How High Prices May be Affecting Your Health | Whittier, CA | PIH Health

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Published on August 11, 2022

How High Prices May be Affecting Your Health

Cash bills being counted by handDoes the rising cost of gas, groceries and almost everything stress you out?

If you’re feeling stressed by the ever-rising cost of living these days, you’re certainly not alone. Many people are feeling the pinch and are worried that there’s no end in sight to rising prices.

Financial stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health, relationships and overall quality of life. It can impact your sleep, self-esteem and energy levels. It can even increase your risk of depression and anxiety. What makes financial stress so difficult to manage is that it relates to everyday activities you can’t ignore, such as grocery shopping, paying rent and going to the doctor.

While the source of financial stress may be unavoidable in our current economic climate, there are things you can do to take control of your financial situation. Doing so may reduce stress and improve your mental health. Here are 3 ways to ease the strain:

  • Track spending: Keep a tally of daily spending in a notebook or on your phone so that you can get a better understanding on where your money is going. Then use this information to create a realistic budget.
  • Create a buffer: Designate a percentage of each paycheck to automatically go into a savings account. By doing this, you’ll have money set aside to pay for unexpected expenses.
  • Pay off credit cards: Don’t get stuck paying loads of interest while never paying off your credit card balance. Instead, move the balance to a low interest card and set up a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible.

The tips above help keep stress at bay because they give you more control over your finances. But they won’t stop prices from continuing to rise. The fact is that you may need to find new ways to cut back on spending, such as:

  • Pay with cash: If you need to buy something, only bring as much cash as you need to make your purchase. This prevents you from impulse buying.
  • Designate a weekly “no spend” day: Commit to not spending any money at least once a week. Brew coffee at home or eat leftovers for lunch. You may learn to not even miss those indulgences!
  • Leave items in your cart: When shopping online, wait until the next day to check out to see if you still really need to buy what’s in your cart.
  • Combine errands: With soaring gas prices, map out a plan to do your errands in one trip to cut down on driving.
  • Socialize at home: Instead of going out, have potluck gatherings. You’ll enjoy the evening more when you don’t end the night with a big bill!

Everyone deals with financial stress in their own way. Unfortunately, some people turn to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, gambling or emotional eating when stressed, but these habits only make things worse. “Controlling what you can helps ease stress. Meditation and exercise are also excellent stress relievers. Talking about how you’re feeling to people you trust or a professional can also help improve your mental health,” says Elisabeth D. Brown MD, PIH Health Family Medicine provider.

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