Let’s face it, this has been a stressful year for most of us. We have been through a lot.
When you are in debt the stress is even greater – even if you managed to keep making money during a global pandemic.
It can create a tipping point, but the cost of stress is high. Emotionally, physically and financially.
Stress affects us all on a daily basis and sometimes costs people their lives. (Please read this post if you are thinking of suicide.) Too often people feel alone.
This year made people one little more honest, it seems, when you ask how someone is doing. Especially when they feel close to you.
Even so, “I’m fine” can mean that I have just enough to eat. Or, “I had a good day today” can mean, “I didn’t cry today, I did a little work, and I slept. I slept! ”
When you feel like it’s just you and your stress ball …
When you feel alone and it seems like everyone around you has it all together, here is what you know: Nobody has everything together.
NOBODY. No matter what it looks like from the outside.
As the saying goes, don’t compare yourself to someone else’s highlight role. Or how you imagine they do because you can’t really know what their life is like.
Let me give you an example of this last part.
A long time ago – back when I was in an abusive relationship – a co-worker noticed that I had cold sores on my lip. She commented on it and I said yes it happens when I’m stressed.
I will never forget your answer.
“What do YOU have to be stressed about ?!” she said angrily. “YOU have everything!”
I’m pretty sure I rushed out of the room and burst into tears. I never told her what my life really was like.
Because how do you say:
Well, I can barely make it through the days. I have to walk on eggshells at x the whole time. I can’t figure out what will trigger it. He yells at me every day, calls me names, lies about things big and small, destroys my belongings, towers over me, blocks me when I try to leave the room, spends too much, threatens to give me access to my money lock up, blame me for debt, follow me around, go over my stuff and lie about it, bamboozled the counselor, and more.
You do not do that. Or if you do, most people won’t believe you.
And I don’t blame them. Because it doesn’t go with what they saw: a funny, charming, generous guy who always bragged about me.
Instead, it came out, “It’s not going so well at home” or “I’m under a lot of stress.”
In reality, it was so much worse. It’s been many, many, MANY years and I still panic if I end up in a room alone and someone blocks the door. Even if they never hurt me in a million years.
Your body remembers. And then your mind does.
I didn’t want to write about that at all.
But maybe it will help someone, so I’m leaving.
Because I’m here to say that there are good people out there. And that by making changes you can change your life. Even if you can’t see how now.
The answer is to take a tiny step in the right direction at a time and ask for help until you get it or manage to help yourself.
My turning point was realizing that I knew someone who had extra canned food to eat. I knew they would give it to me without question if I needed it. So I wouldn’t starve to death.
That thought was a tiny thing, but it was the first step in change everything. Then I took another step.
One small step at a time.
What I wanted to write about
I wanted to write about how easy it is to be vulnerable when you are under a lot of stress. Lose money. Make debt. Be exploited.
And then to beat yourself up and be ashamed or ashamed of yourself.
To keep that in and feel worse.
But you don’t have to. It’s okay to tell someone. You don’t have to keep paying the price of stress. You can get some relief. Every little bit helps.
The price of stress
Here is the example I originally planned to show the cost of stress in dollars.
I have a rental property that is a very small 2 bedroom, 1 bath home. One part of the bathroom is important, because now there are problems with the installation.
There is a home guarantee. So if there is a problem, the tenant just calls them. It’s great because I don’t have to do it.
In this case, the warranty company sent a plumber to take a look. It turns out that both the sewer pipe under the house and another important pipe were broken. Like broken pieces.
So the tenants couldn’t use the plumbing at all.
The plumber quoted $ 12,000 to fix things. $ 12,000! Of that, the guarantee company would pay $ 1,000 for access. Oh, first they needed a restoration company to remove hundreds of gallons of sewage and water from the crawl space. (Fortunately it is all the restoration company had to do; There was no harm.) That was another thousand.
It all seemed high, but they went ahead and fixed the pipes. But – spoiler alert – the problem has not been resolved.
There are still problems with the installation. And the tenants still can’t use the plumbing.
So the warranty company sent the plumber back, and apparently the investigation is still ongoing.
So the sanitary situation is stressful. And expensive! It’s bad, but it could be worse. (Please keep your fingers crossed that someone will find the problem soon AND fix it at a fair price.)
Why stress is expensive
The point of these stories is that stress costs you in many ways. It:
- makes it harder to even think, let alone think clearly
- Finding a solution to the problem is more important than finding a good solution
- increases the pressure you feel
- can damage relationships
- can harm your health (these stress hormones are no joke)
- increases the likelihood of getting sick, etc.
- can make you throw up your hands in desperation
It all costs you money.
Bad thinking = bad decision making. Bad decision-making + a sense of urgency = higher costs and regrets. Relationships can result in expensive divorces or costly business disputes. Bad health can cost you your life or, at best, lead to high costs for medication, surgery, therapy, etc.
What can you do to reduce the effects
Nobody gets through life without at least experiencing some stress. (And quite a lot of it at times. Hello, 2020 and beyond.) But there are things you can do to lessen the impact.
It starts with a plan. Building an emergency fund is always a good idea, but your plan depends on where you start.
Also, learn from your past mistakes. This really is the key!
For example, I might get upset and hold on to it. Or I could choose to do things differently.
I can write about it in the hope that it will help someone else. I can think about what I can do to stop it or something from happening again.
For example, what if our house or a future property needs a major repair? What can I do now to prepare?
- Have a list of the companies that serve the field that have good reviews
- Receive more than one offer for all major jobs
- You can also use the 24-hour rule for household repairs. (After turning off the water, power, etc. to prevent the situation from worsening if necessary.)
- Send tenants or ourselves to a hotel when something big happens
- Increase the size of home emergencies
- Get photos of the exact problem you are facing
- Find out what exactly is being done to fix the problem, what the cost is, and what if repairs don’t work
- File a complaint or seek arbitration if something goes wrong
- Look for similar issues that may arise in the future
- Take care of myself
Just writing these things down helps. I am sure that, like everyone else, I will continue to make mistakes in the future. But at least now I have a plan I want to carry out that is to prevent that plan from happening again. And I can do the same for other problems.
So what about you How did you deal with stressful situations? And what are you going to do in the future?