Keeping your cool as energy prices soar

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Aside from financial stress being a common concern towards the end of the year, one of the stressors many of us seem to be facing this winter is managing the unforeseen stress due to the rising costs of energy. Here’s 5 ways to help you keep your cool at home as the energy prices soar:

 

1. Talk to someone. When you are facing money problems or worrying about an increase in your monthly outgoings, there’s often a strong temptation to bottle everything up. Sadly, this will only make your financial stress worse. Instead, the answer is to talk about it. Not only is talking face-to-face with a trusted friend or loved one a proven means of stress relief, but speaking openly about your financial problems can also help you put things in perspective too. Remember the person you talk to doesn’t need to be able to fix your issues, they just need to listen without judgement.

2. Take inventory of your finances. If you’re struggling to make ends meet due to the rising energy costs, do not bury your head in the sand. It’s essential to detail your income, debt, and spending over the course of at least one month so you have a full overview of where you stand. Make sure you include the following in the inventory; your income, your spending (however small it might be) and list out your debts. A number of websites and smartphone apps can also help keep track of your finances too.

3. Boost your self-esteem. Rightly or wrongly, experiencing financial problems and worrying about increases in your outgoings, can cause you to feel like a failure and impact your self-esteem. But there are plenty of other, more rewarding ways to improve your sense of self-worth. Even when you’re struggling yourself, helping others by volunteering can increase your confidence and ease stress, anger, and anxiety. Or you could spend time in nature, learn a new skill, or enjoy the company of people who appreciate you for who you are, rather than for your bank balance.

4. Create a stress bucket. A nice way to think about or stress is in the form of a ‘stress bucket’. We all have a stress bucket that is being dripped into with the many stressors around us. The key is to have an outlet for our stress, or our bucket will overflow, resulting in burnout, anxiety and overwhelm. You can put holes in your bucket by looking after yourself, practicing self-care, spending time with friends and family and focusing on the tips above. Remember you’re only human and there is only so much room in your stress bucket.

5. Seek professional advice. Depending on where you live, there are several organisations that offer free counselling on dealing with financial problems and this will include helping you with increasing monthly spends due to energy price rises. Whether or not you have a friend or loved one to talk to for emotional support, getting practical advice from an expert is always a good idea. Remember, reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it doesn’t mean that you’ve somehow failed as a provider, parent, or spouse, it just means that you’re wise enough to recognise your financial situation needs addressing.

Certainly, we are all facing some uncertain times right now, but for those struggling with stress due to the energy crisis, anxious as a result of the ongoing pandemic or indeed due to any other issues, we want to highlight that there is support available to everyone who needs it.

For those who feel that they need that extra layer of support, we would encourage you to reach out to family, friends, your GP, or some other available support quickly. Reaching out is a positive first step to managing your mental health.

Here are some support services for those dealing with heightened stress right now:

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