The cost of living crisis is set to plunge over 460,000 people in Scotland into debt for the first time.
To add to this, a third of UK adults have said that they are struggling to afford their rent or mortgage payments.
46% of Scots have cut back on their non-essential spending in an attempt to combat the crisis.
The cost of living crisis does not seem to have an end date in sight and millions are left with an adapted life.
By reducing the amount of money that they would previously spend on activities that bring them joy, many may begin to see a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.
We’ve compiled a list of free or inexpensive activities designed to keep your mind healthy without breaking the bank.
Exercise for mental wellbeing
Something that is proven to improve a persons’ mental wellbeing is exercise.
There are ways to avoid a heavy gym membership fee.
Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, energy, and overall health. The slower movements and breathing exercises increase blood flow and can be a great low-impact form of exercise.
- Youtube & Tiktok
The internet is filled with millions of exercise videos to follow. We recommend picking an instructor and sticking with them and their recommended program. Often, they will update a daily playlist with a compilation of videos so that you have a fresh workout routine every day.
TikTok is a great place to find exercise ideas as well as other help and advice. For example, Trust Deed Scotland® are now on TikTok and we provide debt advice and further information on the solutions that we offer.
If you live in either Edinburgh or Glasgow, Classpass is a subscription service which gives you access to hundreds of individual studios for single classes. They offer a one month free trial which can be used at any of their studios. This would allow you one month of instructor-led classes in a variety of different areas. It’s worth noting that, while in your free trial, you can only redeem a class at each studio once, but there are plenty to choose from. There is a subscription fee if you decide to continue on with your membership.
There are the obvious free activities that we have to mention. You could go for a walk, a run, a hill climb, dancing in your living room, or cycling.
If you’re looking for more information about free outdoor activities to get involved in, we recommend visiting Visit Scotland and Nature.scot.
For anyone not looking for some exercise motivation, there are many free or cheap activities to keep your mind busy or get the family out for a day without pushing you further into financial struggle.
- Visit a free attraction
There may be some added costs here such as transport. But there are many free attractions to visit in Scotland. These Include:
- The Kelpies, located in Helix Park
- Glasgow’s Riverside Museum
- Highland Folk Museum
- St Magnus Cathedral
- Calanais Standing Stones
- Create your own board game
It’s super easy to create. All you’ll need is some paper and some coloured pens or pencils. This is a great way to entertain both kind and adults. After you’ve created your game, you can spend some time trying out each persons creation.
- Virtual zoo and aquarium visits
Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed attractions across the country, many aquariums and zoos have introduced cameras that stream footage from inside the enclosures or tanks. You can sit down with your family and enjoy watching the animals.
- Fondant sculptures
Fondant is most commonly used in the decoration process of cakes. It’s relatively cheap to buy and can be a great crafty activity to take part in. You can purchase a few different colours and see if you can create an animal or perhaps even a car.
- Reading aloud with your loved ones
For a more low-key activity, you can take turns reading a book aloud to your loved ones. This can be a great way to enjoy time together, as well as engaging you all in a new story.
Mental Health resource links
For some people living in Scotland, the impact of the cost of living crisis may trigger compulsive thoughts and unhelpful behaviours, particularly if you have pre-existing conditions such as an anxiety disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
If you are receiving support for your condition, you might find it helpful to talk to your clinician, therapist, or other medical professionals. There are also an increasing number of online resources available for you.
Anxiety UK: Help for mental health and other forms of anxiety.
Beat Eating Disorders: Help and support for those suffering with Eating Disorders
GamStop: Free online self-exclusion from gambling apps and websites in the UK.
OCD-UK: Tips and support for people living with OCD.
Rehab Recovery – Addictions helpline.
SAMH – Providing support and additional help for people in Scotland with poor mental health.
It’s important for our mental wellbeing that we continue to keep our minds active as there is a well-established link between debt and mental health.
- Half of Scots are worried about the impact the cost of living crisis will have on their mental health.
- Research shows that 50% of adults struggling with debt, also struggle with their mental health.
Debt is not only an issue for people already living with a mental health problem.
Research studies indicate that debt can actually be both a consequence and catalyst of mental health problems, including:
- Anxiety and Stress
- Self-Harm & Suicidal Thoughts
- Strain on Personal Relationships, Social Inclusion and Self-Esteem.
Accessing debt help in Scotland
For those struggling with debt, there are a number of solutions and ways to access financial help in Scotland.
Trust Deed: A Trust Deed is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors where you agree to pay back an affordable portion of what you owe, whilst protecting assets such as your house and car.
There is usually a fixed time rate of four years and on completion of this term, all remaining debt will be written off.
While in a Trust Deed, creditors can no longer contact you and cannot pursue you for the remaining balance that will be written off.
To qualify, you must have an income and the amount of debt must be more than £5,000.
The Debt Arrangement Scheme: The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) allows you to repay your debt at a manageable level for you, freezing all interest and fees.
To qualify you can have any amount of debt but must not be in any other form of debt repayment.
A DAS is also legally binding and the people you owe money to are not able to contact you or take action against you.
Payment breaks of up to six months due to unemployment or illness are also available while in the scheme.
The DAS will last until the debt is cleared but it will protect assets such as your home and cars.
The debt advice team at Trust Deed Scotland® can also give you the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions plus alternative formal Scottish debt solutions available for Scottish residents.
Call us on 0141 221 0999 for more information.