We’re all scared. This Great Recession has a stanglehold on the American way of life. We’re desperately trying to hold onto our jobs, or looking for jobs, and a way to pay the mortgage to avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy, many without vital health care insurance. And of course, there are other bills choking out our very existence. We must plot a battle plan for survival.
1. Don’t panic. I realize it’s easier said than done, but panicking only wastes valuable energy we need to survive.
2. Start writing down ideas. How can you pare down your living expenses within reason? Start the list now. A little penny-pinching here, a little there can add up. Consider riding a bike instead of driving, turn down the heat, begin a family garden, for example.
3. Call your bank and other creditors to discuss options for keeping you afloat. Be ready to call them on a regular basis if need be.
4. Create a budget for your family to follow strictly. No one wants to hear this suggestion. I hate budgets, but you’ve got to know where your money is going in the hopes that you can gain a better grip on your finances.
5. If you don’t have a job, never give up the search. Scour your town or city for anything you can get your hands on for now, leveraging your efforts for better employment once things ease up, if they ever do. While you’re doing this, think about going online for other possibilities. If you are willing to relocate, then your job search area is vastly increased. However, trying to move your family in desperate times may be too risky. You might need to stay at home where you are most comfortable and secure.
6. Think of friends or family members who might be able to help you. Nobody likes this option. But, you have to put all possibilities on the table. Maybe someone you know and love can help you financially or put feelers out for jobs on your behalf.
7. Take a bold step: consider starting your own business. Sounds ridiculous, but even in the worst of times, there will always be opportunities to be your own boss. What about a home business that you can work right from the friendly confines of your own home? Challenging? Yes. Impossible? Absolutely not.
8. Make yourself stronger. Start exercising away the tension and anxiety. Stop drinking alcohol and using tobacco, for it will only make you weaker, and it costs lots of precious money. If you think you might have a problem with these or other substances, there is always free help available to you. Take full advantage of Alcoholics Anonymous, your local health department, your place of worship, and other helpful free services.
9. Meditate, pray, read faith and spirituality-based books at your local library and online, whatever you can do to break the cycle of worry, doubt, depression and fear. You likely have a free or greatly-reduced-cost health care clinic available where you live. Get help now. But, if you are truly in crisis, you owe it to yourself and your family to go to your local emergency room or call 911.
10. Never give up. Again, easier said than done. But, do not throw in the towel. You deserve better, and you can still carve out a good life no matter how bad things seem right now. Happiness is honestly within your grasp.
11. There is always hope. Hope fuels the spirit and nourishes the soul. As the saying goes, just look next door and someone’s always got it worse than you. Think of Haiti for example. There are no words to describe what a mind-boggling tragedy that poor nation is enduring. But, the Haitian people are still clinging to life despite all odds. And, you can, too.
12. If you don’t have one, get a family pet. Yes, I know this goes against the grain because pets do cost money. But, the joy and unconditional love they provide is literally priceless, and it will help take your mind off of your current woes. Rescue a dog or cat from your local animal shelter. This could provide a great rallying point for the entire family.
13. Forget about lottery-type ideas and gambling. I purposely made this suggestion “unlucky number 13” for good reason. Don’t become a prisoner of chance, superstition and folly. You have a great say in any luck that comes your way. I believe you can truly create your own luck with persistent effort and a positive attitude, despite how difficult that may be when you feel that your life is spinning hopelessly out of control.