Do you feel stressed? If you do, you are not alone. Poll after poll shows that somewhere between 75% – 80% of all American Adults are stressed. The top three stressors: money, relationships, and work – in that order.
Many employers are recognizing the effect that stress has on their employees in the workplace and trying to do something about it. Your employer may offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers short term mental health counseling for you and your family members. That can be really helpful for workplace stress and relationship issues, but where do you turn if your stress is money related?
In 2018, 83% of employers (according to SHRM) also offered financial wellness programs in the workplace because they understand the impact financial stress has on their employees’ health and productivity. If your employer offers this service, take advantage of it! Here’s a few reasons why you should.
Stress doesn’t just make you feel anxious and it’s not a harmless feeling that comes and goes. Stress has real-life consequences on your mental and physical health, such as:
- Increased levels of depression and anxiety
- Decreased quality of sleep
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased risk for heart attack
- Ulcers and digestive issues
If you are feeling stress due to collection calls, credit card bill payments, high student loan debt, high mortgage or rent payments, or simply worry that you won’t have to retire one day, you are not alone. If it’s keeping you up at night, causing you to check your accounts several times a day, or even making you irritable or angry, you are probably experiencing enough stress for it to affect your health.
Utilizing the financial wellness benefit offered through your employer can help you put together a plan to overcome your financial stressors, whatever they may be, especially if your employer offers one-on-one counseling sessions. Having a knowledgeable, non-judgmental guide on your side can make all the difference.
It’s hard to feel happy when you’re worried about anything, but there are few things that touch every part of your life more than money does. In fact, I challenge you now: take a minute to think of one area that isn’t affected by money. It’s okay I’ll wait…
Couldn’t come up with anything? I’m not surprised. Having provided financial counseling for over twelve years I met with many people who were discouraged by the stress, worry, and problems that money brought into their lives. This phenomenon reached across all income levels, all races, all genders, all marital statuses, and all levels of indebtedness. Money can’t buy you happiness, but if you engage in these free(ish) activities your stress levels will go down over time, increasing happiness:
- Exercise: a recent Yale and Oxford study showed that exercise makes you happier than money does, and it doesn’t even have to be that rigorous. A calming walk can do just as much good as a strenuous run, and in some cases, even more!
- Get enough sleep: lack of sleep negatively affects mood, concentration, and cognitive function, leaving you unable to get into problem-solving mode.
- Practice Mindful Meditation: pick a study, any study, about mindful meditation and you will quickly learn that research shows that mindfulness meditation leads to calmer and happier minds
- Talk to someone about your stress: whether you meet with a mental health counselor, an EAP provider, or a financial counselor talking to someone about your stressors, and making a plan for overcoming them, will bring relief that may lead to more happiness.
Your job satisfaction
A 2017 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), found that “nearly half of employees who are worried about their financial health miss work occasionally and are less productive when they are at work, spending at least three hours of work time dealing with personal financial Issues.” The study then states that for a company with 10,000 employees this translates to $3.3 million in lost productivity per year, with another $166,000 per year due to financial-related absenteeism. That’s a lot of money lost and a lot of time spent on financial-related problems!
Beyond the impact that lost productivity has on a company’s bottom line, lowered productivity can lead to compounding stress for employees: with missed deadlines, missed meetings due to “mental health” days, and a sense of dread that you may lose your job on top of everything else. I don’t know about you, but when I am less productive at work I feel less engaged, and it can turn into a loop of negative feedback – even if it’s only in my head.
If you are like 75% of Americans and are feeling stress and it’s due to finances check with your Human Resources department to see if you have a Financial Wellness program that offers one-on-one financial counseling. If not, ask if there are any plans to bring one on in the future – 14% of companies indicate they intend to offer financial wellness benefits in the upcoming years.
If your employer doesn’t offer a financial wellness program, make an appointment with an LSS Financial Counselor today. It’s free and confidential and the only thing you have to lose is stress itself! Call 888.577.2227 today to schedule your free appointment.
Author Shannon Doyle is a certified LSS Financial Counselor.