How to stay mentally and physically healthy when money is an issue

While some people simply go to the store and get whatever is missing in their household without a second thought, others work with what they got because they are trapped in the poverty loophole.

Poverty could happen to anyone. It could be because of divorce, or loss of work. It could be because of sickness, trauma or immigration. It is easy for those who are well off to judge the poor but what people, in general, don’t know,

is that society today, keeps the poor in a poverty loop that takes surreal amount of effort and work to get out of.

When you are poor, it’s extra hard to go to school (or continue your education). It’s extra hard to get a job if you can’t pay your cellphone bill or maintain your car. It’s extra hard to stay fit, be in good shape, eat healthy and have the energy to keep pushing. It’s hard to start a business and maintain it if you don’t have sponsors or capital. No wonder so many people in poor communities will self-medicate and turn to drugs and alcohol. Their body is hurting from lack of self-care, their teeth are hurting because they can’t go to the dentist, the depression and anxiety become too much.

When you are poor, you don’t have the resources necessary to get out of poverty, such as financial capital, education, or connections.

Without proper support and resources, including basic living needs, it’s very difficult to start something and maintain it.

Several factors trap people in the cycle of remaining poor.

Factors maintaining personal poverty

Once poor, people can experience difficulty escaping poverty because many things that would allow them to do so require money they don’t have, such as:

Nearly five million people in Canada – that’s one out of every seven individuals – currently live in poverty.

While there are organizations that continue to work on this problem, it is important for those who are less fortunate to develop survival skills.

Because I have experienced near homelessness and poverty for several years when I was younger, I have put together a list of hacks and tricks that kept me going at the time. Things that kept me sane and kept my children healthy and happy.

Keep in mind that this article is about poverty, and not extreme poverty . Extreme poverty survival is a different scale of what I am writing about today.

It is possible to experience healthy and happy living, even when times are hard.

There are less conventional ways that exist out there that will help you take care of yourself. Those ways are not advertised and you must do research, as much as you can.


You must learn to cook. You can do serious magic if you learn how to buy raw ingredients and make everything yourself.

Flour is your friend.

A bag of flour doesn’t cost much, and yet it could give you a month of food if you know how to use it right.

If there is nothing to eat, all you need is some water, maybe salt and sugar. Mix that up, you can make your noodles, dumplings, bread, pancakes, pizza crust with just those ingredients.

Sometimes homemade noodles fried with a bit of onion can be satisfying. Homemade noodles are fresh and don’t taste like store-bought dry noodles. You don’t need any fancy machines to make them. Just make a simple shape and throw it in boiling water. It will turn out good.

If you happen to have a cabbage nearby or maybe a couple of cans of tuna, you can make dumplings. It takes very little ingredients and you can satisfy the entire family for under 5$ a meal, (plus have leftovers.)


Explore the outdoors for herbs that people take for granted

Living in a first-world country, I watch people as they just put pesticides all over their yards destroying such valuable resources. Throughout the years, I learned that my backyard, or the park, forest trail nearby was actually full of eatable foods. Some plants that are considered as weeds are actually healthier than broccoli.
The worse thing is that when you go to the store, you see the same stuff on shelves, with a price tag like dandelion leaf salad…meanwhile dandelions are taking over the backyards of the world.

Dandelion is not only eatable, you can make a brew that is healthier and tastes just like coffee out of the roots.

You don’t have to buy that stuff. You can forage for it on your time off. It is healthier than any pesticide-treated herb you will find in the store, and it is packed with nutrients. At the same time, you get some outdoor time which is very important to stay sane. Take care not to forage where dogs hang out.

Examples of backyard food:

A warning: be cautious when foraging as there are plants that could literally kill you in the span of a few hours of ingestion. You must be absolutely sure that what you are picking is the exact thing that you are looking for. That’s why, if you are starting off, forage simple stuff that is very easy to recognize and do a lot of research from multiple sources.

