I don’t know about you, but our family is in serious need of a holiday sometime soon. Living through lockdown has been stressful for everyone, and while I have enjoyed the extra time at home with my family, a change of scenery is something that we are sorely craving right now. We’ve been thinking forward to a time when we’ll be able to get away and some of the organisational things that we can do in advance to make any trip we do take stress free, so I thought I would share some of these ideas with you today in case you are in the process of organising your own family vacation.Continue reading “How to Make Your Family Holiday Stress Free”
9 Common Mistakes When it Comes to Debts
In this day and age, debts are inevitable for most people. Taking out a loan can be of tremendous help, especially when you are in a financial emergency, be it for business or personal reasons. However, there are many mistakes that people make, leading to a stressful life of debt. To help you avoid becoming a victim, here are some common debt mistakes to keep in mind:
Same Old Spending Habits
We are creatures of habit and spending money is no exception to that rule. That’s because driving the same car, eating in the same restaurants, and buying at the same store proves to be comfortable. However, it could be costing you more than you can handle financial wise. It’s pretty simple- if you do not change your spending habits, then you will never get out of debt. Consider beginning with your morning habits and take breakfast at home. Next, carry lunch from home, rather than eating at a restaurant. In the evening, watch movies or games at your house while enjoying a homemade meal. These simple changes will have an immediate significant effect on how much you spend on a daily basis. You do not have to do what you like or prefer, you just have to make better choices when it comes to it.
Attempting to Get Out of Debt Alone
Almost everyone doesn’t like to ask their friends and relatives for support when it comes to handling debt. A wise remedy is to contact a non-profit credit counseling agency and seek help from the experts. These counselors are well-trained and certified by national organizations such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and will recommend debt-relief solutions including credit consolidation, debt management programs, debt settlement, and even bankruptcy if things are really bad. They will show you how to create an ideal budget and suggest a solution that will match your needs. The best thing about this is that the advice is free. Ask, am I eligible for a debt management plan?
Failure to Create a Practical Budget
It is virtually impossible to gain control of your money if you do not have a practical budget. Many individuals think it is too much work until they reach into $10K or $20K credit card debt and wonder how they got there.
A great solution is to create a realistic budget that addresses common financial needs such as health care, food, housing, education, and insurance, while also creating room for paying your loans. Do away with the credit cards and only work with cash. Yes, this will mean cutting back on things like dining out, hitting the movies, buying new electronics or clothes, but if you really want to get out of debt, having a practical budget and using cash is a solid start.
Getting into a Debt-Relief Program but Not Understanding What it Entails
There is rarely a quick-fix solution for debt issues. If you come across this claim, then immediately look elsewhere. One of the most important things to bear in mind is that debt-relief programs tend to take three to five years and so, you’ll need to be patient. Next, you need to assess the firm providing these solutions. A great place to start the check is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the local state attorney’s office. Military bases, universities, and credit unions should also be reliable sources for suggestions. Just ensure the organization you pick is licensed and does not have a record of client complaints.
Trying to Clear Multiple Debts at Once
Many people in debt usually have multiple sources including student loans, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc. Unfortunately, they try to handle them all at once. This is a move that will only see you give up and be unable to make progress in clearing debt. Instead, go back to your budget, trim everything to the essentials and create a surplus that goes to the credit card with the highest interest rate. Once that is cleared, go to the next credit card, and so on, until you clear all the debt.
Failure to Put Aside Savings for Emergencies
According to reports, over 55% of American consumers do not have adequate finances to cover emergency expenses of at least $500. You cannot predict car accidents, plumbing failure, unemployment, etc. That’s why every household requires an emergency fund account. Experts suggest putting three to six months of expenses aside to cover any emergency you might experience. It may take time to get there, but if you are determined to pay off your debt, it needs to be part of your monthly budget. So, consider putting aside at least 5% of your monthly income towards an emergency fund. This way, you won’t have to depend on loans to cover an unexpected expense.
