6 steps to make you feel better and improve your mental health when you are busy

The pace of life is so fast.  There is little respite, you probably feel that you are just about hanging on there, and there is very little time to just ‘be’.  Return from a holiday, and within no time you struggle to see the point of all the rushing before you go, and the immense game of catch up afterwards.

What is the impact of being busy on our health?

All of this frantic behaviour has a huge impact on health  – both physical and mental, and whilst these impacts may not be apparent at first glance, over time, it will be evident for all to see.  Just like weight gain or loss, day to day we do not notice, but catch up with someone you haven’t seen for a few months, and the impact is soon plain to see.

Six simple ways to help your mental health

  1. Make Your Bed – this aids mental health – as you start the day with a productive pattern of behaviour (and after all, its only plumping a couple of pillows and shaking a duvet)
  2. Revel In The Good Times– it’s easy to let them pass by as you sink into worry and made up outcomes of life.  Take the time to enjoy the good times, and the things you have made up are not actually that huge in reality
  3. Say No Sometimes– Establishing your limits is essential, remaining in control of your time and life enables you to manage commitments, never forgetting that your own happiness and family life are probably the two greatest commitments of all
  4. Try Keeping A Diary– writing the positive things, to remind you how good life can be is a huge boost, as is the power of writing down the negative things – which allows them to be released, and actually, on reflection, when you read them back, are not so significant after all
  5. Make Lists In Threes– if you must keep a list, keep it manageable (I prefer to schedule everything to be done rather than having a list).  3 is manageable every day, not too daunting, and not too insignificant.
  6. Set A Sleep Schedule– Aiming for a structured sleep, with a good level (7-8 hrs) not only regulates the body, but also allows body and brain time to recover.

Six simple ways to gradually reduce your stress, so if you are a little reticent to stress management, you can make these changes safely, without feeling awkward about many other techniques which may just be a step too far.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

Big Issues v Small Issues – which causes you the most upset?

The next time you have a major issue in your life, once you have dealt with the immediacy and handled what is essential and urgent, take a second to reflect on how you handled the situation. How did it work out for you, how well did you cope, function, and react to what was happening and what needed to be done.  The chances are – that you have handled something big and meaningful far better than a less significant issue – let’s have a look…

Dealing with a minor issue

Firstly, you are putting together a piece of flat packed furniture (not IKEA, as their stuff seems to go together really well), nothing seems to fit, a few screws get put in the wrong place, you have to rebuild it several times, you stand on (and burst) that little glue packet which is never any good, and gradually the situation builds to great annoyance and frustration. Tools fly across the room and everyone else in the household wisely stand well clear. Obviously a less than useful reaction to the challenge in hand.

Dealing with a major issue

Secondly, your child is ill, they call out to you in the middle of the night to find that they have vomited all over themselves, their bed, their floor, and are in quite a poorly state. Immediately you jump into autopilot, whatever is going on can be dealt with, and nothing phases you at all – wow, what a reaction.

Surely the big reaction should go with the big problem?

Take a step back, with a rational mind for a moment, what should be the toughest situation to deal with? A bit of flat packed furniture which will not quite go together, or a room covered in vomit and an ill child? Obviously, without any emotional attachment, as a snapshot, the DIY fiasco should be the easiest to cope with, but why is it not ?

Who is this problem really about?

Stand back and ask that question – I am making this all about me?

Take the ill child, the focus is on them, helping them, easing their woes, you dedicate yourself to others, serve them, and aim to make them feel comfortable.  Whilst the situation is not perhaps awfully savoury, that doesn’t seem to matter at all, you do what needs to be done.

Turning now to the DIY frustration, this is all about you, your failure, your frustration, your inability to complete the task. Anger towards the ‘useless instructions’ becomes a vent for your anger towards yourself, the annoyance also follows that path. You start to make up stories in your head, spiralling ever onwards into greater and greater anger.  It is all about you, and that is where the problem lies.

Is money the same as other emotional experiences?

Yes! In exactly the same way, decisions about money, investing and planning can also affect you in different ways.

Take an investment, if you can accept that the market is the market, and that no-one can predict the future, no clever fund manager can accurately time the markets, and that the person bragging about their ‘stellar performance’ will most likely be talking about a very short snapshot in time, then your investment journey will be far more peaceful (it is about someone or something else – the market not you).

On the flip side, trying to pick stocks, when to buy, when to sell and when to hold will lead you into the DIY avenue of frustration, anger and disappointment (now it is about you and your ego). Key to success is understanding that what happens just happens (that may not sound scientific, but it is true) in the markets, and that by sticking to a well thought out plan is wisest way not to lose money through emotional decisions.

