I know that debt comes with its fair share of financial limitations, but one of the most overlooked effects of being in debt is the stress that comes with the realization that you’re struggling to pay it back.
Are you stressed about money? I’m bringing you a comprehensive guide on what debt stress is and how to manage it the right way.
Let’s get right into it.
What is Debt Stress? – Debt & Mental Health
To put it simply, being in debt puts a mental burden on most people. When you can’t afford your payments, or when you have to miss a few payments, it can get rather overwhelming.
This may seem like a stretch, but debt stress is so frequent that it has a proper medical existence. It’s called “debt stress syndrome”, and is identified primarily by high levels of stress, insomnia, anxiety, and changes in eating habits.
Of course, depending on your age and health, it can branch off into various symptoms and worsen pre existing physical ailments as well. Prolonged anxiety and tension is frequently associated with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and other problems.
Also, consistent levels of stress can take quite a toll on your mental health, with studies pointing towards loss of focus, irritability, persistent anxiety, and even more serious mental conditions.
How to Deal with Debt Stress?
- Face Your Fears
The first thing you need to do when dealing with money stress is to confront your problems and gradually try to make sense of them.
It’s no use trying to sweep your fears under the rug when it comes to money problems. Whether you’re afraid of analysing your finances in fear of finding out you’re swimming in deep waters, or if you’re hesitant to reach out to others, don’t be!
Chances are, your fears are actively holding you back from seeking help and acknowledging your situation. Once you let your loved ones in on the situation, you’ll feel supported and cared for to a larger extent.
- Avoid Alcohol
We’ve all seen it before: people that are abnormally stressed out about their loans take to drinking too frequently.
What starts out as small breaks and sips to deal with your emotions soon turns into a drinking problem, which I know doesn’t turn out well.
For one, trying to drink your problems away won’t actually make them disappear, and you could end up worsening your own situation by drinking to avoid dealing with it. Not to mention the health problems that can surface if you keep drinking too much.
Try to avoid alcohol as much as you can. It’s true that drinking can be a form of emotional escapism, but trust me when I tell you, when the debt is piling on, it’s the last thing you need.
- Stay Active
Regardless of how you feel and how stressed you are, don’t give up on physical activity and exertion. If you don’t exercise, now is the time to start!
Exercise can be a great way to deal with your emotions, regain some sense of cognitive normalcy, and keep both your body and mind in good condition.
Also, try to stay active in your social circle. Don’t isolate yourself with your stress and problems. Keep hunting for income opportunities, keep meeting your friends, stay active on social media, and try to live life to the fullest.
- Continue Your Daily Routine
If you have a daily routine, stick to it!
Wake up when you normally do, try to go to bed early, and make a schedule of tasks that you want to accomplish each day. You have to develop a disciplined mindset and keep yourself from going awry even when you’re being bogged down by financial stress.
Losing your routine could also affect your eating habits, so try to avoid eating at irregular times, and keep an eye on your diet as well.
- Seek Debt Help
If you’re feeling lost, you may need help or advice when you’re paying money back, try to get help from parties that can assist you and offer valuable financial advice.
Opt for whatever medium of communication you feel is best, as the advice format ranges from online help, in-person advice, and even telephonic conversations.
Also, I understand that feeling less than is a terrible thing to go through. But it’s important that you don’t go through it alone.
Do evaluate your financial situation before you go seek help for your credit card debts or other loans and see how much you can afford to invest in debt help.
- Stick to a Budget
I cannot overemphasize how important a budget can be for your emotional wellbeing in a situation like this.
For one, keeping track of all your expenses and figuring out how much you can afford to spend during the month will help you manage your finances much better than before. You’ll know how much you can spend and how much you have left.
Secondly, sticking to a budget will likely give you a feeling of being in control of your situation, which is essential when you’re dealing with a situation that can wreak emotional havoc in your life. You’ll feel better once you know you’re in control.
- Create a Plan to Get Out of Debt
Okay, so you’ve analysed your finances and created a budget. You now know how much money you owe and to who.
The next step is making a plan to get out of debt, and I cannot stress its importance enough.
From what I’ve seen work for thousands of people, a good debt strategy is one where you try to make minimum payments on the loans you owe very little interest on, and to pay as much as possible each month towards loans with high interest.
This works because the quicker you pay off loans with high interest, the more you’ll prevent the interest amount from growing and becoming unmanageable.
Another thing you should definitely do when making your plan is to prioritise your debts and know which to work on more than others.
How to Get Out of Debt with No Money?
Debt Relief Orders
A DRO is designed to give you a one year period where your creditors cannot ask you to repay them.
If you’re in a pinch, consider going to court and getting a DRO so you can plan your repayment cycle without the financial stress of immediate repayment.
Bankruptcy allows your debts to be written off in the event that you’re unable to produce the required assets to pay them off.
Once you declare bankruptcy, your assets will be taken from you and will be used to pay your current debts.
It’s important to utilize your time as effectively as possible. Do you have a skill? Employ it towards a monetary avenue. If you can write, design, code, or possess any other skill you can sell, start selling it. Freelancing is a great option to earn quick money in the comfort of your home.
Also, look for regular employment opportunities besides your day job. Realise that this is a testing time for you, but with the right amount of perseverance, you can get your life back on track.
Can You Go to Prison for Debt?
Technically, it is possible for you to go to prison for debt if your lender takes court action against you for not repaying your debt.
However, you’ll only be jailed if it can be proven in a court of law that you have actively committed financial fraud in matters related to your debt.
Can I get free debt help?
Yes, you absolutely can get free debt help!
Don’t worry if you can’t afford to pay for debt help at the moment. There are plenty of institutions and people out there that provide free debt help and advice to people that are financially stressed.
If you can’t make payments towards debt help groups that ask for payment, consider organizations and people that do it for free.
Can a debt be written off due to mental illness?
Yes, it is possible to get your debt written off due to mental illness.
The most common way to attempt to do so is by contacting your creditors, informing them of your mental illness and how it renders you incapable of repaying them, and requesting that your debt be written off.
Should I negotiate with creditors?
Yes, you should definitely negotiate with creditors, particularly when you want to seek a Debt Management Plan to pay them back in instalments, or when you want to request that your interest rate be lowered.
Stay in contact with your creditors to make sure that they’re updated about your situation.
What is the debt and mental health evidence form?
This form helps your creditors receive information related to your mental health from your doctor or a certified health professional.
How to survive with debt?
You can survive under debt, you just need to be committed to repayment and bring some changes in your lifestyle, spending habits, and living standards.
Even if you have to compromise on a lavish lifestyle to make repayments, I say it’s worth it in the long run.
Does everyone have debt?
No, everyone does not have debt and questions like these are intended to create false perceptions about how hard it is to get out of debt. The truth is that you can get out of debt with the right amount of effort and patience.
I understand how frustrating it can be to find yourself in a situation where your income is low and you’re figuring out how to pay your debt off as quickly as possible.
I hope you’re able to go debt free as soon as possible.
If you need more help, do reach out to us.