Adobe Stock | Damir Khabirov
In Delaware, a number of adults experience chronic stress due to their financial state. These six tips can help pave the way to success.
When does exhilaration turn into chronic stress?
“Some stress is good for us,” explains ChristanaCare cardiologist Avinash Chandra, “and it can make us at times more efficient in whatever we’re doing. But chronic stress sets off chemical reactions than can adversely affect us throughout our bodies.”
In fact, early manifestations of stress can cause difficulty breathing and sleeping, chest pains, palpitations, weight gain and mood swings—are all signs that life is getting out of control.
Depression, diabetes and even multiple cardiovascular issues can come next if you don’t get things in order.
Often, and especially for men, a major cause of stress is finances. But it’s nothing you can’t solve with proper planning. Here, we help you get your nest egg—and health—in check.
- Don’t be in denial. “You must first ‘own’ your financial challenges,” says Paul Baumbach of Mallard Financial Partners in Newark, adding that you can’t solve a money problem if you don’t admit you have one. The same is true with stress. “People tend to minimize their own stress,” says Alexandra Taylor, a licensed clinical social worker with Beebe Healthcare. “They say to themselves, ‘I shouldn’t complain,’ which only worsens the problem.”
- Make a list, then make a plan. “Gain control of your financial situation and chart a clear path to the future,” advises Jeffrey Puglia, president of Black Diamond Financial Solutions in Rehoboth Beach. “Start by gathering the facts—what you owe [and] your expenditures.” Baumbach agrees, suggesting: “Separate your expenses into needs and wants, and start eliminating or reducing the wants.” The next thing to do is start paying down one debt—usually the one with the highest interest rates—or eliminate one recurring expense. “Getting rid of just one debt gives a huge sense of accomplishment,” Puglia adds, “and you can roll that payment into paying off the next debt.”
- At the same time, address your immediate health needs. “Aside from aerobic or strength training, yoga, tai chi and massage have shown beneficial in dealing with stress,” explains Michael Sabadish, M.D., a cardiologist at Beebe Healthcare. “Attention should also be paid to good sleep patterns; a well-rested brain is much better adapted to dealing with stressful situations.” And Sabadish warns of “self-medicating with alcohol, recreational drugs or overeating.”
- Create your own village. Think family, friends and professionals. “Men tend to internalize things, and that can be a huge burden,” Puglia says. As everyone in the family is part of the final equation as consumers and/or wage earners, they should be part of the solution. “Also, talk to your primary care physician if stress is causing you problems.”
Adobe Stock | Damir Khabirov
Taylor urges. Your doctor can evaluate your health needs and decide if you should be referred to a specialist. Friends may have their own experiences that could prove helpful. But the experts warn to steer clear of negative thinking, including with family and friends who always see gloom and doom.
- Make your creditors part of the solution. Very few creditors want people who owe them money to default or go into bankruptcy. “If a debt is truly beyond your capability, talk to your creditors and see if terms can be re-negotiated,” Baumbach says.
- Finally, don’t jump from the frying pan into the fire. There is a natural tendency to take on even more debt by borrowing new money to pay off old ones, and that may help if the interest rates are lower (the same principal as refinancing a mortgage). But Puglia cautions against taking money from your 401K. “Remember that dipping into retirement funds robs you of your future,” he warns, and an older you may then have fewer options during a crisis later on. So, dealing with today’s problems using today’s resources should most often be your Plan A. Or, as Baumbach puts it, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!”
Related: 20 Years to Make This Your Best Year Yet in Delaware