Exactly three weeks ago my company implemented a mandatory work-from-home policy for my job. At the time, my company thought – and I did, also – this would last for about 2-3 weeks and we would all go on about our business. That was clearly an incorrect assumption for most of us as it will clearly last a heck of a lot longer and I hope I don’t go too crazy being at home all of the time.
On the other hand, my dogs are my new coworkers and they are absolutely enjoying the new arrangement. One of them looks at me cross-eyed, however, when I get the leash out for yet another walk outside (while maintaining our social distancing).
During the Great Recession I heard a guy speak about what to do to get out of the mental funk people seemed to be in at the time and this advice seems true today as much as it did over a decade ago. It went something like this:
- Turn off the national news – especially CNN, FOX, and MSNBC – as it’s inflammatory and they will say anything to get a rise out of you and to stay tuned-in to their channel. Odds are, you can’t do anything about the national picture anyway. Get your news locally and focus your efforts on your neighbors and areas you can assist with or control. If everyone does a lot of little things locally, those little things bubble up to big things nationally.
- Strengthen your relationships with your family. You’re not going to die wishing you had worked another day, but you will miss the times and opportunities with your loved ones. There’s an old phrase that says don’t pass up the little things in life as one day you will wake up and realize they were the big / important things.
- Take this time to get in the best shape of your life. Many studies have shown you have to be in balance mentally and physically, and your mental health is tied to your physical health. While I know gyms are closed – go on a walk outside or try a few exercises within your home.
- Turn off CNBC and quit tracking the daily fluctuations in your investment portfolio. It causes too much stress and good companies will more likely than not bounce back. Unless you needed the value of those investments right now for a major purchase that was a necessity (vs. a “want”), you only have a paper loss and not a realized loss.
- Take a time out and read a good book. If you haven’t read a book lately and are saying you can’t go out and buy one because of stay-at-home orders, you can certainly read one electronically. If you say you can’t afford an electronic book, my response is there are millions of free ones out there: go check out my other site at fkbt.com as we post about free books in the Kindle format daily.
Help out someone who has lost their job. As restaurants are closed for dine-in give a friend a call and see if you can order their family a pizza delivery for dinner. If you can’t do that, I understand. Give them a call anyway just to say hello and let them know you are thinking about them and don’t feel shy or scared to do it: I lost my job when my company went under at the beginning of 2001 and didn’t have a paycheck for six months. The phone calls from people not only helped to pick me up during the low times but let me know who my true friends were.
It may seem as if there is no end in sight and you’re worried about having enough toilet paper and rice or dried pasta at home: this is not the end of the world or the beginning of a zombie invasion. Americans rise to the occasion in tough times and we will emerge from this stronger than ever.
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