How to cope with stress through shutdown, financial uncertainty

WASHINGTON — For those dealing with unexpected financial setbacks due to the partial government shutdown, there’s a lot of uncertainty, which may lead to heightened levels of stress.

According to the American Psychological Association, more than a third of Americans say unexpected expenses are a source of stress when it comes to finances. Learning to cope by keeping up with your mental and physical health should be a priority.

Dr. Vaile Wright with the APA says the stress of financial hardships with no end in sight could have emotional and physical impacts.

“That could include things like increased heart palpitations, stomachaches, tension and problems with sleeping or eating,” Wright said. “Emotional symptoms may include getting irritable with others, feeling sad or anxious.”

These are signs from your body that it’s time to start engaging in healthy coping skills, like maintaining routines as if it were a normal workweek to keep a sense of order. Staying active and social should also be a priority.

While these steps won’t stop the shutdown, they do help promote a sense of normalcy. “Being able to cope with the stress will then enable people to be more effective problem solvers and then you can figure out how to get yourself through this period of time,” Wright said.

If the uncertainty becomes overwhelming, Dr. Wright says it may be time to seek out professional help. You can find more information on the APA’s website.

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