As we welcome the change in seasons after a long, gloriously sun-filled summer, our attention may turn towards the looming winter season and concerns about energy bills increasing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the cost of living crisis and all the news headlines lately about what might be in store for your finances as you increasingly feel the need to switch on the radiators, then life coach and boundaries expert, Michelle Elman, has some great advice for managing anxiety and learning how to navigate the next few months.
Stress and anxiety are understandable. With the constant discussion around mental health, it can often feel like there is a solution in your mind for every situation. This presents an unrealistic problem because it is not always on the individual to resolve issues, and mental health needs to be understood and conceived of within the system. Stress and anxiety cannot be viewed in isolation, and they are an appropriate response to not being able to afford your bills or food to feed your children so stop shaming yourself for feeling that way.
Focus on what you can control. So much of the cost of living crisis is out of your control and due to people in powerful positions not considering the impacts decisions will have on others, and ultimately not taking people’s survival seriously. When you feel powerless and out of control, the only solution is to focus on what you can control. Things which are out of your control can’t be changed anyway and so thinking about them longer than necessary will just drain your energy. Saying ‘don’t worry’ can feel really invalidating, so instead find something practical that will help you feel that you are contributing to the solution. This could be finding people who are in a similar situation so you feel less alone, or it could be reaching out to a local foodbank.
Ask for help. We shouldn’t have to be relying on charities in order to get basic needs met, but since those in power are doing little to solve the problem, look for help in places where they are more person-focused and providing solutions right now. It’s not just reaching out for monetary support from charities but also mental health support. You are far from alone! There are many people going through the same crises and whilst it might be easy to dismiss how you feel as a ‘waste of time’ and rightfully so, you might not have the time and energy to add another thing to the list, reaching out to a helpline could provide you with more resources in the long run.
Remove the shame and stigma. We can judge ourselves when aren’t solely independent but if you are in a system that is setting you up for failure then being solely independent was never an option. Therefore, it’s important to remember that asking for support doesn’t make you a worse person or a person of any less value. We cannot let the impact of the crises start affecting how you view yourself and your self-esteem. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can.
Michelle Elman is a five-board accredited Life Coach and boundaries expert @MichelleElman
READ MORE: How To Eat Healthy On A Budget