Grow your own sprouts

All you need is a bag of earth and some containers. If you have a bag of beans and plant them, they will sprout. Those sprouts are some of the healthiest foods on the planet, packed with nutrients and vitamins.

Dumped Grocery store food

There are a few organizations now that are beginning to gather food that the grocery store didn’t sell, and that distribute it among the population. Look up and see if you have something like this nearby. Grocery stores have a tendency to throw out food that is still good but didn’t sell on time, like bread, cans, cakes and produces. More and more people are growing frustrated with this situation and the massive waste of food. See how you can access this resource from where you live. Do research.

Food health is important, but so are other things such as taking care of your body and mind.


Don’t block everyone out.

It can be hard to socialize with people, especially when you feel so poor that there is nothing to talk about. You don’t want to be judged, its exhausting to keep explaining to people how hard you are trying and the last thing that you need to hear is:

Why don’t you just get a job at Tim Hortons? Or why are you still poor? You must be doing your finances wrong.

Getting out of poverty is not that simple, especially if there are kids involved, or sickness or immigration, etc. It’s not a matter of just getting a couple more hours in a job.

While people that are well off might not be able to understand you, reach out to the community and meet people that are like-minded, or that understand what you are going through. It’s important to keep the social connections going, forge friendships and stay socially active. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:

You’re worth as a human being is not defined by how rich you are, how much schooling you did. It is defined by your goodness, your virtue and your strength of character.

Spend time outdoors

Go jog in a park, go hiking, skateboarding or for a bike ride if you can. Find as many free outdoor activities as you can, and make an effort to go outside and do them. It will clear your mind and it’s healthy for the spirit. Even if it means sitting outside and doing some people watching, make an effort to be out.

It’s important to keep your body healthy as much as possible. Get some sunshine into your system. The sunshine makes vitamin D and this fights depression. Soak up as much sun as you can.

Learn how to improve your living space without hiring someone

One thing that I never stop doing, is improving the space I live in. Slowly but steadily.
Youtube is amazing for tutorials and can teach you about anything that you want to accomplish, from woodworking to cement.
If you have access to cheap materials you can really learn to build your own beautiful furniture. Once you get a hang of the basics, you can build things yourself. Concrete is a wonderful cheap material that can build amazing things.

Second hand stores

There are some really funky thrift shops out there where you can buy clothes, books, toys and whatever else you might need. Take a look and don’t be shy to walk in there and negotiate. Did you know that Angelina Jolie was a thrift shop regular before she became famous? She was and apparently still enjoys it at times.

Keep your chin up, take five bucks, and see what treasure you can go find. It’s fun.

Take care of your aches and pains naturally

A doctors advice is very important, and If you can see a health professional, then do not hesitate. However, when you are poor, this is not always the case. Do some research and help yourself as best as you can with natural remedies.

For example

Teeth: If you have cavities, or your teeth hurt, you can make a salt solution and rinse your mouth three times a day. It will help destroy gingivitis and will keep the pain in check. You can also stuff a mix of turmeric and salt in a cavity that exceptionally hurts.

Anxiety: Use passionflower or st-johns wort. . If you can get a bottle it will last you for a while and will have a soothing calming effect on your system. It will also help you sleep at night

Yeast infection : Yogurt (no sugar) is a very good remedy for yeast infection. The good bacteria that it consists of is very beneficial if you are in a bind.

Bacterial infections: Garlic. Eat a few cloves per day and your body will fight off all sorts of infections.

Muscle pain: Apple cider vinegar drank or rubbed in the muscle is said to help relieve muscle pain

Coughing: Ginger is a natural cough suppressant and is quite cheap to get at the grocery store. Make yourself a hot ginger drink. It might not taste good, but it will help you feel better.

These are just a few examples. Look up the natural ways that you can deal with aches and pains if you don’t have immediate access to medical care.

Getting out of poverty can be difficult, but it can also be a great learning curve. There is a lot of knowledge out there that you can use to continue enjoying your life. Essentially, the key is to learn to do as much as you can yourself. In the long run, this knowledge can only be beneficial to you and your family.


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