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Unsplash Ocean Frank McKenna

ADVICE FOR THIS STRESSFUL TIME from Dawn Starks in Simple Money

No debate, these are stressful times.  While this pandemic continues to unfold, here are some suggestions I compiled for the clients of my planning firm for how to cope with the stress that all of us are feeling.

I have divided it into three sections: advice for all, advice for those already retired or close to retirement, and those still in their working years.

Advice for All

  • Don’t panic. While it feels like this is uncharted territory (and the media hypes the situation that way), it is not.  We’ve had major economic and health crises before in this country and in the world, and this too shall pass.
  • Change your focus. Discipline yourself to remove or at least reduce your focus on the market.  Don’t obsessively watch your investment accounts: it is better to forget about them for now and spend your time elsewhere.
  • Limit your exposure to media. Stay up to date on the news but limit your exposure to it as much as possible.  There is nothing to be gained from hours and hours of media exposure other than a whole bunch of anxiety and stress.
  • Stay healthy. Focus on staying healthy.  We have clearly gotten the message about hand washing and social distancing.  But don’t forget to get enough sleep, eat well, and get some exercise.  The easy trap is to sit on your behind all day and watch the drama unfold, eating unhealthy foods.  Instead, use this time to focus your efforts on getting more sleep and maintaining a healthy diet.  Don’t forget that exercise helps reduce your stress!
  • Breathe.  Just now writing the above, I caught myself breathing shallowly and feeling anxious.  See, I’m not immune to stress!  Stop a few times each day, close your eyes, and take some deep breaths.  (Just not within six feet of anyone else, ha ha!)
  • Keep yourself occupied. If you find yourself with more time on your hands due to self-isolation, find some meaningful things with which to occupy yourself.  Read, take an online class, communicate with friends and loved ones, finish those house projects you’ve been avoiding, plant a garden, take a walk, love on your pets.  The list of things you can do besides sit around and freak out about COVID-19 and the stock market is endless.
  • Be grateful. If today you have good health and people you love and who love you, count yourself lucky.
  • Don’t be greedy. For some, this market downturn might feel like a golden opportunity to buy into stocks “on sale.”  Resist the urge to invest your emergency cash.  Short-term savings should not be invested in stocks.  The market may very well go down more before it recovers, and in the meantime, you might need that cash.

Photo Credit: Frank McKenna in Unsplash 

SheVille Team

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