Do you feel like you’re struggling to cope with the level of debt you have? Are you going to work, coming back home and feeling despair, doing it all over again and wondering what the point is in doing this daily grind, going to work when your salary does not even cover all your debt repayments and living expenses? Experiencing worry, anxiety and feeling low constantly could be depression or could lead there.
It really is important to take actions to ensure that whatever anxieties you have, do not reach a level of depression or anxiety that becomes difficult to handle, to the point of needing medical help. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious with your financial situation over a prolonged period can put you firmly on the road to situational depression, but if steps are not taken to get out of it, it could possibly worsen over time.
I’ve experienced it myself and it’s hard to get out of, but you can help yourself by being aware of the signs and either follow tips and advice to overcome it yourself, or get professional help as quickly as possible. There are a variety of depressions and their causes are usually different, however in general, experiencing depression adds to the everyday overwhelm because you’re not able to handle your day-to-day life with all the responsibilities and expectations that come with it. Things become harder overall and it’s not easy to break out of the cycle. I’ve been there, left it too long and it didn’t go away, instead developing into a full-blown depression that needed medical intervention.
Dealing with feeling a lack of motivation, a feeling of dread, spells of anxiety and generally feeling “down in the dumps” can mean the difference between not coping with life and believing that you can overcome this hurdle, and slowly but surely take steps to get back to your normal self. Here are some tips to help you see the bigger picture and to help you break free of depression as a cause of circumstances. Financial concerns can most definitely affect mental health adversely, so if you are experiencing this, please read on for some helpful tips. I’m not a counselor or medical professional, so please, if you are unsure about your specific situation, please contact your medical professional.
Don’t ignore your bills
If you’re in debt way over your head, it’s hard not to want to ignore the bills. I know I used to receive weekly demands in the mail but when I saw it was from a creditor, I didn’t open them and rather ignored them. I’m not sure what I hoped to achieve by doing that but maybe out of sight, out of mind? Unfortunately it’s not so simple. Arranging a payment plan with a creditor can help to take the pressure off. If they know you’re unable to afford the repayments, they will usually be open to putting some arrangements in place to allow you to pay back over a longer period of time. This way they get their money (eventually) and you’re able to pay it over a period of time that’s more achievable for you. If you would prefer help with this, see the next tip below…
This isn’t actually going to see a psychologist or counselor on a regular basis to discuss your situation, so much as getting help with your financial situation. If you feel like you are drowning in debt and cannot see a way out, and if you’re always short on the payments each month even though you have cut back everywhere you possibly can, this could be the help you need.
Many years ago when I was literally drowning in debt and developed depression, I underwent debt review, and the counselling company liaised with my creditors on my behalf to put new, more achievable payment plans in place. The repayments are worked out according to the debt you currently have, the repayments on all debts each month, your monthly income and your outgoings including rent, utilities and food. Thankfully these payment terms are possible to achieve because they are calculated according to what’s left after you’ve paid for the necessities. The remaining money is split between the creditors and, based on how much you owe to each one, a new monthly repayment is set.
Go for a walk
It’s so easy to say, “exercise, get your heart pumping, go for a run…” etc., but it’s not always so easy to actually implement. Some of us dislike exercise and are quite sedentary, so just going for a walk, clearing your mind and getting fresh air can be very beneficial. Push yourself and even if you can only manage 10 minutes the first time, well done! Aim for 11 minutes on the next walk.
Socialize with friends and family even if you don’t feel like it
Sometimes we just want to be at home, in our own company, binge-watching a good series or reading but when feeling low and “under the weather” leads to closing ourselves indoors and not wanting to see our friends on more than a few occasions, it could spell something a little more serious. If you think this is something you’re experiencing, even if you don’t feel like it, push yourself out the house and spend time with a friend. You’ll most likely feel much better afterwards.
Make an effort to do the things you enjoy
I understand, even if you’re experiencing mild depression, the last thing you will probably feel like doing is going out, spending time with friends, seeing a movie, having a friend over for home-made lunch (I often did this when the budget was tight – having a friend over to your house for lunch or dinner means you can cook together, spend quality time and you both get to save money!)
Do you have a hobby that you have put on the back-burner due to being short on cash or just not having the motivation to do it? Try to force yourself to do it. When you get going, you may wish you had pushed yourself sooner.
It could sound a bit cliché, but eating properly, i.e. watching that you’re eating in a balanced way and getting the right amount of nutrients to support your mind and body during this period of increased stress, is vital. It will also go a long way to helping you to feel better about yourself, inside and out.
Watch your drinking
For most of us, having a glass of wine or two can take the edge off our worries and relax us. For others though, it’s more than just a couple of drinks that is needed to take the edge off. Drinking every day is often a coping mechanism and a way of completely blocking out worries – not only can it lead to alcoholism, but also not being able to realistically cope with the situation at hand. The guideline is to drink no more than 2 units per day for women and no more than 3 units per day for men, and regularly drinking more than this can lead to all sorts of health complications. A unit is also very often much less than we think! If you want to check your understanding of what a unit is, this site has some helpful info: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
Consider talking therapy
There are a variety of talking therapies but they all entail talking to someone who is professionaly trained and qualified to help. Therapies that may be helpful are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), general counselling and mindfulness, to name a few.
Contact your local bureau for citizen’s advice
In the UK, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) provides advice to those that need help for the problems that they are facing, including overwhelm and stress from debt, as well as depression. It’s a free service with impartial advice. It’s also confidential.
Sometimes all it takes is earning some additional money, and throwing yourself into hobbies and work that can earn you that extra income. You’ll start feeling way more positive when you see that you are the one who is directly responsible for your earnings. You can change your financial situation, slowly but surely, with regular effort and prioritizing your time.
Would you like to start your side hustle this weekend and starting bringing in that much-needed additional income to take the edge off some of those worries? I don’t want to promise you anything and don’t want to get your hopes up but if you put in the time and effort, it can be done! You can really get your first client within a few days – If I could do it, so can you. Click here to read more about starting a side hustle from home with a low start-up cost or click here for 3 realistic ways to earn $50 an hour online.
Following the above tips are good ways to handle feelings of situational depression, but if you have tried to overcome your situation and are still experiencing difficulties and feelings of dread, you may need professional help.