2019 was a year of a lot of blessings in my lifeI finished the first draft of my fiction novel, lived in Spain for the summer, and got to spend a lot of time with family and friends. However, where there’s yin…there’s yang. You can’t have the good in life without the bad, after all!

In that same year, a lot of my major day-to-day necessitiesmy phone, laptop, and carall broke within a few months of each other. For the first time in my life, I was faced with something I’d been dreading for years… debt.

This. Wasn’t. Good.

After my initial panic started to fade, I (slowly) came back down to reality. I mean, I really can’t complain too muchI’d been beyond lucky up until that point. My parents had been extremely supportive throughout my academics, and I worked part-time while I was going to school. I’d always had at least a tiny cushion in the bank account stashed away for emergencies… that is, until I ran the well dry.

So what should you do if you find yourself in the same situation? Keep reading for five tips I’ve used to help me navigate my own (dry) financial waters.

5 Ways to Stay Positive When Your Bank Account is Negative

1. Make a plan.

I’m admittedly not much of a “planner” by nature, but I knew that I had to formulate a plan of attack if I wanted to get out of debt this century (which I did). And I found a secret weapon to help me do just that: a pen and paper.

Seeing all of my debt written-out helped me better organize myself rather than having numbers swirling around in my head in one messy debt-kaleidoscope. If you prefer to see things digitally, there are plenty of (sometimes free) apps to help you crunch your numbers, as well.

Another life-saving tip: a friend of mine introduced me to the snowball vs. avalanche method when it comes to making paymentsa great debt planning resource.

Here are some other great resources for making a plan to payoff your debt:

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2. See if you can pick up a side hustle.

“Extra time” may seem more elusive than the Tooth Fairy these days, but you just might find that you have more of it than you think.

Once I deleted the social media apps from my phone, I realized I had tons more idle time on my hands than I’d thought. And what better to do with my free time than tackle my debt?

I started picking up side gigs whenever I could, whether it was babysitting my neighbors’ kids, freelance writing, or finding more tutoring students. The options are limitless, so find creative (and fun!) ways to chip away at your money troubles.

But remember that balance is keysteer clear of burnout by striking a healthy work-life balance and sticking to a daily self-care routine (you deserve it!).

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Making More Money 

3. Know that you’re not alone.

Debt is still somewhat of a taboo subject, largely because of all of the stress and stigma that comes along with it.

However, just because it’s not the preferred topic at family reunions doesn’t mean that it’s anything to be embarrassed about. I was always too scared to tell anyone that my bank account was in the negatives, thinking that everyone else must be thriving while I was sinking (fast).

Well, once I finally decided to open up to a few friends about my financial situation, it turns out that almost all of them also had debt! Not to get all misery-loves-company, but it was nice to know that I wasn’t as alone as I’d thought.

Related: How To Stop Overspending (and Pay Down Debt)

4. Visualize success.

I can’t emphasize this one enough. I worried about my money situation for years (and probably sprouted a few more gray hairs as a result) before I finally realized a very important truth: our thoughts create our realities.

Keeping a positive mindset is crucial not only for life in general, but also for managing your bank account. The law of attraction is a very powerful thing, and something that is also a secret weapon for digging your way out of debt.

If you find yourself majorly stressing over money, keep in mind: 1). that debt is only temporary, and 2). that abundance is coming your way!

Paying off debt takes time, a plan, and persistence but it is possible. We don’t have to live under the burden of owing other people money. 

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5. Remember that having debt is not the end of the world.

I get itmoney is an inherently stressful topic. I mean, who doesn’t to be financially well-off and thriving? While it may be tempting to worry yourself to no-end over your finances, this fear-based mindset is exactly what will hold you back in the long-run.

Because when it all boils down to it, money is really nothing more than… a fancy piece of paper. I’m not trying to sound naive when I say thiswe obviously need that special little piece of paper in order to survive. But should we let it completely run our lives and drive us downright bonkers? Absolutely not.

Nobody wishes for money problems, but the fact of the matter is that we’re all bound to experience them at one point or another. While debt can be über-overwhelming, it also comes with a little silver lining: it’s a great learning experience.

After being hit with my first wave of debt, I’ve learned to be a lot more conscious with my spending and to take proactive measures as much as I can.

So if you’re sitting there thinking that you’re the only twenty-something with dinero issues… think again! You’re far from alone, and you can most definitely have debt and lead a normal, happy, abundant life.

I promise you.