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Keeping it Together

Keeping it Together

| July 31, 2020

Over the last several weeks we have been able to do face-to-face (or mask-to-mask) reviews with some of our clients. It has been encouraging to be able to do more than just talk on the phone.

One of the questions I have been getting over and over is, “how are you staying sane through all of this?”

While I have appreciated the concern, what I am also discovering is that almost everyone is struggling with some level of stress or anxiety. I also know that when we are under stress, we don’t always make the best decisions – financially or otherwise.

One of my closest friends, Jeff Fine-Thomas, is a therapist. I asked him for some ideas to help us all navigate theses times better. He started the discussion by encouraging me to acknowledge my own anxiety before pointing to how everyone else around town and on Facebook seems to be “losing it.”  Knowing that you are stressed – and that it affects your patience, your empathy for others and your ability to react rationally – is an important first step to getting through the day. 

Here are a few ideas from Jeff about how to maintain a little sanity:

  1. Be aware of how much more stress you're under. Acknowledge what you're going through. Measure the impact of the stress on your life.
  2. Most people attempt to cope with added stress by doubling down on their preferred coping styles. If you watch TV to escape, you might be watching more. If you like to cook, you might find you've made several loaves of bread. Think about how you would like to cope with the added stress. Make a deliberate choice to cope with stress in healthy ways. 
  3. Talk about your stress with people who care about you. When we are under duress, it's tempting to try to deal with it on our own. But avoiding stress by making six loaves of bread may not help in the long run. Regularly talking with someone who loves you about what you're going through, big or small, will likely help you feel less alone, better understood and more relieved. Plus, you may not be as tempted to stuff your feelings by actually eating that sixth loaf!

While I am not a therapist, I will also throw out a few practical ideas that have helped me. (Remember, past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.)

  • Make sure you are getting some exercise
  • Look for someone to help – serving others often helps you in return
  • Take a news or social media break
  • Remember that everyone is (probably) trying their best – even if it doesn’t look that way

Maintaining your sanity is not only good for your health – it’s good for your money. People often make bad financial decisions under stress, so if you need someone to talk to – let us help.