“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”
– Paulo Coelho, ‘The Fifth Mountain’
Hardships often prepare people for an extraordinary destiny
A few days ago, Governor Pritzker extended the shelter in place order for Illinois until April 30. We have another month of distancing ahead of us. How are you holding up during these times? Is the stress of it all starting to get to you? Do you find yourself eating and drinking too much? How are your physical activity levels? These are very important questions to ask ourselves during these times and even more important that we be honest with ourselves in answering. The choices we make around these questions, and others, will have a great effect on how we come out of these very interesting times in our lives. Everybody has choices to make, what’s yours?
I will reiterate what I said in my last journal.
The past several weeks have been trying on everyone. It’s human to have felt it and it’s something we should all be comfortable talking about. In the midst of all this we must do our best to not let the anxiety or sense of panic overcome us and remain calm. It is with this sense of calm that we can remain clear eyed and see the opportunities that may present themselves to us. We will get through this together. When we do, I want you to be in the best position possible to reach all your goals, dreams and desires.
Here is the link if you missed last week’s newsletter or want to read it again.
Those uneasy feelings you’re likely having right now—the disorientation, the low-lying fear that gets more intense at night, the helplessness, the tightness in your chest—there’s a medical term for that. Mental health professionals call it adjustment disorder, or symptoms that occur in people who are having trouble coping with everyday life as a result of a major disruption or loss.
This can be extremely difficult right now. Many of you are confined with your family trying to incorporate multiple people working from home while dealing with the kids being home and needing care. My wife and I are constantly switching back and forth between our work duties to caring for our 20-month-old son and preparing for our next child in late May. Added to this is the fact our long-term rental tenants are moving out in June (not a great time to try and fill an apartment) and our Airbnb unit now sits empty for the foreseeable future. Throw in the concern for our families, which we all have, and it would be easy to shut down, eat pizza every day, not be active and make my way through my bourbon collection. I have resisted these urges so far and I feel I am better for it!
We all have responsibilities, work related and otherwise. We need to make time for ourselves during this stretch. I have taken it as an opportunity to cherish the amount of time I get to spend with my son right now. There may never be a time where I can do so ever again. I love my career. I impact people’s lives on a daily basis and it does frustrate me, at times, that I can’t spend more time doing it right now and that’s ok. We can focus on the unique situations we find ourselves in and take advantage of this time that is presented to us
I also love working out. As I mentioned in previous issues my toughest times in life directly correlate with a lack of physical activity. We can take this time to go on physically distanced walks or at home workouts. There are tons of low or no equipment workouts available online that can help you stay fit and reduce anxiety during this time. Even the Mayo Clinic recommends exercise to reduce stress.
We should also take time to sit and feel. Whether through meditation, yoga or just snuggling with our spouse or children. I am not immune to the feelings of anxiety or stress. Feeling them and dealing with them is helpful and better than ignoring them or self-medicating.
We can also reduce our intake of social media. Just this past Sunday I made a conscious effort to stay off of Twitter and FB and it was one of the better days I have had. Hearing repeated stories about the current situation can have a negative effect on your mindset.
The CDC also has some resources here that can help with the stress we are all feeling and how to cope with it.
I hope all of this is helpful. This information is shared with the hope that it can have an overall positive effect in your life. Your health, both physical and mental, in inextricably tied to your overall happiness. What would be the sense of having a financial plan if you were not in a shape to enjoy the fruits of your labor? If all we can see is the negative how will we be prepared to take advantage of the positive when it comes?