Failure to Contribute to a Retirement Account
Yes, it seems good to devote your money to clear your loans today, but it is a costly mistake in the long haul. There will come a time where you need to retire and so, ensure you devote at least 5% of your monthly income towards a retirement savings account. The earlier you begin contributing to that 401(K), the better off you will be when you retire.
Failure to Prioritize Your Debt
We all have bills and many people want to get out of debt. However, many people fail to be focused, and doing so isn’t a priority. One of the best solutions is to consolidate your debts and only make a single payment per month. Another way to stay focused is by writing down the top 5 debts you want to clear. Put this note in a place you will see every day to remind you of your mission. Whenever you see that note, you will remember that you are getting rid of and not adding to the debt.
Closing Accounts When They’re Paid Off
The remedy for this is straightforward, pay off your account but do not close it. Keep in mind that credit score systems not only depend on how much you owe but how much credit you have available.
4 Ways To Reduce Stress & Enjoy Life
Life is short and each day is a gift. Therefore, you don’t want stress holding you back from living life to the fullest and enjoying your days.
There are four ways, in particular, that will help you reduce stress so you can put a smile back on your face. When you feel good you’ll be happier and won’t let every little issue that pops up get to you. These ideas will help shift you into a better place and allow you to get back to enjoying your life and being someone others want to be around.
Exercise and daily physical activity are some of the most important activities you can do if you want to reduce stress and be happy. Break a sweat to help you reduce anxiety and stop your mind from racing. Mix up your workout routine so you don’t become bored easily and are challenging different muscles. You’ll not only boost your mood and mental health but you’ll also get yourself into good shape so you feel confident about the way you look. Your clothes will fit, you’ll have more natural energy, and you’ll be enjoying life more.
2. Get Outside
You can reduce stress and enjoy life by spending more time outside. Being outdoors in nature is an excellent opportunity to release tension and negative emotions and refocus your mind and energy. There are many activities you can do such as using your tractor to tackle some yard work or you can take your boat out for a cruise on the water. In either case, you should check the red diesel price per litre so you know how much you’ll need to spend to power this type of equipment. You’ll quickly be enjoying life as you soak up the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air as you work or play outdoors.
3. Spend Quality Time with Friends & Family
It’s also important to maintain and nurture your relationships if you want to be happy and feel less stressed out. Being social will make you smile and you’ll likely soon be laughing when you’re hanging out with good friends or your family members. Call a friend up to get coffee or to go shopping or have a movie and game night with your loved ones. Get out of the house and socialise so that you can boost your mood and enjoy life.
4. Find A Hobby
All work and no play will make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Therefore, reduce your stress and start enjoying life by finding a hobby you can do in your free time. For example, maybe it’s playing sports, learning photography, or painting and being artistic. It doesn’t matter what hobby you pick up as long as you find it pleasurable and it makes you feel good about yourself. You may even discover new talents or abilities you never knew you had and might consider turning your hobby into a career one day. Have fun learning and growing and challenging yourself in new ways.
Lockdown Stress and Ways to Deal With It
For many of us, life has gone back to normal in many ways. The kids have gone back to school, places are slowly starting to reopen and there’s a sense that things are getting better. People are learning how to stop worrying about the future. However, when I say “many of us”, I don’t actually mean me! Both kids are still home from school; in fact neither has been since 12th March 2020 and we’re homeschooling Sausage permanently from now on. Lockdown stress is still looming large!
We still don’t leave the house for anything other than shopping and medical appointments, we still wash all groceries and parcels that come into the house, still wear masks, distance ourselves from other people. We’re missing family like mad, but we just don’t feel like it’s worth letting our guards down just yet. Imagine isolating ALL THIS TIME and then catching COVID at the eleventh hour? I doesn’t bear thinking about.
