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Expert tips on managing workplace and financial stress - A Breaking the Stigma special

Managing workplace and financial stress | Breaking the Stigma
Managing workplace and financial stress | Breaking the Stigma 22:58

NEW YORK -- In some cases, experts say stress can help keep you sharp and motivated. But over an extended period of time, it may affect your health, job performance, and even your ability to manage your finances. 

Last year, 77% of workers reported experiencing work-related stress in a one-month period, according to the American Psychological Association. Similarly, 72% of Americans said they felt stressed about money.

Workplace stress concerns

"When people are stressed at home, and they're stressed with their kids, then it creates more stress on them at the workplace ... They're reactive. They're irritable. They're not performing as well," said Dr. Frank Anderson, a psycotherapist. "It's just this vicious cycle."

"Workplaces have an obligation to take care of their employees, not just as employees, but as human beings who show up. Because untreated anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress that's been chronic can affect productivity, can affect team communication," Dr. Jonathan Depierro, associate professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "And it's a big, pretty strong contributor to turnover."   

Studies have shown that just having access to nature really can help a person decompress and lower their stress during the day. 

Financial stress can lead to significant impacts

The "bottom line" is something that also impacts just about all of us: Money, no matter how much or little we have. Financial stress is real and can lead to significant impacts on our physical and mental health, work performance and personal relationships.   

"Money doesn't really care who you are. It doesn't care what the color of your skin is, or how much money you make, or how little money you make, where you come from. We all have to deal with money issues, it does not matter," financial therapist Aja Evans said. 

Experts agree, financial stress can have a direct impact on mental and physical health, saying it can lead to abuse of drugs or alcohol, poor sleep, and increase the risk of depression and anxiety.  

"One of the things that I see a lot ... is shame. People feel so shameful about what they have done with their money, what they didn't do with their money, why didn't I know? And they isolate, and they decide, I don't want anybody to know this about me. So I'm not going to open my mail, I'm not going to have these conversations," Evans said. 

Experts say talking to others is critical. It can lead to finding help, getting answers and setting you on a path to right your financial ship. They say reach out to friends and family. Sometimes, even workplaces offer loans or grants to employees in need. 

Stress is a fact of life

So often there is overlap in the stress we face everyday. That can spill over to home, impacting relationships and even how we live our lives. Financial stress can affect critical decisions about having enough money for housing, utilities and food, and leave us on edge about the affordability of everyday life. All of this can also lead to more urgent issues surrounding mental health

"It can have a cumulative effect," Depierro  said. "It can have a multiplicative effect. So one stressor on top of another isn't just two plus two, but can really amplify."

Experts say additional stresses can sometimes spiral into issues with depression, alcoholism, addiction and even thoughts of suicide.

Managing stress

Change can be hard and scary, but it has to start with you. Use the workplace mental and physical health resources that are available. Reach out to the people who care about you, speak to a manager honestly about your workload. Check for free or low cost therapy online.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. Find a minute or two - or 10 - to decompress and breathe.  

The same goes for finances. Make a budget and stick to it. Save $5, or whatever you can, every week.  

If you can do some of these things, you may leave some stress behind and put yourself on a path to workplace and financial wellness.

For much more on all of this, please watch our special report "Breaking the Stigma: Managing Workplace & Financial Stress" in the video above. 

Resources to help manage stress

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