How to manage debt stress

Written by Sam Critten on 17 May 2019

Feeling anxious about debt? You’re not alone. One in two adults in debt in the UK has a mental health problem, and one in four people who’ve got mental health problems are also currently in debt.* Whether it’s credit card debt, arrears or council tax debt, knowing that you owe a lot of money can cause a considerable amount of stress. This can be made even worse if you’ve got creditors calling you asking for another monthly payment you can’t afford, or if you’ve got the threat of bailiffs or debt collectors hanging over your head.

What are the symptoms of debt stress?

It’s fairly easy to tell if your mental health is being affected by debt-related stress. If you:

  • Feel sick, upset or overwhelmed when you think about your debts
  • Can’t sleep properly (or at all) because you’re awake worrying about your debts
  • Are having trouble concentrating at work because of your debts
  • Think your debt is causing you to become withdrawn, lacking in confidence, generally anxious or depressed
  • Have existing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression that are being made worse by your debts

If any of the symptoms above sound familiar, then it might be time for you to seek help with your debts.,/p>

What help is there for people dealing with debt stress?

One of the most common things our helpline team hear when they’re speaking to people in debt is that they’re stressed out from dealing with debt, and worried about where they’re going to get the extra money they need to pay it off. If you’d like to get in touch for free, supportive and no-obligation debt advice from our helpline team, then you can call us on 0800 280 2816.

There’s also a variety of organizations and charities that have been set up specifically to help people with mental health issues, regardless of whether they’ve been caused by debt problems or not. You can get in touch with The Samaritans by calling 116 123 for free or visiting Mind’s website.

How else can I improve my mental health?

Your mental health is extremely important. Many people, even if they eat right and look after their physical health well, tend to neglect their mental wellbeing. If you’re feeling stressed out, anxious or depressed for any reason, here are a few things you can do yourself to improve your mental health today.

  • Exercise

One of the best things you can do to look after your mental health is exercise regularly. Every time you go for a run, get on an exercise bike or hit the gym, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which boost your mood and relieve tension.

The NHS recommends that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or brisk walking, every week. They also recommend that you do strength exercises that work all the major muscles in the body at least twice a week.

  • Share your problems with someone else

Bottling up your problems and trying to deal with them on your own can be extremely overwhelming. Sharing your problems with a friend or family member might not address the root cause of the problem, but simply telling someone else about them can often be a relieving experience that makes you feel a bit better.

The person you’re confiding in might also have a suggestion that can help fix your problem, or at least be able to give you some advice on what you should do so you’re not dealing with your problem on your own anymore.

  • Get a sleep routine and stick to it

Sleep is hugely important for regulating our mood and allowing us to function at our best, but many of us don’t get enough of it. Given that one bad night’s sleep can leave us feeling easily annoyed and moody the next day, it’s hardly surprising that not having a proper sleep routine is bad for your mental health.

The NHS recommends that we get around 8 hours of sleep a night to function properly. It’s easier to do this if you’re in a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, so try to devise a sleep routine and stick to it.

Facing up to your debts

Dealing with debts head-on can seem like a daunting prospect, but it’s better than burying your head in the sand and trying to ignore the niggling anxiety at the back of your mind.

There’s a variety of different debt solutions we offer that can help you become debt-free, regardless of how many creditors you’ve got. In an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), for example, one of our advisers will work with you to find out how much money you need a month for essential payments like bills, food shopping and fuel, as well as some spending money for contingencies.

Once this is done, our advisor will work with you to come to an agreed single, monthly payment that will then be split between your creditors. IVAs usually last between five and six years, and if your IVA successfully completes the debts included in your IVA will be written off.

If a debt solution sounds like something you’d be interested in, call our helpline team today on 0800 280 2816. One of our advisers will take a look at your financial situation and assess what debt solution might work best for you depending on your debt levels and income situation.

* https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/debt-and-mental-health


Filed under Living in Debt

This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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