Five affordable, festive, kid-friendly activitiesDecember 1, 2023
UK Debt: December 2023 statisticsDecember 30, 2023
You think of Christmas and images of joy, celebration and cherished moments with loved ones come to mind.
However, beneath the happy faces, the festive period can often exacerbate underlying mental health issues and financial strains, particularly for those grappling with debt.
The Mental Health Strain
The festive season can be a very overwhelming time, full of the pressures of meeting expectations, managing family dynamics, and coping with increased social activities. This can amplify mental health challenges.
Isolation, anxiety and depression can become heightened. The stress of creating the picture perfect festive experience, coupled with the pressure to meet financial obligations can negatively impact well-being, leading to a decline in the overall quality of life.
Debt’s Toll on Mental Health
The burden of debt during the festive season can exacerbate existing mental health issues and instigate a cycle of emotional distress. Mounting financial obligations, such as credit card bills, loan repayments, and increased expenditure on gifts and celebrations, can trigger feelings of helplessness, shame, and guilt. The fear of not being able to provide a fulfilling Christmas experience for loved ones or the inability to meet financial commitments can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety, contributing to a deterioration in mental health. There also does not seem to be a way out of spending during the festive season. Adverts bombard you, invites to festive gatherings are issued and feelings of FOMO mean that more money is spent.
The Impact of Mental Health on Debt
Compromised mental health can directly influence financial decision making, leading some to make impulsive choices that exacerbate their debt burden. Poor mental well-being can hinder the ability to make sound financial judgements, leading to overspending, neglecting bill payments, or relying on high-interest borrowing options. The spiral starts.
Practical Steps for Mitigating the Interplay
Understanding the relationship between mental health and debt during Christmas is crucial in dealing with any adverse effects that may arise. Firstly, it is essential to prioritise mental well-being by being honest – with yourself and others. Have open conversations with those you can trust, seek professional support, and nurture self-care practices that make you feel good about yourself.
Recognising and addressing the emotional triggers associated with the festive season can help individuals navigate the pressures of consumerism and societal expectations. A big lesson is to learn the power of “no”. If you cannot afford to do or buy certain things, then learn to say no. You may have a fleeting feeling of missing out, but that feeling will not last and you will feel less stressed during the New Year when faced with paying lots of bills.
Implementing a structured financial plan is imperative to manage debt effectively. Developing a comprehensive budget that accounts for essential expenses, such as bills and debt repayments, while allowing for modest festive spending, can help alleviate financial strain. Exploring debt management options, such as debt consolidation or negotiating repayment plans, can provide individuals with a feasible pathway to regain control over their financial situation and alleviate associated mental health burdens.
Where can you turn to for support?
Mind 0300 123 3393
CALM 0800 58 58 58
No panic 0844 967 4848
Young Minds 0808 802 5544
Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
Debt Advice Foundation 0800 043 40 50
Or you can contact us, where one of our expert advisers can give you helpful advice on your situation.