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How to cope with money worries

Feeling low or anxious is a normal response when you've been made redundant or are struggling with debt.

You may be feeling, behaving or thinking in ways that are unfamiliar. But that doesn't necessarily mean you're suffering from depression or an anxiety disorder.

How to survive financial stress

David Richards, professor of mental health services research at the University of Exeter, shares his top tips for coping with feeling low or anxious because of money worries.

Stay active

Keep seeing your friends, keep your CV up to date and try to keep paying the bills. If you have more time because you're not at work, take up some form of exercise – it can improve your mood if you're feeling low.

See Get fit for free for ideas on how to exercise without spending any money. You can also search for exercise classes and sports clubs close to where you live.

Face your fears

For example, if it looks like you're going into debt, get advice on how to prioritise your debts. When people feel anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to others. Some people can lose their confidence about driving or travelling. If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will generally make them easier.

Don't drink too much alcohol

For some people with money worries, alcohol can become a problem. You may drink more than usual as a way of dealing with your emotions or just to fill time. But alcohol won't help you deal with your problems and could add to your stress.

Get tips on how to cut down on alcohol.

Don't lose your daily routine

Get up at your normal time and stick to your routine. If you lose your routine, it can also affect your eating: you may stop cooking, miss breakfast because you're still in bed or eat snacks instead of having proper meals.

For tips on healthy eating, see our food and diet section.

More help for money problems

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice is a good place to get information about benefits, how to deal with debt, what you're entitled to if you're made redundant and who to speak to if you're at risk of losing your home.


GOV.UK has sections on:

Finding a new job

The jobseekers section on GOV.UK provides lots of advice for people looking for work, including tips on writing a CV, planning your job hunt and applying for jobs online.

Staying healthy on a budget

You can find lots of ideas for exercising and healthy eating on a budget in our fitness and food and diet sections.

Coping with debt

Citizens Advice has lots of information on help with debt.

Other useful organisations include:

Mental health and money

The charity Mind has a money and mental health section on its website, which includes advice on how to manage debt.

Mental Health & Money Advice has information and advice for anyone struggling with money because of mental illness or whose financial situation is affecting their mental health.

When should you get medical help?

Most people who experience emotional distress will pick themselves up after a few days or weeks and then feel able to tackle challenges, such as finding a new job.

See your GP if you're still feeling worried, anxious or low after a few weeks. If you think it will help, your GP can advise you about psychological therapy services in your area.

You can also refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service near you.

Seek help immediately if you really can't cope, if life is becoming very difficult or if you feel it isn't worth living.

Either see your GP or contact a helpline such as Samaritans (call free on 116 123) for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.

See more mental health helplines.

Page last reviewed: 11 April 2017
Next review due: 11 April 2020