The cost of living crisis is the phrase on everyone’s lips at the moment, and it’s no surprise. With food prices soaring, energy prices in chaos, and petrol still too high, many people aren’t sure how their income can keep up.
As people continue to struggle with the cost of living in the UK, so too does their mental health. And when you think about the issues facing many of the UK population, it’s understandable. People want to know how they’ll heat their homes, feed their children, and pay their bills. They want to know how they’re going to get through this. All of these worries and concerns amount to a huge pressure that means we’re not just facing a cost of living crisis, but a mental health crisis, too.
So, what can you do to avoid burnout? How can you tackle the cost of living impact on your mental health?
Five Tips to Destress
Mental health awareness is important, but it can often fall by the wayside for people who lead busy lives. But stress has a habit of creeping up on you and then digging its heels in and sticking firmly around. Once settled, it can be hard to shift, so it’s important to check-in regularly with how you're feeling. If you notice a rise in your stress and anxiety whether it’s to do with the cost of living crisis or not, take some time to destress. Here are our top five methods to take the edge off those stress levels.
Whether it’s on an app, in a group, or just on your own, meditation is seriously beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing. According to The Good Body, people who meditate can reduce their chance of ending up in hospital with coronary heart disease by 87%. Meditation reduces stress, anxiety and depression, and between 200-500 million people meditate worldwide. You could try downloading the most popular meditation app, Calm, or try a 10-minute guided breathing meditation like this one.
Yes, it’s probably one of the simplest things you can do, but going for a walk is something many of us neglect to do on a daily basis. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, if you can fit in some downtime to just walk, breathe, and think, your body and mind will benefit. According to an article in The Guardian, the UK saves £185 million in mental health costs thanks to woodland walks. Trees on streets are beneficial too, so if you live in a city, don’t worry – you can still give yourself a little mental health support just by walking along a street planted with trees.
Most of us will have heard the old saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine’ - but did you know, it’s based on fact? Laughter is responsible for stimulating circulation and easing muscle tension – both of which can help soothe our body’s physical response to stress. If you don’t have any particularly funny friends, or you’ve finished the latest sitcom boxset, don’t worry – why not try Laughter Yoga instead? You can access online videos like this one, or see if there’s a Laughter Yoga club near you.
Detox from Tech
It’s no good doom-scrolling about the cost of living impact on health, as spending too much time on tech doesn’t help when it comes to easing stress. Instead, why not turn your phone off for the day? Take a break from its incessant beeps and calls for attention. Put it in a drawer, get out on a walk to a woodland, and give your phone (and your head) some serious time out.
Diet is so important when it comes to treating stress, but it can be one of the hardest things to deal with. When we’re stressed, we have a habit of reaching for sugary, convenient foods, snacking between meals, and often eating too much. Try not to succumb to these habits, or if you know you already have, stop now and try again. Good foods to eat when stressed include -
- Fatty fish
- Dark chocolate
- Wholegrain carbohydrates
According to experts, a Mediterranean diet is best for easing stress, so picture yourself on a beach on the Italian Riviera and embrace foods that will help soothe stress.
Cost of Living Support
If you are seriously struggling with how you’ll survive during this cost of living crisis, there is cost of living support available should you need it. The Government website has details of support available. Here you’ll find information relating to -
- Income and disability benefits
- Bills and Allowances
There is also information available to you at The Citizens Advice website here.
Remember, if you’re feeling stressed, it’s best not to bottle it up inside. Talk to a friend, a family member, a work colleague. Often, just the act of talking about your worries can help them seem much more solvable than if you keep them locked up inside you. Here’s hoping the cost of living crisis is over soon and everything looks a lot more positive shortly.
November 2, 2022