Author: Nick Prigitano
Who isn't stressed these days? Between the economic uncertainty and a global pandemic there is a lot to keep you up at night. That's why it's so important to find ways to reduce stress any way you can. If you're having trouble taking care of yourself, it only makes it that much hard to attend to your finances as well. Here are some simple ideas for reducing some stress in these uncertain times.
1) Get some exercise
Exercise is a tried and true stress reliever. Moving your body have a great impact on reducing your overall stress levels. This is something that you can do whether the gym is closed or not. Technically, we are now in spring (even though we've had some recent snow flurries here in New Hampshire!). With the weather (supposedly) getting warmer, it's a great time to move around and get outside. Exercising outside provides twice the benefit. First, you're exercising to reduce stress and second getting outside in the sun is shown to have additional positive mental effects.
If you live in New Hampshire or Massachusetts there are numerous great hiking trails that you can use. As of right now, despite many businesses being closed, many trails in New Hampshire and Massachusetts are still open for visitors. Of course, both states urge individuals to take appropriate social distancing precautions when visiting these parks.
2) Try to get more sleep
Sleep is one of the most vital aspects to being healthy. Not getting enough sleep can impact your health, as well as your mood. It's not uncommon to have difficulty sleeping when you're stressed, but there are things you can do to try and sleep more soundly
Stick to a schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day/night. Having an erratic sleep schedule can make it more difficult to fall asleep than when you've established a pattern
Limit screens before bed: There has been research to suggest that limiting screen time before bed can help you fall asleep faster, and sleep more soundly through the night. The blue light that screens emit can block your body's production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Limiting screen time reduces your exposure to blue light and can help you sleep better during the night.
Relax before bed: It's incredibly difficult to sleep if you're wound up right before laying down. Doing something that relaxes you before bed can help you settle down and get to sleep. It's probably a good idea to avoid reading the news before calling it a night. You can also try a relaxation app like headspace which provides guided relaxation and meditation techniques to help you wind-down before bed.
3) Give a friend a call
As humans we're social creatures. With nearly all gathering places closed, state issued stay at home orders, and those who are able to working from home, the amount of social interaction we are able to get has been limited. That's why it's important to try and communicate socially with others even if you can't see them face to face. Something simple like giving a friend a call, or scheduling a virtual happy hour is a way to stay somewhat connected during these times. You can sign up for a zoom account or try an app like houseparty to host these virtual gatherings. The Houseparty app even includes some simple built in games like Heads Up or trivia with the other people in the app.
4) Have a laugh
It's been said the laughter is the best medicine. Although there is much to be worried about, and many people are struggling, finding something to laugh about can do wonders for reducing your stress. In today's digital environment there is more content than ever that you can view. Whether it is watching a funny YouTube channel or a stand-up special on Netflix, there is something for everyone. For those who are interested, Jerry Sienfeld has a new special coming out on Netflix May 5th, which is almost certainly bound to have some good jokes.
We're all stressed right now, and finding ways to manage it can be difficult. Being over stressed for an extended period of time can lead to a myriad of negative health implications. As financial planners, our job is to help our clients through the stressful aspects of their financial lives, and help them reach their goals. If there is something we can help with to reduce your financial uncertainty, we suggest that you contact our financial planning team.