May is Mental Health Awareness Month and one of the biggest factors impacting mental health is the burden of debt. The Hidden Cost of Debt survey by National Debt Relief revealed that 70% of people believe that debt makes them feel like a black cloud hangs over them, in addition to one-in-three people reporting debt has led to an increase in anxiety and stress. What’s more, 69% of people said being in debt has made them withdraw from the things they love.
“It’s time to break the stigma and normalize having conversations about debt and its toll on mental health,” said Dr. Regine Muradian Psy.D. and National Debt Relief Financial Wellness board member. “Feeling isolated and alone is common for people facing financial problems, despite it being an experience shared by many Americans. People lose sleep, detach from friendships and feel hopeless.”
As inflation causes the cost of living to rise, more people are experiencing stress related to money. Dr. Muradian shares tips on the best ways to cope with and ultimately overcome the mental impact of debt.
1. Create a master plan and celebrate the steps along the way
Being in debt can make you feel helpless, overwhelmed and isolated. These feelings can significantly impact your mental health and feeling of self-worth. The first step to regaining control over your finances is establishing a plan that allows you to take ownership of your path to becoming debt-free.
Evaluate your total debt owed and break down the micro-steps you need to take to get to your goal of paying it all off. The good news is that there are organizations such as National Debt Relief that are able to help establish an affordable plan and be your supportive coach to regain your financial independence.
2. Prioritize yourself by practicing self-care
It’s important to remember that your debt does not define who you are. Carve out time for self-care that helps you feel happy and healthy. Some of the best self-care options don’t cost anything, so you simply need to dedicate time in your week to prioritize these activities.
Need some no-cost self-care ideas? Consider walking in a local park, reading a book, taking a long bath, meditating, drawing or calling a friend for a casual conversation.
3. Have transparent conversations with partners and family
The Hidden Cost of Debt survey found three in five Americans have considered putting off marriage to avoid inheriting their partner’s debt and 54% of people believe having a partner who is in debt is a major reason to get a divorce. Many people avoid conversations with partners because of the shame attached with debt.
While conversations around having babies or the prospect of marriage are commonplace at the start of serious relationships, debt and finances are often taboo. Being transparent and open to conversations about finding solutions can help build your relationship up rather than tear it down.
4. Don’t do it alone, find tools to help
Asking for help and finding a supportive community can build confidence and provide direction that makes a positive impact on your finances and mental health.
Take Michelle Ventura from Virginia Beach who found herself in more than $19,000 of debt following her divorce. Overwhelmed by outstanding credit-card bills and legal fees, she felt an immense amount of pressure to get out of debt for her personal well-being and her family’s livelihood.
On the brink of bankruptcy, Ventura sought support from National Debt Relief. Their team developed a plan and negotiated with creditors on her behalf, reducing her debt by $9,000, which allowed her to pay off her debt faster than she anticipated.
“Navigating debt as a single mom was incredibly challenging. I felt alone in this journey but working with National Debt Relief gave me the expertise and emotional support I needed to tackle my debt and conquer any obstacle I faced along the way,” said Ventura. “Being debt-free gave me back control of my life. Now I can focus on my family and the people who matter most.”
For support in navigating debt, please visit nationaldebtrelief.com or call 800-919-0828 to learn more.