I am scared to watch the news or check my Twitter feed. It seems that every day there is more bad news that I wish would just go away! I recognize and feel this financial and physical uncertainty as much as anyone.
My mother is a nurse, my sister is a teacher at a now-closed private school, my dad owns a small business, my other sister works at a camp dependent on revenue from now-canceled events, and my husband’s sister was exposed to the virus while at work. Believe me… I understand that there is a lot to be concerned about.
In moments of worry, we must remember to just focus on what we can control.
We can’t control people’s health, the economy, or government regulations. But there are a lot of things we can control!
Mental: Control Your Inner Dialogue
It is so easy to succumb to negative thinking. Negative thoughts spread and fester faster than any virus!
Think POSITIVELY! Look for the blessings in your life. Don’t just look for them – name them. I challenge you to speak out loud the things which you are thankful for.
I am thankful that spring is coming! I am thankful for a wonderfully supportive family! I am thankful for a safe, clean home. Truly… just typing those 3 sentences made me feel more at peace.
Think about where your negative thoughts are originating from. The news? Certain Facebook friends? Hunt down what is stealing your joy and cut it out. Then, intentionally shift your mind to positive thoughts!
Financial: Build Up Your Emergency Savings
I realize that not everyone has money in their budget to spare. Some of you may be grinding through paycheck to paycheck. If that’s the case for you, I admire and appreciate your effort and encourage you to keep going! There is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you can, build up your emergency savings. Generally, a dual-income household may only need 3 months of living expenses built up. However, in uncertain times, extra savings can bring peace of mind. Building up your savings to 6 months of expenses or more will allow you more flexibility if you fall ill or have a change in employment. Extra savings now may help you avoid desperate measures later.
Financial: Keep Investing
If you have solid emergency savings, then your next step is to start or keep investing. If possible, use your employer’s retirement plan such as a 401(k) to save some from each paycheck. Little by little you will be investing in the stock market. Over time, you will be dollar-cost averaging, which allows you to buy at times when stocks are on sale! This will really help your returns in the future. If you don’t have an account through your job, consider opening a Roth IRA, IRA, or brokerage account.
Physical: Eat Healthy
People have obviously been stocking up on food. I was pleasantly surprised to see that aside from toilet paper, it seemed like the healthier food options were being bought first! Use all that food you stress-bought to make healthy meals and snacks. What you put into your body and mind matters!
Get creative. I whipped out a meal last night that normally, I would have never put together. I was determined to not be wasteful and use up ingredients I already had. What came out was delicious!
Physical: Stay Active
Have you ever spent half a day on the couch? I did this Saturday… and it made me feel miserable. While relaxation is important, lethargy NEVER leads to positivity.
Take frequent walks. Pause from your work to stretch. Try to get sunshine as much as possible! Getting yourself started on an exercise is always the hardest. The first few minutes you might think, “Why am I doing this again?” But at the end of an exercise, you will always feel more whole, more accomplished, and healthier.
Relationships: Be Others-Focused
During stressful times, our umbrella of concerns tends to only cover ourselves and our family. We need to think beyond ourselves.
We need to think of others for their benefit, but also for our own! The happiest people I meet are consistently loving and serving others. Even though we need to physically distance ourselves from others for the time being, we can find ways to encourage and help our neighbors. Write encouraging notes, call old friends, drop off a care package at an elder’s home, and most of all, show leniency and grace to those who might not be handling this anxiety as well as you.
I realize that I am just one small voice among the choir of people speaking about this topic. Honestly, I may be writing this more for myself than for anyone! I know that if I focus on the positive actions I can take, I will be much better off. I hope that you can be inspired to take up at least one of these positive actions as well!
Stay informed! My team is creating GREAT content to keep people informed of what is happening in the economy, the stock market, and our portfolios. Check out all of our COVID-19 resources HERE.