This year's Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on anxiety, and here at Debt Free Advice we want to provide insights on how to cope with anxiety for individuals struggling with debt.
More than often, having financial troubles can impact our mental health. When we feel down, it can be tough to keep track of our finances. And when we stress about money issues, it can be a source of anxiety.
It's completely normal to feel anxious when we're under pressure or in a threatening situation. People often describe it as feeling scared or uneasy, which can range from mild to intense.
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling tired, restless, or irritable
- Feeling shaky or trembly, dizzy or sweating more
- Hard to focus or make decisions
- Trouble sleeping
- Worrying about the future, or thinking something bad will happen
- Headaches, tummy aches or muscle pain
- Dry mouth
- Pins and needles
- Noticing your heartbeat gets stronger, faster or irregular, or you get short of breath
Everyone’s anxiety levels are different. Some people find more situations stressful and experience more challenges in life than others, and they get more anxious as a result.
Luckily, there are ways to deal with anxiety that really work, and spotting the signs is the first step.
Try building these self-care tips whenever you start feeling anxious as doing them regularly can make a big difference:
- Shift your focus: Some people find practicing mindfulness and meditation can ease anxiety and tension. For example, breathing exercises and relaxation to focus your awareness on the present moment. Try these NHS-recommended relaxation exercises.
- Try self-help techniques: NHS has short videos and practical guides to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that can help you deal with worries, anxiety, and unhelpful thoughts by working through problems in new ways and helping you build resilience. Try it here.
- Make time for worries: Try setting aside a specific time each day to go through your worries. By doing this, it can help you to focus on other things throughout the day without getting side tracked by anxiety. Check out this video from NHS on tackling your worries.
- Face your fears gradually: Avoiding situations or relying on habits we think will keep us safe might actually make our anxiety worse. Slowly facing up to a situation might help, and eventually it will feel OK.
If you owe some money to creditors, it's quite common to feel uneasy about opening their letters. But it's important to face your fears and open those letters. Ignoring them will only make things worse. You need to know how much you owe and if there's a deadline for payment.
If opening those letters still feels daunting, ask a trusted person to look after your post. A trusted person might be a relative, a friend or a support worker.
Don’t ignore the companies and people you owe money to, because if you do, they may continue to chase you rather than giving you time to sort things out.
Money Helper has more information on how to deal with your creditors when you’re experiencing poor mental health.
If you're feeling anxious about your debt, it's important to seek advice as soon as possible. Our team is here to support you every step of the way. You can reach out to us via phone or WhatsApp at 0800 808 5700, or through video call or web chat here.