When you’re fighting off depression, it’s hard to get a grasp on even the basic things that you need. When I go through my depressive states, the thing that I struggle with the most is fighting an impulse to overspend. It’s easy to look for material things to fill a void, however, even in my darkest hour, I tend to fight off that little voice that tells me “no” and just bounce right into getting an item that I don’t need.

I have a few examples that I think most of you can relate to:

#1 Culprit: Food

When I get depressed, food takes the first hit. I lack the energy to even think of what I want to eat, let alone get up to prepare and make it. Even though I will have all the things I need at home to make myself a decent (and also cheap!) meal, I will find solace in getting take out or junk food. Pizza is a good example here, I usually make a great homemade one on the weekends with my husband for roughly 8$, but if I’m in one of these states, you can see me spending at least 50$ on the same amount of food, delivery & tip. The worst part about this type of expenditures is that they make me feel worse, both physically and emotionally – yet, I continue to do it. It’s a vicious cycle.

#2 Hair & Makeup

I’ve gotten better at this section over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll have a slip up once in a while. The thing that I do the most to make myself feel better is to change my appearance. Nothing drastic, a little trim, darker colour, new shade of lipstick, etc.
The only issue is, I don’t get these things cheap in the slightest. My hair alone will cost me roughly 200$ a pop whenever I decide to go to the salon, so, I’ve tried to keep this down to a minimum of once or twice a year. Back when I was struggling as a newcomer in Ontario, I would be in the salon every 2-3 months and watch my money disappear as I tried to find happiness in a hair colour. Being a retired makeup artist also has its problems, I always want the latest and greatest and try to validate my purchases every time I find the new trend. Even though I’m clearly out of business, I still find the need to be “in” with it and will pour my money into makeup that I will use maybe once and watch it dry out as the year goes on.

#3 Gifts for Others

Even when I have only 10$ in my account, my immediate thought will be “oh, maybe I should get something for my husband.” When I get gifts for other people, it’s because I think that their happiness will brush off on me and I’ll be equally as happy. The funny thing is, I never am. I can spend up to 200$ on a person, thinking that this tangible thing will make the both of us happy but it’s only a façade and will last maybe a day (or two, if I’m lucky)
I also include Donations in this category too, if someone needs 20$ or 50$ for a cause that they’re supporting, I try my best to donate as much as I can towards it, even if I don’t have the money. My thought process is, “but it’s for a good cause!” even though my bank account always hurts in the end.

Of course, these examples are more geared towards me, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t flood over into other impulse spends like a pair of designer shoes, another video game to add to the ever growing pile, etc. What I’m trying to get across is that you’re not alone in this. Don’t ignore these problems and please don’t feel shame in saying that you are struggling with your mental health OR your finances. Being in debt, broke or just overall unemployed can lead to a worse depression or even a meltdown, so taking steps to avoid being in this situation is key. It’s important to remember that there is always help around the corner.

The number one thing that I’ve done to help combat against my financial struggles is keeping a budget. I got my parents to help me with categorizing and also a spreadsheet from my local bank to help track where everything goes. I’m currently on my third year of doing this, and I have to admit how eye-opening it’s been – I still slip up from time to time, and I think that’s normal for anyone in my situation, however, I’m on the correct path and just knowing that helps aid in my depressive states.

If you’re still wondering how to overcome your Finances, check out my article from last year

One of the biggest hurdles that most people get anxious about is their finances. Just the stress alone could be debilitating, and it might even feel impossible to overcome.  I have struggled with finances for a good chunk of my life, and for the longest time I blamed my guardians for not teaching me the right way – but now as I look back I realize that they too did not have the best grasp on it as well.

So, how can we cope will financial anxiety?

  • Set a budget and check in with yourself regularly
    A budget is one of the hardest things that you’ll have to do because you cannot lie to yourself here. You need to make sure that all coffees, muffins, hair appointments, etc. are captured. Once you have an understanding of your wants/needs, you will be able to prioritize what is important to you.
  • Assess how you react to spending
    Start paying attention to how you react whenever you (or your family) is spending money. Do you overspend to compensate for the discomfort? If you start to become aware of how you feel during each financial situation, you’ll be able to make better and logical decisions.
  • Saving
    Most people feel as if they cannot save any money due to their debt. It doesn’t matter how big your debt is; people will still stress and over think about it because it’s a constant worry that you’re not saving enough or putting enough down. As long as you’re putting money down towards your debt, it’s not lost money.
  • Reward Yourself
    I’m not saying to go out and spend a frivolous amount of money on yourself at the end of each month, but don’t punish yourself either! One of the rewards that I give myself is coffee – even though I make it every day at home, I still like to frequent a local coffee shop to sit and enjoy their brew.
  • Power of Touch
    You would be surprised how much physical touch can help anyone. Even a small exchange of a hug can help reduce stress by up to 30%. My husband and I like to offer each other massages a few times a month to alleviate any type of stress that we might have, and I highly encourage getting a hug from a loved one whenever things get too overwhelming. If for some reason you cannot find anyone to exchange a hug with, sweat it out!

If you still find that you’re anxious about your situation, there is no shame in seeking out a financial advisor. There is no purpose to staying up at night and worrying about your finances – nothing will magically appear or disappear. You need to learn how to calm your mind and gain more confidence!