24 Aug How to Stare down a Bear and prioritise self-care
Prepare your SELF for a market correction
Wobbly times strike our global markets. Abundant advice is pushed on how to protect your financial assets (63,800,000 on Google today). What about you? Not your money, your company, your home or your investments but your fundamental core value driver – Y O U. Your physical body, your emotions and your thoughts need your attention.
Global markets in the red are both a reflection and cause of human fear. Often a correction is a helpful signal to humility and caution. Occasionally, it is a major and devastating destruction of value – government, corporate, retirement, and personal. What is happening now may just be a timely correction. Or, perhaps we cannot “kick the can down the road” any more. Government debt, personal debt and the abuse of our planetary resources will, at some time, be addressed.
Poverty is a cause of suffering yet the real suffering is self-inflicted by our thoughts, our feelings and physical behaviours. The spread of these self-inflicted tortures ranges from suicide to relationship breakdown with a mass anxiety in the middle. Following the GFC of 2008, suicides increased by 5,000 globally – mostly male (British Medical Journal). These men did not die from poverty. They took their lives when hope was lost or shame was overwhelming.
Millions panic, hundreds of millions sink into anxiety, depression and doubt. Business suffers, innovation collapses, relationships become distressed and healthcare demand accelerates. Yet, we barely address and execute on the personal dimension. The single most important thing you can do is take care of yourself, then put cash under the mattress.
Both the greed of booms and the terror of crashes lead us into stupid personal decisions and behaviours. Just as airlines urge us to put our own oxygen masks on first, so we must stop and get our biological self in order. Here are 7 focus points:
- Define and lock down your rituals
At a behavioural level the single most important action you can take is to maintain your daily practices. Time with loved ones, exercise, sleep, regular meals and time in nature will help you hold stability and clarity of thought. If you know how to meditate add in 10 minutes twice a day.
- Work like mad to stay calm and present
Fear is incredibly infectious. As anxiety and doubt increase our discomfort increases. Increasing the emotion of fear cripples your capacity to stay focused and connected to what matters. Think of lemmings running off a cliff. Do not join them. Force calm, not denial, into your moments. Use long slow exhalations to slow the physical reactions of fear and focus the mind. Keep your body relaxed.
- Define what is important to you and execute
By being calm and clear, take time with those you love to define priorities. Develop a plan to protect those things most important to you and cut your unnecessary expenses and investments. Once you are clear on priorities, move fast and execute.
- Connect and communicate with loved ones
When markets crash dreams are shattered. It is tough feedback and it hurts. Absorbing this pain alone in the office or the pub will not help. Take time to connect with loved ones. Tell the truth, share your feelings and offer your support to others. The evidence shows clearly that when we reach out with altruism, we help others and ourselves.
- Protect your sleep
Sleep is often the first foundation of your resilience to crumble. This is due to the physiological effects of fear and the worried thoughts that tumble through our minds. Alcohol, electronic distraction, late nights and drama at home will make it worse. Make sure you create calm down time and a “no worry zone” for your hours of sleep.
- Stay fit and eat smart
Turbulent times demand personal discipline and consistent self-care. Make sure you maintain your fitness and eat quality regular meals. Stretching, yoga, tai chi and aerobic exercise will all reduce anxiety. Avoid the inevitable desire for sugars and processed/ fast foods.
- Sustain your passions
Most of our real passions don’t require a lot of money. Take time to remind yourself of where your joy and flow come from. Take time to get out in nature, do things with friends, maintain your hobbies, and take time with friends.
Remember that humans are naturally resilient. We have always bounced back. Make sure you are ready to be the early adopters of recovery. All change is opportunity.