Today marks National Stress Awareness Day and while, officially, the focus is on stress at work, at Payplan we feel that it should also include debt stress.

The double-dip recession has caused many problems for households all over the UK – redundancy, reduced income, increase in cost of living and cuts to benefits have left many people relying on benefits to make ends meet.

While we may officially be out of the recession, it will take a while before things to pick up and families begin to see any sort of improvement with their finances. In the meantime income will continue to be stretched and the cost of living will cause problems for family finances. During this time many people will continue to struggle with debt and the stress that accompanies it.

Research conducted with 5,000 people showed that 7per cent of people had problems with debt – the equivalent of almost 3million people in the UK. Of these people 21 per cent had suffered from stress related ill health due to the consequences of debt, with 22 per cent visiting their GP. *

If you are in debt and feel the burden, or are under pressure and feel stressed because of it, here are our top tips to beat the blues and get out of debt:

  • Before you can do anything with your debt you need to accept that it is a problem and you need to do something about it. It is easy to bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away but it won’t so you need to face it head on. Once you identify you have a problem you are over the first hurdle.
  • By keeping your debt problem to yourself you are carrying the burden and making the problem worse. Speaking to someone will not only help relieve some of the pressure but will also allow someone you trust to give you help and advice.
  • It is important when you are in debt that you take action, failure to do so could result in serious consequences. There are lots of people who are available to help with your debt and offer you free and impartial advice – Payplan are one of the leading free debt management companies in the UK, but there are others such as Citizen’s Advice Bureau, National Debtline and Christians Against Poverty.
  • Once you have dealt with your debt, it is time to deal with the stress. You may want to visit your GP who will be able to offer you some advice. Alternatively, you could try changing to a healthy balanced diet, taking up some exercise and trying to get a good night’s sleep. Accept that your debt is a problem you are now dealing with.
  • Some people find their spending habits are to blame for their debt problem – this could be to boost their mood, because of an addiction, or because of depression. Whatever the reason, once it is identified it can be addressed.