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Coping with Increased Stress during Times of Inflation

Inflation. You know--the "thing" that has us feeling the pinch from significantly higher prices in the grocery store, at the gas pump and on utility bills. The end of Summer may bring cooler days but it hasn't brought relief to the higher prices of things we need in life. Talk about sticker shock when shopping for food!

Financial stress can impact mental wellness and overall daily stress. Just ask those who are living paycheck to paycheck; they know there's no room for the inflated costs of the things we use each day. Those with strict budget find themselves making difficult adjustments to make ends meet. Many wonder what things they can cut out in order to pay the bills and feed the family. The impact of inflation can leave us increasingly anxious, more stressed, easily frustrated and even powerless. Symptoms of mental illness may flare up as related to the stressors. Relationships might be tested. Sleep may be interrupted from the worry. What to do? We can't help you with the actual issues of inflation, budgeting or financial constraint, but we can provide a few rudimentary mental health suggestions to consider as we wade through these tough economic times. 

How do I know when I should worry about my stress? It's true we all have stress. After all, life is stressful!  There is good stress and not-so-good stress. A few signs that suggest you might be struggling with the not-so-good stress include (but are not limited to):

  • Change in sleep patterns (can't fall asleep, can't stay asleep, sleeping all the time--not your norm)
  • Change in appetite (eating more or less--not your norm)
  • Decreased performance in school or at work
  • Noticeable increased sadness, worry, anger and/or distraction
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless
  • Suicidal thoughts 

When symptoms escalate, it's time to evaluate what's going on. Noticing changes in mental wellness doesn't mean you need professional treatment. Reflecting on the symptoms of stress and considering skills to lower your stress might be beneficial. Talking to a friend, family member, clergy or professional is a great way to take stock of how financial stress is impacting your life. It may be difficult, but now is the time to be honest with your partner, support system--and, yourself! Talk about your financial concerns. Make a plan. Do what you can. Figure out what is in and isn't in your control. Support each other as best you can.

How can I bust that stress I'm feeling? There are so many positive ways to bust stress. Making definitive stress-busting suggestions is difficult--after all, what works for you might not work for me. Do what works for YOU! Healthy stress busting choices are very personal. For instance, meditation and relaxation works for some, but not for others. Exercise might bring great relief or more anxiety. Drawing may be stressful or enjoyable. Take time to figure out what busts stress for you. It doesn't have to cost you money to employ health coping skills. After all, singing in the shower, pulling weeds and binge-watching a favorite streaming service can be helpful for some but of no interest or help to others. We can't stress enough to do what works for you!

When those stress busters aren't "enough," seek help and find support. There's no time like the present to ask for help and reach out for support. Seeking support does not make you weak--it shows strength!

  • If you need finding help and resources, call 211. It's free, it's available around the clock and it's there to help you! 
  • If you are suicidal, call 988, the Suicide and Crisis Life Line. The free 24-hour hotline has professionals ready to help you. Please call.
  • If you are in treatment for mental health and can't afford your bill, medication or services, say something to your provider. If you don't ask, they can't help you.
  • If you notice your mental health symptoms are worsening, tell someone. Let others help you address those escalating symptoms.
  • If you are receiving mental health treatment but notice a difference in your overall daily functioning, alert your provider. 
  • If you feel hopeless, helpless and/or powerless, reach out before things spin out of control. Remember 988. That's all you have to dial.. It's not too late and you are so worth the cal


Who can help me? Rockford has countless agencies and organizations who want to help you--for free or minimal cost. For instance, (in no particular order, within a very limited scope):
Food insecurity: Rock River Valley Pantry
Domestic Violence Assistance: Remedies, Peace Center 
Sexual Assault Counseling: Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling
Older Adult Services: Lifescape Community Services
Outpatient Counseling: Stepping Stones of Rockford
Drug and Alcohol support: Alcoholics Anonymous (Google to find local meeting information)

Stress is a "normal" part of life (whatever normal is!). Busting stress and using healthy coping skills won't change the prices at the grocery store, but taking action during times of inflation's financial stressors can make all the difference in the world. Here's to you. Here's to us!

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                         Stepping Stones of Rockford, Inc.                     

Residential and Supported Services          Outpatient Counseling Center      
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Rockford, IL 61103                                         Rockford, IL 61107
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