Being indoors all this time means we’ve all needed to find our own ways to entertain ourselves and cope with the situation so that the lockdown stress doesn’t completely engulf us. For Sausage, it’s been all about anime, reading fan fiction, drawing and chatting to her friends. Burrito Baby has found happiness in reading Harry Potter and creating some epic worlds in Minecraft. Husband plays Call of Duty online and I’ve been listening to audiobooks, cross-stitching and baking to keep my mind off of everything.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share some tips for you to follow if you need help with avoiding stress, decompressing when you feel overwhelmed or just generally helping to pass the time if you’re still isolating at home:
Try a New Hobby
If you’re anything like me, there’s a list of things as long as your arm that you’ve said you’d like to try, but always punctuate it with “…but I never have the time!”. Well, I’ve never had MORE time than in the last 12 months and it shows – as well as the cross stitch and baking I mentioned above, I’ve done quilling, card making, sewing and a few other things besides. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to get into, there’s no time like the present!
As well as taking full advantage of my free trial of Audible (which I promptly cancelled when my trial ran out!), my good friend Jeni recommended an app to me called BorrowBox. It’s available to anyone with a library card and allows you to borrow e-books and audiobooks, just like you would from your library, except it’s all digital. The app is absolutely free and there are no in-app purchases. The range of books can sometimes be limited, but I’ve managed HOURS of free audiobook listening with this app and I do love the escapism from lockdown stress that a good book can provide.
Declutter Your Life
Something I find INCREDIBLY cathartic and stress-relieving is decluttering, and this is one of those things that you can apply to various parts of your life. Whether it’s clearing out your kitchen drawers, tidying those cupboards that are just used for storing stuff you no longer use, organising the shed or garage or even going through your inbox and unsubscribing from all the newsletters and emails you never read. Clearing physical space is a really good way to help clear headspace and the knock-on effect of a declutter is huge for me.
Have you found something in the last year that has helped you through the isolation of lockdown? Are you like us and still doing your best to distance yourself from the world? Have you decided to permanently homeschool your kids once this is all over?
Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
Five Signs of Anxiety a Counselor Will Spot
Anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illness, with an estimated 1 in six people suffering from some sort of anxiety. For many of us, anxiety os something that we live with on day to day basis, barely recognising the varying symptoms that we’re dealing with. However, knowing the different ways in which your anxiety manifests itself can be half of the battle in dealing with it, so I’ve put together a list of five of the most common signs of anxiety that your BetterHelp counselor will spot, even if you don’t:
While you may just think you’re being motivated and getting things done, going on a sudden overactive kick of doing something could be a sign of anxiety. Cleaning the house from top to bottom, overexercising or even talking too much can all be ways that we try to distract ourselves while dealing with the excess energy that anxiety can produce.
Most people associate feelings of aniety with fear and worry, but for many people, aniety can actually look like irritability and snappiness. This is often due to the racing thoughts and feeling on edge that the excess adrenaline in your system causes. If someone close to you seems snappy and less tolerant than usual, try to remember that it’s not your fault and could be due to their anxiety.
We’ve all seen the “Extreme Hoarders” programmes on TV, where people live in houses which are so full of stuff that they have to climb over a virtual assault course just to get to bed, but hoarding doesn’t always look like this. Often, people who are hoarding because of anxiety will pick one item which is significant to them and hold onto it because it gives them some sense of comfort.
Dissociation is a feeling of being disconnected from your thoughts, feelings, memories, and surroundings. Often, when people are dealing with Dissociation, they don’t even realise that this is what they’re dealing with, and it’s only when they explain their feelings to a mental health professional that they realise thi is what’s happening. It sometimes resolves itself, but seeking help from a counselor is vital.
There are many physical symptoms which can result from having anxiety, and it’s not uncommon for sufferers to belive they’re having a serious health problem, such as a heat attack, when these symptoms occur. Sweating, heavy and fast breathing, hot flushes or blushing, dry mouth, shaking, hair loss, fast heartbeat, extreme tiredness or lack of energy, dizziness and fainting, and stomach aches and sickness are ALL symptoms which can result from anxiety and can all make you believe you have a physical sickness.