Managing your mental and financial health in the new year

2023-01-09  3 minute read

Augustine Kwok

Lifestyle Debt


The start of a new year combined with resolutions and holiday spending, often brings your financial health to the forefront. You examine your spending from the previous year, set financial goals for the new year, and develop a budget or savings plan to help you achieve them.

Your financial health is the state and stability of your personal finances, and it is an important component of your overall health. A steady flow of income, changes in expenses, strong returns on investments, a growing cash balance, and current economic conditions all contribute to the strength of your financial health.

Graphic of a rabbit with text beside saying "Happy Chinese New Year 2023"

MNP’s Consumer Debt Index shows that the financial health of many Canadians is affected by rising interest rates and persistent inflation. Compared to December 2021, more people say they’re less capable of feeding themselves and their family, (52 percent, +5pts), put money aside for savings (49 percent, +5pts), and pay for transportation (45 percent, +9pts), housing (37 percent, +2pts), and clothing or other household necessities (45 percent, +5pts). 

“Money worries are the greatest source of stress for many Canadians, more than work, personal health, and relationships,” according to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. The agency’s research shows that 48 percent of Canadians lose sleep due to financial worries and 44 percent admit it is difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay is late. These “money worries” are the result of a combination of realities such as the rising cost of household expenses, high levels of debt, living pay cheque to pay cheque, struggling to save for short and long-term goals, and emergency expenses.

How financial stress impacts your health

Financial stress can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. According to research, if you’re under financial stress, you’re twice as likely to have poor overall health, four times as likely to have sleep problems, headaches, and other illnesses and more likely to experience strains in your personal relationships. Financial stress can also lead to more serious health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

You’re not alone if you’re experiencing any of these physical or mental issues. Financial stress affects Canadians of all income levels and ages, and nearly half of working Canadians admit that stress related to personal finance has had an impact on their job performance.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

How to manage financial stress

Talk to someone

You may be able to relieve stress by simply admitting to a close friend or loved one that you are struggling with your finances and mental health, rather than keeping it bottled up and increasing your anxiety. You can start building a strong social support network by talking to the right people

See a doctor

Physical or mental health issues should never be ignored. If you notice that your physical or mental health is deteriorating, or that your sleeping patterns, eating habits, and energy levels are changing negatively, it is critical that you seek help.

Consult a mental health professional

If you’re feeling hopeless, depressed, or anxious to the point where it’s interfering with your life, you should actively seek professional help. In Ontario, you can contact ConnexOntario Helpline to speak with a counsellor either in person, over the phone or via web chat.

Make an action plan

You can regain control of your finances by taking deliberate action. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a budget planner that allows you to tailor your budget to your specific needs. It also provides budget management tips, guidelines, and alerts.

Speak with a credit counsellor

Contacting a credit counsellor allows you to receive help in developing a budget that is in line with your goals. You will also receive financial advice that is unique to your situation as well as guidance in creating an action plan.

Speak with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT)

How should you handle collection calls from creditors? Are you looking for ways to pay off high interest credit card debt? An LIT is a licensed professional who is bounded by the law to provide accurate and unbiased debt advice. An LIT will also assess your situation, identify, and discuss all options available to you in resolving financial difficulties.

How MNP can help

Understanding the link between debt and your physical and mental health is an important step towards a happier, debt-free future. The MNP Debt Scale will assist in understanding how debt is impacting your financial health. The tool is quick, easy to use, and completely confidential. It can help determine where you’re struggling and what you can do to improve your situation.

If the Debt Scale confirms you may be struggling, our Licensed Insolvency Trustees are always available for a Free Confidential Consultation. Together we’ll review your entire financial situation and discuss all the available options to help you begin moving in the right direction.

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