Blue Monday 2021: Let’s talk debt and mental health
It’s the date no one wants to save in their diary.
Blue Monday (January 18), thought to be the most depressing day of the year, is upon us.
Falling on the third Monday of each January, it’s said to be when despite best intentions our new year resolutions crash and burn, we begin to feel the health impact of the season to be merry, or even just start to long for a holiday.
Throw in the added pressures of navigating the coronavirus pandemic and life in lockdown, it’s heralded as a day most of us want to hide under the duvet.
While Blue Monday may have been drummed up as a publicity stunt by travel firms in 2005, there’s no escaping the importance of mental health.
As the bright lights of the festive season fade and the reality of the fallout of the most wonderful time of year hits home, it’s understandable January can be a tough time for people – especially financially.
So, what positive steps can we take today to better manage not only our finances but also mental health?
You could write off up to 81% of your unsecured debt today
Blue Monday and problem debt
Mental health and money are undeniably linked, however, the relationship is strained now more than ever.
Not only are people contending with the usual January pinch as they manage overspending from over Christmas, but COVID-19 is also having a lasting impact.
According to the recent Creditfix COVID-19 Debt Analysis: Insights and Trends report, spending worries are very immediate.
When asked what expenses people would give up first to save money 25% of people surveyed said grocery shopping.
Meanwhile those aged 25-24 were most concerned about paying household bills (31%) and people aged between 45-54 were worried about debt collectors (26%).
Dealing with debt has also had a serious impact on sleep patterns with under 45s stating they’re more likely to lose sleep over what they owe.
Piling these pressures on top of typical January debt concerns can be overwhelming and knowing where to turn for support isn’t always easy.
Finding debt help
There may not be any science behind the most depressing day of the year but there are certainties when it comes to finding help and support with your finances.
Regardless of your situation, or what you owe, the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. The pandemic has stripped back a lot of the things that would normally play a part in protecting our mental health such as social interaction, but you can still find help.
The first step to doing this, however, is accepting that you need support.
Whether you’re spending in a bid to improve your mental health or your money worries trigger anxiety or depression, you should take a step back and assess your circumstances.
It can be all too tempting to brush any potential problems under the carpet but addressing patterns is important.
If your spending is caused by unhappiness or depression, speaking to your doctor should be your first task. They can offer support and could allow you to feel clearer on how to deal with debt and bills.
Form new financial habits
Changing your spending habits might seem daunting but it’s easier than you think.
First things first, check your bank statement. You need to know what you’re spending, when you’re spending and where you’re spending. This will allow you to slash any unnecessary payments and begin a budget which will allow you to be realistic about your spending.
A budget will also offer the opportunity to save, even just a little, which can offer a sense of hope for the future.
Do a little money talk
We’re often taught from a young age that finances should only be discussed on a need to know basis. However, when it comes to debt it’s important to be open.
Admitting you’re struggling financially is a big step and one that isn’t always easy but once you do, you’ll feel a weight off your shoulder. Confiding to family or a close friend can also lead to advice and open doors to support.
You should also speak to your bank or the people you owe money to and let them know that you’re struggling with mental health issues. This can start the process of finding help to support you with repayments.
Alternatively, you could also speak to a qualified debt advisor. Stats from the Creditfix Insight and Trends report, people just as likely to speak to a qualified expert (46%) than family or friends when it came to money worries (45%).
Don’t forget about wellbeing
It’s important to make sure you take time to take care of wellbeing as well as your finances. The Mental Health Foundation offers tips on the best way to keep a check on your mental health wellbeing.
Tips include talking about your feelings, especially at the moment, eating well and cutting back on alcohol consumption.
Mixing up your routine is also advised. Something as simple as a five-minute pause from cleaning to having a break from work, making the most of a little ‘me’ time is important.
And of course, exercise is key. It can be hard to find the get-up and go to stay active during the dark months but even just a walk can make a big difference.
A full list of advice can be found here.
The Sarmatians is also calling on people to reach out to each other, swapping Blue Monday for Brew Monday.
The charity is encouraging people to have a virtual cuppa with their nearest and dearest today, or any day, as part of the nation-wide event.
If you’re worried about the impact debt is having on your mental health, speak to Creditfix. Our expert advisors are on hand to offer advice and guidance.