Tag: stress

Coping During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Some people ask me, “How can I feel less anxious?”

I think acceptance plays a major role in reducing anxiety during Covid-19.  No one alive today has been in a situation like this.  If we say to ourselves that we should not be anxious, this expectation will raise our anxiety.  I have been using online counseling to talk with a lot of clients about Covid-19 and the calmer ones are those who are using this time to focus on accomplishing tasks like organization, cleaning, volunteering, and doing generally helpful things.  The people who are more anxious are usually watching several hours of news per day, as well as spending a great deal of time on social media.  The anxious people often are not doing things that give them a feeling of accomplishment or helpfulness.

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Post Holidays

Starting in 2005, a British Psychologist, Cliff Arnall, believed that he calculated the most depressing day of the year.

He calls this Blue Monday and it occurs in mid to late January each year.  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/blue-monday-saddest-day-year-find-silver-lining-article-1.1007082

Arnall calculates this date on weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action Continue reading →

Work and Leisure?

Weisure is the term.  It refers to the mix of work and leisure.  Since virtually everyone is connected, it is so difficult to leave work at work.  Is it a bad thing?

Many say that work has become fun and is a huge joy in life.  Why not mix work and leisure? It could be more productive and satisfying.

I enjoy technology and am guilty of weisure on a regular basis.  However, balance is the key. If one obsesses over his or her work, this lack of relaxation is destructive.  It is important to be able to find a way to relax and enjoy life.  Remember that you work to live, instead of live to work Continue reading →

Rise of Opiate Use Is Not the Answer to Relive Stress

By Eve Pearce

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 12 million people in the US used opiate drugs for purposes other than pain relief.

Abuse of prescription drugs such as morphine, oxycodone and codeine is a far bigger problem than use of heroin and many people are turning to opiates as a way to help them deal with stress. Prescription opiates are able to do this, as although they take longer to reach the brain than injected heroin, once there they exert similar effects. In the central nervous system these drugs bind to opioid receptors which not only aids pain relief but triggers feelings of pleasure, calm and well-being as well. However, they are not the answer for stress relief, as their use is associated with a number of adverse consequences. Only by addressing the root of the problem and developing appropriate strategies can stress be safely and successfully managed. Continue reading →

Creating a Peaceful Holiday for your Family

Aren’t holidays great?  There are presents, food, time off work (for those fortunate enough), and time with family.  However, the time with family can quickly turn into disagreements, which then lead to out right fighting.

Its all too often the times we all think should be enjoyed turn into episodes of family drama.

Before getting together with family this holiday season, think about the triggers that cause these family problems.  Maybe Uncle Bobby is the one who starts problems by drinking too much.  Possibly it is Aunt Mildred who starts on a rant because Uncle Bobby is drinking too much, which then sends him into a defensive rant.  Maybe there are past resentments that have not been dealt with since the previous year(s) and they are now resurfacing while everyone sits down to the table.  I think you get the point…there can be a multitude of problems that can cause a family to dinner to become a scene of dysfunction.

What can you do different this year?  Identify those triggers that have caused anger and/or arguments in the family and approach things differently this year.  Is there a need to hold family gatherings at a different location?  Would having an alcohol-free family get together likely make the day more pleasant?

If the problems during the holidays seem to hinge on one particular person, then I would recommend talking with this family member before the holiday season begins.  It would be ideal to meet with them in person, if possible (or at least over the phone).  This would allow you to express the concerns in a calm and caring manner.  For instance, you could discuss how you would be more comfortable if a particular topic (insert family feud issue here) were avoided, so that everyone can have a nice family gathering.  Be sure to use “I” and “we” language, instead of  “you.”  By discussing how “We would feel more comfortable if…” this will avoid making the family member with whom you are talking feel as if they are being accused.

I hope everyone has a very happy and enjoyable holiday season.  Please remember that in order for things to get better, there has to be change.  So, approach this season with the idea of  “What can we do different?”  When things are done differently, there is a chance things can get better.  Holidays are for enjoying family, not starting or perpetuating feuds!

Living Within Your Means

Keeping up with the Jones’, go big or go home, and livin’ large are all mantras of our society.  These mantras may very well sound appealing.  However, they seem to cause a great deal of pain for many.

In my office, I see people who are spending much more money than they are earning.  After the credit cards are maxed and the second or third mortgage has been taken out, people often find there is no place to turn and they are quite unhappy.

What you own is now owning you, as the old saying goes.  It is unfortunate how I see people who work excessive amounts of overtime just make the minimum payments on their credit cards and other debts.  When this happens, the excessive amount of work leaves little time to spend with family.  It often results in arguments with their partner regarding spending habits and sacrifices that may need to be made to pay for the material possessions. Sadly, when people buy these material things in hopes of improving their lives, it often causes the people so much mental anguish and long working hours that they cannot enjoy the possessions that they have.

Prevention is key.  What are you and your partner’s philosophies on money?  Do you have a budget?  Do you have a good understanding between wants and needs?  It is important to know the household income and the amount of money it takes to live for one month (utilities, rent/mortgage, food, car payment, etc.).  Once your have this amount figured, it is important to decide what you will do with the remainder of the money.  Remember to save for retirement too.  It is recommended that you see a financial advisor for detailed help in this area. Below are general spending guidelines:

Housing (rent or mortgage payment, utilities, repairs): Up to 35%

Food: Up to 25%

Transportation (car payments, mass transit, gas/oil, maintenance, insurance): Under 12%

Clothing: Under 10%

Medical (dental, prescriptions, health insurance, over the counter drugs): Up to 8%

Debt (school loans, credit cards, bank loans, etc.): Under 15%

Entertainment (movies, eating out, books, etc.): Under 5%

Emergency Fund: Minimum of 1%

Savings and Investments: At least 10%

Source: Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW, 2004-2010  Center for Financial Social Work, Inc.  800.707.1002 www.financialsocialwork.com


When is financial social work counseling helpful?

  • The couple is not able to agree on a philosophy on money
  • The couple does not agree on what is a want vs. a need
  • A person feels that he or she has a poor or “complicated” relationship with money
  • There is a concern that there is too much emphasis placed on material possessions

Stress Management

Here are a couple of quick quips for managing stress:

  • If you allow others to make you stressed, you are allowing them to control you. Do you really want others pulling your strings?
  • Look at stress as a test.
  • The only person responsible for your stress is you.
  • Stress is energy. Are you going to use this energy for something productive or destructive?
  • Will it matter tomorrow? Next week? Next Month?