How does one preserve their mental health while experiencing an economic downturn? Dr. Yewande Olamide is a physician, mental health advocate, financial literacy educator, and speaker with whom I had the pleasure of speaking.
Yewande was an ER physician for 10 years until she took a break from being burnt out, which ushered her into a season of rediscovery. She finally found herself all over again. She started introducing empathy to her daily routine as an ER doctor, which somehow helped her patients but was also fulfilling for her. She then decided to become a therapist; the journey has been incredible.
Money remains the top stressor for Canadians despite just surviving a pandemic. I wanted to find out how one can stay happy while dealing with their finances this season.
Dr. Yewande shared that financial stressors often come as a disguise and that there’s a lot of shame or stigma around that subject matter. We live in an economic society, and it is no surprise that people have many identities wrapped around money. Often, the symptoms are lack of sleep, worry, anxiety stemming from uncertainty, etc. Dealing with the thoughts and the practicality of the issue is one of the ways she handles patients in this category. We need to dig deeper to identify where the real problem stems from and switch our mindset to a more optimistic thought process.
Debt is a significant stressor for many people, from car debts to mortgages to unpaid taxes. It just causes an emotional burden that weighs them down. Another one is living paycheque to paycheque. Most people are worried about affording food, which tends to affect their mental health because living costs are the expenses that are most in your face.
Dr. Yewande noticed that things seemed much better regarding people being more at peace with their finances, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, when people could save more. Now that things are opening up, uncertainty and unrest are back, and inflation is not helping matters.
The best way to face these uncertain times is by facing these worries head-on and finding a safe group of people you can trust who are non-judgemental. People with whom you can share these issues so you can unburden yourself. This helps us get a different perspective from someone we trust or think is in a better place to dispense advice. Another thing is to educate yourself as ‘not knowing’ is a big source of fear and anxiety. Financial literacy is underrated. The final tip is to plan and determine our next steps. Is it a new job? Budgeting? Putting money aside for our set goals? Cut back on unnecessary expenses? Planning is essential and significantly impacts one’s journey to becoming financially secure and mentally free.
Finally, a community can be helpful. Many Facebook groups allow you to share anonymously and could be a valuable source of support. Try not to make big decisions from fear or pressure. When there is panic, take a step back and try to bring in some logic to find a balance.
If you want to connect with Dr. Yewande, you can reach her on Instagram at @dr.yewande and on LinkedIn – Dr. Yewande Olamide. She is also the host of the podcast called “Happy Without Medicine.”
Team Jackie Porter offers a 30mins free consultation for people who need help planning their finances. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org