Financial Stress: How Can You Cope? What Impact Does It Have On Your Work?

Last updated by Rosie Harlow

This weekend, I buried my head in the sand. On Monday, the reality is there: in my fridge, a piece of cheese is keeping 3 eggs company, on my desk two invoices are staring me in the face, and at the end of the phone the garage mechanic tells me he’s going to repair my car for $2000. It’s the end of the month, and I’m broke, yet I have to put on a brave face at work. It’s going to be tense!

Financial Stress: How Can You Cope? What Impact Does It Have On Your Work?

Financial stress: When money makes you sick

We’ve all experienced stress, and apparently financial stress too. Indeed, in 2021, a report showed that one in two people were experiencing stress at the end of the month 😒. For many of us, financial worries are at the top of our list of concerns. However, depending on each person’s story, this financial stress has various natures, it can be linked to:

  • economic uncertainty
  • an accident
  • an unexpected expense
  • the cost of living
  • a low salary
  • credit repayments
  • worries about your future retirement pension
  • or even anger at the displays of luxurious lifestyles on social media.

👉 To sum up, anything to do with money that generates feelings of stress is financial stress.

Money and stress, are a toxic duo

You know what they say about cholesterol? The good... the bad... well, with stress, it’s almost the same thing. At a manageable level and depending on the circumstances, stress can be useful. It can encourage us to run away from a delicate or dangerous situation, or on the contrary, it can motivate us and spur us into action. The problem with financial stress is that it’s inevitably toxic because it affects our health.

Money’s everywhere 💶 it’s an integral part of our lives. So it’s impossible not to think about it, it ruins our mental state. Money-related stress, therefore, leads to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depressive disorders or even suicidal thoughts. If we go into even more detail, lack of money causes problems with sleep, self-esteem, and self-fulfillment, drug addiction, reduces our optimism and plunges us into despair. Add to this the fact that stress, when it becomes chronic, is a source of physical illnesses such as a weakened immune system, and diabetes and increases the risk of strokes and heart disease.

Financial anxiety at work, loss of productivity?

I remember perfectly that moment when I turned off the radio as I arrived at work. I turned it off just as the words “inflation” and “falling spending power” were being uttered. Likewise, I started thinking about the previous day’s shopping, the gas tank I’d inevitably have to fill up, the folded energy bill, nice and warm (it was!) at the bottom of my bag. I also thought about the Easter vacation, which will be spent on my balcony, the wallpaper peeling off in the living room and my pipe dream house project. 🤯 I’m feeling a bit sick to my stomach!

I wish that when I opened my computer screen to get down to work, all those doubts, anxieties and frustrations would just go away, but no! Here I am, at work, at the very source of my income, where I earn my money, and all I can think about is the money I don’t have, the money I’m missing. Financial worries, whatever their source, don’t rest, and they don’t stay at home while you go about your life. They stay with us everywhere, including at work, and that’s a problem for everyone.

Financial stress = loss of productivity

Obviously, money-related stress distracts us from our work. Knowing what you can and can’t pay for or buy, finding how to limit your spending or how to pay less or even how to increase your income, is a nagging mental burden that swallows up your mind from night to morning.

A Canadian study has shown that financial stress can cause employees to lose up to three weeks of productivity per year.

Inflation makes workers poorer and less effective at their jobs. They also lose motivation, confidence and a sense of belonging to their company. In short, everyone loses out, and companies have every interest in proposing solutions to counter the financial stress of their employees.

How to manage financial stress?

Money problems always seem unsolvable. However, there are a few solutions to help reduce your financial stress and perhaps even your money worries. While some can be adopted on an individual basis, others could wisely be put in place by companies to help their staff in difficulty.

1. Focus on stress-reducing activities

Let’s start reducing stress gently by letting it go. To do this, breathing exercises, relaxation, laughter, sport or a siesta can all help to release tension. Companies, for their part, can offer their teams moments of relaxation (and cohesion) to help get them out of a state of stress.

2. Following a course to manage your budget better

Then it’s time to face up to your financial worries. If you feel overwhelmed, you can ask a friend, banker or credit adviser to help you learn how to manage your budget. Here too, your company can also choose to set up training courses to learn how to manage a personal budget. This training can be part of a strategy to prevent employees from feeling unwell.

3. Thinking about an advanced payment of your salary

You may not be aware of this, but employment law allows employees to request an advanced payment of their salary. Faced with an unforeseen and/or urgent expense, an employee can benefit from the advance payment of days already worked during the current month (as opposed to an advance on their salary).

4. Get therapy

If financial stress is making you ill, you may need to consult a therapist. This is a good way of getting rid of the frustration and anger generated by the lack of money and also of treating anxiety, anguish and symptoms of depression. And don’t hesitate to talk to your work doctor too. A company that detects financial stress among its employees should also be able to offer support.

🤔 You may be interested in this article: What are the 5 symptoms of anxiety?

Finally, both the company and you personally, think about all the initiatives that can help you make savings or find new resources (car-sharing, renting instead of buying, buying second-hand, exchanging or sharing discount vouchers, and other money-saving tricks. And don’t forget to take the time to find out about any government grants you might be eligible for).

In the end, it’s not all that easy to deal with financial stress at work. Money problems are a headache, but by raising awareness of this issue, companies can help employees reduce their stress and deal (at least in part) with their money worries. It’s a win-win situation, at least in terms of peace of mind!

Editor’s note: A major stress not to be underestimated

Financial stress is a major source of stress, how can you concentrate on your work when you know there’s a huge bill waiting for you that you can’t pay? That there’s no solution other than winning the lottery? This unsolvable situation inevitably occupies a large part of our thoughts, so talk about it. Colleagues, friends, family, or a psychologist, express your anger and frustration because everything we don’t say leaves a mark on us...

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Rosie Harlow

Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. For as long as I can remember, I have always used paper as a punching bag. Get to know me, I am Rosie Harlow.

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Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


  1. Only LoveBen Howard
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
  4. Beautiful DayU2
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde

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