Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Coping With Financial Stress.......Stay Calm

Scary week, no? Financial swings the likes of which we haven't seen since.....horse and buggy days? Everyone around me is uncertain, confused, anxious. And what of the children? Certainly they are picking up on our stresses of paying bills, filling fridges, if not through direct conversation, or listening in on our end of phone calls, then certainly from the tone in our voices. Shopping for school supplies was never fun but now it is painful.
"Who needs all those crayons?!"
"What's wrong with last year's backpack?"
"Ten dollars for the Disney Princess six-piece stationary set?"
I am neither an economist nor a psychic, I don't know what will happen. But I am a Mom. I feel it is our job, as responsible beings to set a tone for the family. We are all feeling fear these days, but we should try to keep our financial anxiety in check. Lets just try to maintain a sense of calm and grace during this crazy time.
Breathe, Stay Active
Fear can effect our body with a "fight or flight" response, flooding us with adrenaline. Get up, move, run, walk, kick a ball, punch a punching bag, work it off. If you sit still, you will feel panic. And breathe. Again. long, slow, throughout the day. Let the shoulders go.
Couples Coping
Money is a huge stress-out subject in relationships, even in the best of times. Try to set some ground rules during these crazy days. Don't talk about money before bed. Or in bed. Support each other, acknowledge the fear. Focus on what you do have. Lovely children. Friends and family. A functioning body. Each other.
The Kids
Don't lie to your children, they always seem to know anyway. But don't overwhelm them either. A child can't comprehend the FDIC, bank consolidation or jumbo loans. I can barely. Simply sit them down and talk about how the money world is really complicated right now, and scary (certainly they have heard stuff from friends) but reassure them that you will all be OK.
And you will. Turn off the TV. Eat simple, homemade meals together, at home. Talk about other things. Certainly the financial world isn't the only thing going on right now. Just, possibly, the scariest.

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