Person counting money in financial stress

Financial Stress and Anxiety

If you’ve watched the news recently or been to a grocery store in the last year, you’ll know that the economy in 2024 had many headwinds and challenges. Gas prices are high, lettuce is expensive and layoffs are happening across the country. Canadians are experiencing financial woes and financial stress can have a significant impact on our well being.

Financial stress impacts working Canadians at all income levels and across all age groups. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada survey recently found that: 

  • 48% of Canadians say they’ve lost sleep because of financial worries
  • 44% of Canadians say it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay was late

Sources of financial stress can range from managing household expenses, dealing with debt, living pay cheque to pay cheque, challenges saving money and dealing with unexpected expenses or emergencies. This type of financial stress can create anxiety and it’s important to be able to identify this anxiety and have a strategy in place for how to deal with it. 

What are the signs of anxiety you should watch out for? 

  • Physical symptoms can include: headaches, aches and pains, digestive issues, heart palpitations, trouble sleeping etc.
  • Giving up work life balance: feeling like you have to work more or longer hours whether that results in more income or not
  • Avoidance: putting your bills out of sight for too long in hopes that they just go away
  • Negative thinking or rumination: jumping to conclusions and thinking about the worst case scenario or letting your financial difficulties take up all of the real estate in your mind whether you are at home, work or on vacation
  • Using unhealthy coping mechanisms: turning to drugs, alcohol or junk food. These mechanisms can actually contribute to further and deeper financial stress. 

If you find you are experiencing any of the above signs of anxiety, here are some things you can do immediately to ensure you can get a handle on your anxiety:

  • Make a budget:  This can help you identify where your money is going each month and might help you identify costs you can cut or lower. This can also help you make sure you have enough money to meet your financial obligations. 
  • Box Breathing or 4x4x4 Breathing:  This is a deep breathing technique to help slow down your breath and calm your nervous system. Here’s how it works:
    • Breathe in and count to four slowly. Notice and feel the air filling your lungs
    • Hold your breath for four seconds; avoid inhaling or exhaling during this time
    • Slowly exhale through your most for four second
    • Repeat until you feel calm
  • Exercise:  This has been proven to help manage anxiety and depression and many different forms of exercise can be beneficial for grounding. Yoga, walking and Tai Chi are some examples. Read more about Exercise and Anxiety
  • Talk to a Financial Advisor: Financial advisors can help in many ways, from advice on restructuring debt to saving for retirement.

If you find it difficult to identify your anxiety or feel that you can’t do it alone, it might be time to reach out to a counsellor for guidance or treatment. 

How to find a Stress or Anxiety Counsellor in BC

At Waypoint Counselling Network, we know finding the right therapist is the most important step in seeking help. We will help match you to the right couples counsellor in Victoria, Vancouver, Burnaby, Kelowna or online anywhere in BC.  All of our counsellors offer online counselling via phone or video and some offer in-person sessions. 

At Waypoint, we will connect you with the right help at the right time. Fill out our matching questionnaire here or call: 778-535-4518.