related to making ends meet.
Now we understand why Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up.
How do I know if I am stressing?
The truth is that stress is not just a feeling. Your body can suffer from all or any of the below:
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle tension or fatigue
- Nausea and dizziness
If you are nodding your head and feel that you suffer from these symptoms, you may be chronically stressed.
Interestingly, studies have also shown that up to 80% of all doctor’s visits were directly related to stress. The symptoms were caused by prolonged periods of stress, and not viral or bacterial related at all.
When stress hits, your body responds in the same way it responds to a physical threat. And with chronic, ongoing, long term stress, your entire body make up can change, often leading to serious and dangerous health issues.
Ok so let’s inhale. And exhale.
let’s fight the stress and tackle what caused it…
Fighting Financial Stress
It’s time to take control of your finances. By actively working towards improving your financial situation, you will already find yourself in a much better position.
5 Steps to a Better Bank Balance:
These 5 steps to better money management are also your first steps to a better night’s sleep, fewer headaches, anxiety and fatigue. And most importantly… it will help relieve your financial worry.
Taking control will help your body and mind feel better.
- Know what you are spending your money on. Keep all your receipts every time you buy something -even if it was just a small bar of chocolate. Every cent needs to be accounted for. If you don’t like the idea of your purse or wallet being overtaken with an abundance of receipts, you can always download a free app to help you manage them. Some highly recommended ones include Expensify and Wave. Both apps are free and available on both iOS and Android.
- Some of us prefer using a spreadsheet, others prefer an app. Either way, log all your spending so you can see what’s going on. Are you spending a bit too much on takeaways or nights out? Now is the time to find out. It may shock you to see where your money goes. Use pie charts, graphs or any other creative way to see where your money goes. We as humans respond to images better than text. This is because of 90% of the information that the brain processes are visual. So, if you want to make sure you truly see where your money goes, make use of charts and colours!
- Fluid expenses are those monthly costs that you can change. You may not be able to reduce your rent at this point or lower your insurance on your car. But you can adjust things like your groceries and luxury expenses. Simple changes such as switching brands and planning your meals can go a long way in decreasing your “fluid” costs. Use websites such as www.pricecheck.co.za to get the best deals.
- Sticking to a budget is easier said than done. But if you are keeping all your receipts and tracking your spending like a ninja, it becomes easier than you think. By adjusting your fluid expenses and setting a budget which you are comfortable with, you will find sticking to it a lot easier. There are lots of different types of budgets you can get your teeth into, such as the Envelope Budget. Either way, find one that suits you best and get started.
- Your fixed costs include anything you cannot change monthly such as your rent, car or debt repayments. Look for ways to reduce the monthly balance on these things. Do you need your petrol guzzling car, or can you downgrade? If you rent, it may be worth looking for a more affordable property at the end of your lease. Take some time and think of how you can reduce your long-term costs.
Is Debt to Blame?
Sometimes financial stress isn’t that easy to overcome. Debt can severely impact your money management efforts. You can budget all you want, and you’ll still find you cannot keep your head above water. If your debt repayments are eating all your salary, it’s time to act. Consider Debt Counselling or speak directly to your creditors if possible.
We understand that being over-indebted causes a lot of our everyday stress. We stress every day towards the end of the month, and during the month for the month. We worry about paying bills, keeping up our bond or rental payments, filling up our cars and putting food on the table.
Seeking professional debt help is a great way to start. With a solution like Debt Review, we can tailor a repayment plan for you so that it reduces the monthly instalments, ensures you have enough to live on – and ultimately reduces your stress – and all the health issues associated with it.
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