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Ways to cope if you're struggling with bad debt

Debt can sometimes have a devastating effect on mental health. In this article, we explore some of the ways that you can effectively manage debt and stay healthy

07 May 2020Anthony Andrews 2 min read

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In our recent series, which looked at how you can manage [debt][]( , we spoke at length about some of the more practical solutions you can work towards in order to feel financially free.

However, a major part of dealing with this challenge is exploring the emotional impact it could have on you and your mental health. That’s why, in this article, we’ll look at some of the ways you can cope if you’re struggling with debt, while ensuring your mental wellbeing doesn’t suffer.

Here are some ways that you can cope when you’re struggling with debt.

The old motto of “a problem shared is a problem halved” is as true today as it’s always been, especially when it comes to talking about your debt. By telling someone you trust about the debt you have has two main benefits - first, you’re letting this person understand that this is a challenge that you’re currently facing, and secondly, you’re beginning to come to terms with your debt and how much you owe. Talking it over helps you to think about the next steps you can take to start feeling in control of your finances again. In fact, it might even lead you to begin to formulate a plan. [Start here][]( , if you’re ready.

If you feel that your debt has become the elephant in the room, it’s going to feel overwhelming and intimidating – you might not be able to think about how much you owe. So much so that you might start having feelings of hopelessness that you’ll never get out of this situation, which affects your ability to operate on a daily basis. However, hard it feels, it’s really important that you try and commit to your daily routine as much as you can, so whether it’s your morning run, or seeing friends every Wednesday, keep doing it, even if it's to a lesser extent. A run you did before might be a walk around the block, or seeing a number friends might turn into seeing one friend. You can alternate the plan – just try and keep going. Debt has the ability to stop you in your tracks - where possible, don’t let it.

This might be a good time to reconsider going out into the great outdoors and getting some clarity. You don’t have to be an elite runner to enjoy a stroll in your local park. Think about leaving your smartphone at home and allow yourself to be present, experiencing your immediate surroundings with a walk. It might be difficult to take your mind away from paying your debt off, but the more you do it, the better you’ll feel.

You might do all of the above and still feel down that your debt feels like a huge burden that is never going to go away. It’s OK - that’s a normal feeling to have. If that’s the case, you might want to consider seeking out professional help and/or advice, which is less scarier than it initially sounds.

There are a number of resources that you could use to start getting the level of support you need:

[Mind][]( - The mental health charity that attempts to ensure no-one faces a mental health problem alone.

[Stepchange][]( - The UKs most comprehensive debt advice charity. They help people with debt problems take back control of their finances

[Citizens Advice Bureau][]( - CAB will give you impartial advice on making the right financial choices.

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Written by Anthony Andrews

Content Creator

Anthony is a content creator. He has written this article especially for ClearScore.