Called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, stress is no laughing matter. The negative effects of stress are wide-reaching, impacting physical, mental, emotional, and even financial well-being.
Physically, feelings of stress can bring about headaches and fatigue, while emotional distress can prompt a mood that quickly turns restless or unmotivated. Sudden behavioral changes like reduced productivity or exercising less often can also come about in response to increased anxiousness.
These stress-induced behavioral changes can negatively impact your wallet, since being thrown off your normal routine could lead to eating out more than you usually would, ignoring your carefully-crafted budget to make impulse purchases, or causing forgetfulness that leads to missed bill payments. These poor money behaviors can ultimately lead to financial strain, which 44 percent of Americans call their primary source of stress.
Employers have good cause to be worried about the consequences of a financially-stressed workforce. The stress epidemic ultimately costs the U.S. over $300 billion each year in expenses related to worker absenteeism, employee turnover, accidents, and lessened productivity. Supportive of this fact is 31 percent of stressed employees saying that money concerns hinder their ability to do their best work on the job.
Whether you’re burdened by life changes, work responsibilities, or debt and finances, engaging in regular stress-relieving activities can drastically improve your mood and overall health. And no, you don’t have to change your entire life overnight. Even if you have just five minutes a day to combat stress, a few intentional activities can go a long way to ease your mind. No need to worry about costs associated with stress-busting activities, either. There are several highly effective ways to reduce stress for no cost at all.
Take a look at the infographic below for our tips on reducing stress without placing extra burden to your wallet.
Forbes | Mayo Clinic | American Institute of Stress | American Psychological Association 1, 2 | Gallup | HuffPost | American Heart Association | NBC News | HelpGuide | Fitness Health 101 | Making Sense of Cents