How to Cope with Financially-Driven Depression

Published on May 5, 2016 by Lauren
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    Are you sick and tired of being broke and depressed? I was too, so here is how I learned how to cope with financially driven depression.

    There was once a time when Mark and I were pretty financially depressed.

    We had loads of credit card debt, and didn’t know where to turn.

    Fast-forward to today, and so much has changed. We’re working a budget, learned how to avoid debt, and we’re just overall a much happier couple.

    During our financially difficult years trying to survive, we learned a few valuable lessons about how to cope with financially-driven depression.

    I’ve included a few of those lessons below, and a few more that have helped countless people escape the trap of depression.

    1. Leave the important decisions for another time.

    This is probably one of the most helpful tips we can give.

    When you’re depressed, you’ve probably found how difficult it is to make the right decision. Some decisions are huge! It can be too easy to burn bridges, make a horrible investment, or spontaneously spend your life savings.

    Don’t do that. Recognize when you’re depressed and pause a moment. Wait until you have a level head and can make more appropriate decisions.

    Granted, this isn’t always the easiest thing to do when you’re feeling down. Emotions tend to override logic, especially when it comes to financial decisions.

    How do you calm your emotions? You can cope using some more of the tips below.

    journal

    2. Journal about it.

    Writing your thoughts in a journal can be a huge help.

    You might be afraid that you’ll lose your house. Write about it.

    You might be angry that debt collectors are calling you non-stop. Jot it down.

    You might feel regret for poor financial decisions you made in the past. You know what to do!

    Journaling is a way to externalize your thoughts. You might find solutions in your writing that you never saw before.

    3. Simplify.

    Financial burdens are typically quite chaotic. And many times, the domino effect takes place – one financial problem leads to another. For example, one unexpected medical bill might lead to you missing a mortgage payment. What do you do when everything is falling apart?

    Answer: Simplify what you can.

    Notice I didn’t say, “Simplify everything.” You can only simplify what you can, and you should simplify those things.

    The key here is to look first for small changes that will make big differences. For example, you could use a super-simple budget tool like Tiller to make a plan that you can actually follow every month. If you’re using complicated software that you actually rarely use, what good is that? Using a simplified budget will alleviate many fears that come with questions such as:

    • “Will I be able to pay my bills?”
    • “Will I have enough money to invest into retirement?”
    • “Will I be okay if an unexpected emergency arises?”

    You can simplify other areas in your life, too. For example, perhaps you have a complex, exhausting job that is adding to your stress. Perhaps it’s time to look for a new job, land it, and quit the old one – it may be your only option to turn around your financial situation anyway!

    Ask yourself questions like:

    • “What can I be doing more efficiently?”
    • “What am I doing that I really don’t need to do?”
    • “What can I delegate to others?”
    • “Am I making this process too complicated simply because that’s the way I’ve always done it?”

    Simplify, and you just might feel a certain amount of your depression melt away.

    4. Talk with a financial planner or a counselor.

    Depression can be complicated. It’s not always easy to see the root cause. However, you may have a sense of some of the issues behind it that you should discuss with a trusted expert.

    If you feel the root of your depression is financial, it may help to talk with a financial planner. The CFP Board’s website can help you find a financial professional. Or, maybe you feel comfortable talking with us (write me at any time lauren{at} iamthatlady.com).

    If you feel the root of your depression goes deeper, it may help to talk with a counselor. If you attend church, ask the administration if they can recommend a good counselor. You can also talk with the pastoral staff.

    5. Organize your day.

    Focus on only a few tasks you can complete today. If you write out a short daily to-do list, you’ll find that it makes managing your depression much easier. Many times, depression stems from a lack of structure.

    You can use a piece of paper and a pen, or a task management tool like Todoist.com. Whatever you use, just make sure to write down your tasks first thing in the morning and keep the list short – if you make it too long you might find your depression getting worse.

    Routine is huge. Let me say it again: Routine is huge!

    Develop little routines to keep you motivated. Whether it’s getting a cup of coffee in the morning and sitting down for a few minutes to read a good book, or taking time out of your day to enjoy a brisk walk, do certain things on a regular basis to give your day more structure.

    Mark and I want you to come out of your depression with joy and hope. Leave us a comment and let us know how you’re doing. We’ll keep it private if you indicate for us to do so.

     

    COMMENTS

  • Being depressed and always thinking of new stuff to buy has crushed our finances. I have a budget, but the problem is I only keep the monthly bills in it. Anything that happens sporadically is not budgeted. Our bills (counting what’s not in the budget) far exceed our income, but I keep spending. Like the $900 TV and sound bar purchased last weekend on credit. We have $50000 in credit card debt. I pay a lot of bills with credit cards, because there is no cash. I have $1000 in an emergency fund, but that is from a 0% Card. Plus we have paid for a cruise in March. I can’t stop and my husband sees nothing wrong with our debt. He is 67 and still working part time and I have 5 years until retirement. I can’t see retirement happening and just pray we stay healthy enough to work. I know we need to stop buying, but I can’t seem to do it. Just thinking about not being able to eat out or buy something increases my anxiety and I feel nauseous. Thanks for listening.

  • I’m 23 years old and I feel like my life is completely falling apart financially. Everything is just a domino effect. I really appreciate this article!

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