You might not see how the state of your finances could be related to the state of your health, but there are actually several ways in which financial hardship can bring stress to your life, along with a series of other issues that can negatively impact your overall health. Experts are finding more evidence each day to suggest that stress is to blame for all kinds of problems, from simple ailments like headache, nausea, and fatigue to more pronounced and dangerous disorders such as weight gain, hypertension, and reduced immune function (leading to illness). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stress, and your finances can stress you out in a major way, especially during a recession.
For starters, you may not be able to afford health insurance when you’re strapped for cash. Often this preparatory measure is among the first things to get cut when people are trying to find ways to make ends meet. If you are in relatively good health you might not think that having medical and dental insurance is very important. And yet, there are a couple of reasons why you could be wrong on this score. First, you will most likely be forced to forego preventive care such as your annual check-ups (physical exam, dental cleaning, and so on). This means that you could be missing out on early detection of problems that could mean you pay a lot more down the road. And although you will probably be happy to have the extra money that would have gone to insurance each month, you’ll be piling on the stress by adding the fear of unknown (and uninsured) health issues down the road.
Further, there are the very real stresses of financial hardship to contend with, both physical and mental. Consider, for a moment, how you eat when you have excess money on hand. You likely opt for a variety of foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of lean meats. You may even go for pricier organic fare. As soon as you start to cut your budget, the quality of your meals will surely go down. Less expensive canned goods and frozen meals will replace the fresh ones, adding sodium, sugar, and chemical preservatives to your diet, all of which could lead to health problems.
And of course you will face no small amount of mental strain, which could lead to a whole host of issues like nervousness, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, hopelessness, and even a feeling that it would be easier to simply end it all. Even if you take steps to improve your lot, you may be held back at every turn. If you’re in the hole and your credit rating has dropped, you may only be eligible for bad credit loans to help see you through the hard times, and these will take you further into debt with high interest rates. And when you have extremely bad credit credit cards are likely out of the question. So you’re simply stuck.
But keep in mind that there is help available. You can seek out credit counseling services that will teach you how to plan a budget to get out of debt, as well as make every dollar count. As long as you’re diligent and willing to cut back and try alternatives, you can get your finances in order, start to pay down your debt, and reduce your stress level where your finances are concerned. Regardless of your situation, you need to find a way to take stress out of the equation because it will almost certainly impact your health in ways you never anticipated.