Managing your health amid the cost-of-living crisis part 3 – Looking after your mental health
It’s completely normal to feel worried about the cost of living and how it’s going to impact you and others. The increase in cost of living brings uncertainty which can be difficult to deal with and may lead to low mood, anxiety and stress which in turn make implementing and maintaining lifestyle changes more challenging.
Looking after your mental health is particularly important at times of uncertainty both for your physical and mental wellbeing. Let’s look at some things that might help to manage your mental health during the cost of living crisis and support you to feel able to continue making healthy long-term changes.
Mindfulness can be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and can be done anywhere. It can be something as simple as taking some deep breaths and paying attention to how your body feels, or you may prefer to follow a guided mindfulness activity. You can try a short mindful breathing exercise here.
Pay attention to your thoughts and identify unhelpful ‘thought traps’. It’s easy to think negatively about yourself and the future, and although it is normal to be worried about the cost of living often we jump to the worst case scenario so it can be helpful to rationalise your thoughts and understand how they might be impacting your behaviour. You can find an NHS guide to managing unhelpful thoughts here.
Prioritise your physical wellbeing. It’s normal for exercise and nutrition to be less of a priority when facing uncertainty and stress. As mentioned in our recent blogs, there are many budget-friendly ways to stay physically active and eat nutritious meals, which can also support mental wellbeing by reducing stress.
Talk to those close to you about how you’re feeling. It can really help to share your worries whether that be with your friends, family or a professional. They might be able to help you overcome any challenges, or just be there to offer encouragement throughout the difficult time or experience.
It’s important to speak to your GP if you think you would benefit from further support for financial or mental health concerns.