Are you watching your 401K shrink monthly, weekly, daily…dealing with job cuts, pay cuts, rising expenses and general depression regarding the state of the economy? Some things you have control over, but money troubles are notorious for wreaking personal havoc, in the wallet and in the brain. Stress and anxiety creep in and erode feelings of well-being. Tempers flair, smiles are hard to come by. But it is important to maintain a sense of equilibrium, and there are ways to combat the doldrums and implement a little pick-me-up. Try one or more of the following tension-busters:
- Get a bit of exercise. Leave your desk and take a walk. Shoot some hoops after work, ride your bike. Choose the hour and do something, anything pleasing, to get your body moving. Take a restorative yoga class. Bring your gym bag to work. The benefits of moderate exercise are well-known. The release of endorphins, and the feeling of doing something good for yourself is a great distraction during challenging times. Come up with a work-out schedule and give your body the opportunity to relieve tension.
2. Call a friend or someone you enjoy conversing with. Arrange to have coffee, lunch, a drink, or go to a movie together. Communication is the key, an opportunity to vent and commiserate. Be a good listener yourself and reap the rewards of friendship.
3. Focus on your diet. Binging at night makes you feel worse, as do fatty, non-nutritious foods. Make this a clean-out time. Start with a one-week plan of healthy, calorie-conscious eating. Go to the market and buy vegetables, fruits and good protein such as chicken, fish, or legumes. Make sure you have some good stuff for the munchies…maybe rice cakes and a banana instead of the ice cream. You DO have control of your diet and the feeling of accomplishment after a week of eating really well, can be very rewarding.
4. Keep favorite reading material handy; that weekly magazine or historical novel you’ve put off reading. This is a good time to absorb yourself in literature. Read while lunching alone or while riding the train and especially, at night just to escape from whatever is going on, if only for a little while. Learn a little French. Basically, engage your brain in an extracurricular activity that is at the same time, relaxing.
5. Visit a place that calms and centers you. It might be a spot on your favorite park bench, or the Impressionist room in a museum. Could be the counter at the diner and a chat with whoever sits down next to you.
6. Talk yourself into an attitude adjustment. Make a list of the positives in your life. Focus on them. What do you have to be thankful for? Your glass is not half empty, it is half full. Wake up each day with a plan to do something positive and productive, or at least attempt it.
7. Do something nice for someone else. Get out of yourself. Cook a meal for a friend in need. Volunteer at a shelter or hospital, human or animal. Within your own comfort zone, figure out a way to give something of yourself in a small but meaningful way. You’ll be surprised, how good that makes you feel