Be it DIY, ill children, investment strategies or anything else which may cause you worry and anxiety, at Serenity we understand that it is about your whole life, not just the money. So remember, take a second to ask yourself ‘who is this about’. See if you are attaching stories to your own emotions and making them spiral out of control. It’s just about you, and most of it is made up anyway.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

What’s missing from financial planning?

Is financial planning just about numbers?

Anyone who has ever come into contact with a Serenity financial life planner will be more than aware of our passion for not just financial planning, but financial life planning.

Why is Financial Life Planning important?

That small four letter word ‘life’ may not seem that significant but it epitomises the whole point of all of us being here. The whole purpose of being on the planet is about life, and without that key element, perhaps there is no point, no purpose, and no logic.

In this article in Forbes, George Kinder, the founding father of Financial Life Planning explains the huge difference between financial planning and financial life planning.

What is the difference between Financial Planning and Financial Life Planning?

In short, one deals with people’s money, the other focuses on their lives and happiness first, then sets to work around the money part. In a way, it is comparing living to living life.

Surely investments and pensions matter most?

To quote one of our very great friends Andy Hart of Maven Adviser, ‘no adviser ever got a letter from a pension policy asking for help’.

Surely Financial Planning is no place for emotions

Emotion drives decisions, and decisions drive life, this is when we finally figure out that people’s emotions drive everything. To understand emotions, and ultimately our clients’ drivers through their lives, we need to listen to them, not project our opinions on how clever we think we are.

How does a Financial Life Planning relationship look?

It’s all about having a deep and meaningful relationship with our clients through their lives, not a synthetic relationship with their money for as long as it lasts. Without that deep relationship, we are just continually guessing at what may be best for our clients, guesses which may have a long term detrimental effect on their happiness.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

What’s more addictive – cigarettes or phones?

Is a phone worse for your health than a cigarette?

Back in the day (the 80s), if you came across a group of teenagers, the chances are that they were standing around, sharing their cigarettes, and engaging in some form of social interaction.  It may not have been for everyone’s taste to walk through a tobacco smoke plume, but hey ho, those lads and girls were interacting – even it it was also causing early damage to their developing lungs. Continue reading “What’s more addictive – cigarettes or phones?”

Is getting there the only thing that matters?

How did your travel plans for this year work out?

Reflecting back on your recent travels, journeys and holidays, how was it for you?  Was it the tranquil, pleasurable experience you had hoped for, or did you experience challenges along the way?  Did you embrace the moment, or just endure aspects of it?

Were you a tourist or a traveller?

What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveller?

Travellers tend to enjoy everything, embrace the moment, experience, wonder, not over prepare or over complicate, and focus on enjoying the here and now.

Tourists however, tend to want to tick things off their lists, have to be over prepared, everything planned to perfection, collecting photos for Facebragging and deeply concerned with telling everyone else what a great time they are having – sometimes, to the detriment of their own real enjoyment.

Doing it on the cheap

Similarly, if you have planned a wonderful holiday, are you tempted to lose some of the joy by travelling there on the cheap – budget accommodation, the cheapest transit, overnight journeys or inconvenient flight times?

Why ruin the whole point of your journey or holiday by saving perhaps 5% on the whole experience?

Take a £3,000 holiday, yet you scrimp and save on getting there – maybe a slightly cheaper option to return home overnight when your travel plans suddenly change (would an over-night hotel stay left you feeling fully refreshed for your return). By saving perhaps  under £100 (3% on the overall cost) you put yourself to hours of discomfort and lack a sleep – yet the point of the holiday was to relax, enjoy experiences and feel good about yourself.   The whole point of the experience has been compromised.

Life is very similar to the tourist/traveller analogy.

Are you just wading through this life, collecting badges, medals, things, almost like living in Pokemon?  Or, do you embrace what comes your way, taking in the moment to enjoy everything around you, feeling grounded, experiencing something different?

Is it too much to stop, embrace, reflect and make the most of what is happening around you, taking your time, adapting plans, and enjoying the moment?

Memories are made of new experiences, and being a traveller in life.  It is only by exploring the why – why you want to go somewhere, that you then start to look for the real meanings and qualities of your journey, and that, is what Financial Life Planning is all about – finding the point and the purpose – not just being a tourist in life.

Life is far more than just attaining or doing – it’s about enjoying the whole experience along the way.

Together we can bring you some Serenity.