If you’re currently a student, you know how drastically student loans can impact your mental health.
Student debt has been linked to serious mental health and emotional issues. People who are burdened by student debt show increased rates of:
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and ideations
Not only that but—perhaps unsurprisingly—students saddled with student debt also tend to be less physically healthy than students who are not.
Health issues that affect indebted students include raised diastolic blood pressure, which can increase the risk of stroke and hypertension.
More, students in debt tend not to perform as well academically as students who are not.
Trapped in a Vicious Pattern
Many students in debt find themselves trapped in a vicious pattern.
Because they are in debt, their mental and physical health suffers; because their mental and physical health suffers, they struggle to do as well in their classes as they would if they were healthy; because they don’t do as well in their classes as they would if they were healthy, their mental and physical health becomes even worse; and so on.
So it makes sense that students in debt often feel as though there’s no way out.
After all, even if students in debt receive good grades, it can be difficult, especially these days, for them to find decently paying full-time jobs upon graduating.
And even many students who do find decently paying full-time jobs shortly after graduating take years, even decades, to pay off their student loans and interest rate.
How to Cope with Student Debt
Fortunately, there are ways that students in debt can better cope with their debt academically, physically, mentally, and financially.
Post-secondary institutions offer financial aid in the form of bursaries, scholarships, and grants.
Besides school, grant-making and scholarship committees offer financial assistance, as do public lending institutions like banks and credit unions.
One potential option for graduates and recent graduates burdened by student debt is to seek professional financial assistance from non-profit credit counselling agencies. Credit counselling can help graduates manage and eventually pay off their debt by enrolling them in a debt consolidation program (DCP).
Although DCPs typically do not apply to student loans, they can help recent graduates by consolidating two or more of their other unsecured debts, which they pay off monthly at a reduced interest rate, thereby making the debt repayment process easier and more affordable. This, in turn, helps recent graduates focus more time and money on paying off their student loan debt.
It may sound simple, but healthy financial, physical, and mental habits can go a long way for students and recent graduates struggling to pay off their student loans.
Healthy financial habits include not routinely spending $5 on a cup of coffee from a café, but rather making coffee at home and carrying around in a thermos.
Healthy physical habits generally involve eating well and exercising. Even exercising between 10-15 minutes a day can greatly improve physical and mental health.
Finally, healthy mental habits include journaling, meditation, being creative, and even recording dreams.
It might not be easy to pay off your student loans, but it is possible, and you don’t have to suffer to do it.