Things have been pretty rough here with The Amateur Financier. I’ve shared more than a few of my latest troubles, particularly in my Net Worth Updates for July and August. Lately, it seems like just about every day there’s a new expense, from helping my fiancee to trying to keep my old car running. It’s been a very hectic, really draining (of mind, body, and wallet) summer, and sadly, it’s not over yet.
At times like this, I tend to get a bit down in the dumps. It’s understandable, I imagine; there is an entire psychoanalytical profession built on fixing just these sorts of mental issues in people like me. Still, the last thing I need to do to my bank account is paying for professional help; my improved mental state would only last until I got the bill.
No, what I need to do is find ways to keep myself calm, stress-free, and as best possible, happy. There are plenty of methods to try to keep yourself reasonably calm, which I’m trying to follow as best as possible while I work through this current set of problems:
1. Stopping to Take a Deep Breath: It’s easy to get overwhelmed in life, and when you get moving too fast, sometimes things just start to pile one on top of another on top of another. One of the best things I’ve found for such situations is simply to stop, inhale deeply, and try to regain your focus. You’ll find this suggestion on the top of nearly every list of ways to to stay calm, because it’s one of those tips that helps you down to a physiological level.
2. Pull Yourself Away From the World: I’m not talking about packing up all your things, abandoning humanity, and living like a wild person buried deep in the woods. Being able to turn off your computer, power down your phone, generally disconnect from the world and do things on your own terms, even for a short while, can be a major mind saver. I know that everything will still be waiting for you, and if you’re like me, it’s hard to justify not spending your time trying to fix all the problems that are there; but approaching them with a fresh mind can be the difference between completely them successfully and swiftly and going insane staring at them for hours.
3. Get Moving: A little exercise can be all it takes to give your mind a quick restart and cut down on some of your stress. You don’t need to hit the gym for six hours, but while you are following step 2 and temporarily cutting off your contact with the world, why not try to run a bit, or do some stretches, or simply walk a bit more briskly than normal around the block? At worst, you’ll have gotten in some of that exercise so many of us seem to neglect; at best, you’ll have helped to calm yourself down and cleared your mind, with the exercise as a pleasant bonus.
These are only the start; the ways you have for cutting down stress could be many, many more, and I’m hoping you’ve managed to find several that work well for you. These are just a few things that work for me (while we’re at it, writing all these down and sharing them has been pretty cathartic, to boot).