The American Economy 2008
Image by hz536n via Flickr

According to a 2008 Stress in America survey, done by the American Psychological Association, 8 out of 10 Americans reported that the economy is a significant cause of stress. As our nation is entrenched in another economic crisis, we need to ask ourselves if we’re emotionally prepared to deal with what’s ahead.  No matter the profession or income level, we will all be facing insecurities about the future and with it, an increased level of stress in our lives.

The Iowa Youth and Families Project, A long-term study measuring the effects of the farm crisis of the 1980s, showed that when families faced severe economic difficulties, they experience a downward spiral.  As we lose our jobs or face severe pay cuts, we become unable to pay bills and have to adjust our budgets. As these stressors pile up, so does our emotional distress, which can take the form of depression, anxiety, irritability, anger and isolation.

We may withdraw from our children, snap at our partners, and stop reaching out to friends and family members. The home environment may suddenly become chaotic, which can affect the children’s emotional well-being. Other studies have shown that kids may not be bothered much by not having a lot of stuff, but more negatively impacted by their parent’s anger and irritability.

So how do we cope without dragging our kids and families down the spiral? Perhaps one thing to remember is that job loss and financial difficulty is only for this moment. We do not need to project into the future about what that means, or define ourselves by these measures. Having a positive outlook can impact our thoughts, which in turn affect our moods.

Self-care becomes extremely important during stressful times. From a depth psychology view, our bodies have wisdom. Symptoms and diseases are generally signals that we are out of balance. Here are some suggestions that have been useful for me that don’t cost money:

•    Exercise
•    Meditation
•    Deep breathing
•    Yoga and stretching
•    Being in nature
•    Hot baths
•    Talking to a friend

There are many other ways we can support ourselves through hard times. What are some of your suggestions?

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3 Responses to “Self-Care During Tough Times”

  1. Great post! I Think a major reason we've been able to stay focused on the future, rather than the present, is that we have a strong core, and we're debt free. We don't "worry" about making payments. I would really like to figure out a way to help people understand what an impact debt can have on their well being.

    Think about it. Some people have two car payments, a few hundred or more in credit card bills, student loans, and more. That could be thousands of dollars (a whole income), and tons of stress.

  2. Rashin says:

    Thanks Michael for your comment. You are absolutely right. Being in debt plays a HUGE role in our ability to worry less and focus on the future.

  3. I really like how you can put something we all think about into a new context. We need a little more then that and I hope to learn a thing or two about depth psychology since I'll be reading your posts;-)

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