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Money and your mental health

Your mental and financial wellbeing are often inter-connected and if one is not going well, it can really impact the other. Tom Hartmann from Sorted shares insights and tips on how to recognise signs of money stress and how to deal with it.

Focus on the things you can control

Money issues can be overwhelming, so Hartmann suggests looking at the small things you can change or control rather than feeling paralysed by the overall picture. "Chunk it down. Look for those small wins. You might not be able to make it all better at once, but you can look for one thing that's within your control, focus on that, then move onto the next thing. It might be small – saving a few dollars, making a phone call, or finding a useful website or calculator."

Talk about it

"Money is a funny thing. When it's not going well, people really don't want to talk about it," says Hartmann. "But talking about it is one of the best things we can do."

This might be with your trusted inner circle of friends and family, or with a neutral party like a business mentor, accountant, or health professional.

Also be aware of how you talk to yourself. "Treat yourself kindly. Talk to yourself like you would a friend, be encouraging rather than down on yourself," says Hartmann.

It’s not always going to be like this

Hartmann suggests trying to think about whatever you're going through as being part of a longer journey that won't last forever. "It's a bit like recovering from an injury. It hurts, but you're going to heal and work through what you're dealing with, it's not a permanent state of affairs."

Recognise your triggers and get help

If you're feeling stressed and anxious about your finances, it can have a big impact on other aspects of your life.

A Sorted survey of more than 2600 people found that money stress triggered responses that made people:

  • not access health services (31% of respondents)
  • feel embarrassed (29%)
  • make poor food choices (28%)
  • hide their money situation (24%)
  • have relationship problems (20%)
  • feel ill (19%)
  • skip exercise (16%).

Only 8% of respondents said they tried to get help for their money-related stress.

"When it starts affecting your sleeping and eating, or if the people around you keep asking if you're ok, then these are red flags and it's time to get help," says Hartmann.

For free business support and advice, you can call the COVID-19 Business helpline: 0800 500 362 if you're in the North Island and 0800 505 096 if you're in the South Island.

Find more resources and tips for small business owners to help you look after yourself and your team.

Mental health and wellbeing support

If you're suffering financial-related stress and anxiety, talk to your GP. They'll be able to assess where you're at and refer you to a specialist if necessary.

You can also access trained counsellors for free by texting or calling 1737. Find out more at 1737.org.nz:

1737.org.nz(external link)

Other mental health and wellbeing support can be found at Depression.org.nz:

Depression.org.nz(external link)

Sorted has free finance tools, guides and resources on its website:

Sorted.org.nz(external link)

If you want to talk to someone for support around debt or personal budget issues, you can ring the free Money Talks helpline on 0800 345 123:

Money Talks(external link)

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