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Hilal Her

How Inflated is the Cost of Your Mental Health

December 2022

Inflation is a silent killer. It slowly creeps up on you, and before you know it, it has already taken over your life. It’s not just about the money; it is about the stress of making ends meet. In Pakistan, women are disproportionately affected by inflation because they are generally not financially independent. Inflation has affected people across the globe. Loss of jobs, downfall of businesses, and an air of uncertainty have increased the anxiety of people, especially after the pandemic. However, experts indicate that women are more affected by inflation than men.
Gender roles in society have played a significant role in women being more affected by inflation than men. Women usually manage home finances, buy groceries, etc. They are directly exposed to price hike and the resultant stress. When a woman is grocery shopping and finds an otherwise affordable vegetable to be as expensive as meat, she may get worried and stressed out. 
The pandemic has left people with financial insecurity that the world is still trying to overcome. Women are usually paid less as compared to men all over the world, and the increasing cost of living is definitely a contributing factor for them to feel more stressed. A housewife is usually provided with a limited amount of money to manage finances. With this limitation and increasing prices of basic living, it is challenging for them to maintain the standard of living, even making ends meet. Financial difficulties are a significant factor in the mental health deterioration of women, especially those belonging to the low-income strata. Working women are also deeply affected by the growing inflation. Even when they are earning money, there is a clear and established imbalance in the pay of men and women, with women being paid less for the same job. This contributes to inflation hitting them harder. Also, the pressures of work and maintaining the home can multiply their stress. This necessitates adopting effective coping mechanisms to preserve one’s peace. Some of such mechanisms outlined here could certainly help maintain mental wellbeing of women in the times of high inflation.
Plan Ahead
You can set up a budget in order to manage the pressure of inflation. You can plan when buying items that you need, such as groceries. This strategy will ensure that you spend wisely and avoid any financial emergencies that could arise in the future.
Decide About Necessity Vs. Luxury 
Sometimes, we need to be more mindful of what we want than what we need. It is crucial to identify your necessities and cut down on the wants that can be expensive. This helps you to be less stressed and pave the way for financial security.
Prioritize Yourself
Women should take care of themselves by getting enough sleep, eating healthy food and exercising regularly. These may sound like simple steps, but you can choose to prioritize yourself during challenging times. Taking care of yourself will only help you to be more grounded and focused on dealing with life’s everyday challenges, including inflation. 
Focus Your Energy On the Doable 
Constantly obsessing on things that we have little control over can be draining. Taking inflation into account, if you are just focusing on how the prices are going up and paying less attention to what you can do about it, you might feel helpless. Try telling yourself how you can accept that it is challenging and stressful. Simultaneously, you can choose to find ways of combating it. It will help you to become more proactive and alleviate the stress from your mind.
Find Avenues to Improve Your Finances 
In today’s digitalized world, it has become easier to showcase your talents and use your skills for an improved income. Have you ever asked yourself what skills you have that are not being utilized by you to earn extra? If not, there is still time to ask yourself and list down all the things you are passionate about and see how you can channel that into becoming financially independent. 
Be Grateful 
Gratitude may seem impossible to achieve when the going gets tough. However, when you feel beaten up, gratitude can be your guiding light. Remember to ask yourself every day: “What is it that I am grateful for right now?” It could be as little as a smile you received from a colleague, or your ability of breathing in free air. It will help you to stay positive and gives you energy to go up against the odds. Remembering that will help you stay grounded and deal with the challenges of life with an upbeat attitude. HH

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