Taking a break from student debt stress
I recently saw a comic in the New Yorker that seemed to sum up how I sometimes feel about summer. Although we tell people, “don’t worry,” we still spend a lot of time here talking about things that aren’t going well in the world of finance and student loans. There’s good reason for that: we’re problem-solvers; people rarely call us when everything is going smoothly.
Most often, we hear from people who are tired, confused, or frustrated—which makes sense because repayment is often exhausting, confusing, and frustrating! But it’s important to remember to take a step back and breathe; don’t let debt run your life, you’re in charge! That means giving yourself permission to take breaks from your debt, from anxiety, and enjoying the summer sunshine without letting your debt cloud the view.
The link between debt and mental health
Studies have shown a strong correlation between debt and anxiety, especially student debt. Greater debt tends to be reflected in a greater amount of anxiety, which hits folks like physicians—who already have high-stress, demanding jobs—especially hard. Couple that with the added catastrophic strain of a pandemic on healthcare professionals and you’ve got a one-two punch to your mental health.
So what’s the solution? Where do we go from here? Your education was expensive, so you probably don’t want to switch careers. You took out loans to pay for that education and they have to be paid back. What now?
It’s important to mind your finances, but also to live your life
Take a deep breath, go on a vacation. Take time to relax and get away from student debt; it’s not going anywhere, but why should that stop you? There’s a proverb everyone should hear:
“You should sit in prayer or meditation for 20 minutes each day—unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
This advice can apply to just about anything and has a multitude of applications. In this case, if you feel like you’re too busy or too worried about your debt to get away, then maybe you really need a break. Vacation doesn’t have to be long or expensive; it simply means “to be unobliged, unoccupied.”
Get away, get rested, re-energize. When you come back, your student loans will still be waiting for you, and you’ll be all the more ready to take them on. And if you’re still feeling like they’re getting the better of you, there are experts waiting in the wings to join in the fight.