How to keep economic crisis from turning personal

  • By Sarri Gilman Herald Columnist
  • Monday, October 20, 2008 3:46pm
  • Life

The stressful news on our economy calls for attention not only to your money but to your personal well-being. Stress is a monster that knows no limits and can demand control of you while you are awake and while you sleep. You may notice that your stress monster has become larger and more possessive during recent weeks.

Unfortunately, the increased stress quickly becomes the “new normal” as everyone around us is noting how stressful it is to think about opening the bills, lay-off notices, unemployed friends asking about jobs, rising costs everywhere we turn and the maddening collapse of Wall Street.

Pay attention to your stress. Do things to help yourself manage, eliminate and free yourself from it. Stress is hazardous to your health and you risk serious health complications.

Tips for stress management

Give yourself some time to do things that you enjoy that do not involve money. Bake a treat or walk the dog. Sit and watch the sunset or play cards. These are great ways to let yourself have some enjoyment. Make sure that you give yourself time each day to do something that gives you joy.

Breathe. It is a simple as that. Stop and take deep breaths. Go ahead and close your eyes and let yourself breathe deeply for three to five minutes several times a day.

Slow down. Stress can cast a spell around us making us think we should work harder, longer, faster. We wear ourselves out and become frustrated as we make mistakes and feel burdened by more and more to do. When we are under stress, we are in a marathon. This requires slowing down, pacing and focusing on the quality of our effort. Doing things well is far more satisfying.

Eat well and exercise. Step up your self-care to match your stress level. If you feel more stressed, increase your exercise and improve your eating habits.

Take advantage of opportunities at your fingertips. If you are a member of a YMCA or other health club, take the yoga, tai chi or other classes being offered. These are excellent for stress reduction and the class offers a structure to help you guide yourself into relaxing.

Escape with a great book. Let yourself have a break from reality by getting immersed in a story.

Seek help. If you are prone to depression, be sure to get support and use everything available to help you cope. It may be medication, acupuncture, massage, counseling or a combination. Now is the time to make sure you use the support.

I am doing all of the above. I am knitting with my neighbors each week, taking a tai chi class and adding on more swimming into my week, I’m reading the “Twilight” series, and I am slowing down and spending time with friends. Take care of yourself. It is the most important thing you do to get through this time.

Sarri Gilman is a freelance writer living on Whidbey Island and director of Leadership Snohomish County. She is a therapist, a wife and a mother, and has founded two nonprofit organizations to serve homeless children. You can e-mail her at

Talk to us

More in Life

Ash was rescued along with Dexter, just before his euthanasia date. (Luisa Loi / Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey Island woman rescues 300 German shepherds

“Can I save them all? No,” Renee Carr, of Oak Harbor said. “But I’m gonna try my hardest.”

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 has standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive available on all models. (Infiniti)
2023 Infiniti QX80 is powerful and posh

A mighty V8 engine does the work while a luxurious interior provides the pleasure.

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Artist Michelle Downes prepares to work on a few canvases in her garage workspace on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at her family’s home in Stanwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Stanwood artist Michelle Downes creates layered dreamscapes in resin

Resin is one part chemistry and one part artistry. Downes combines the two to make art that captures the imagination.

With winter on the way, October is the time to tuck and roll

That means preparing to put our gardens to bed while taking stock of the season gone by so we can plan for the year ahead.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

Great Plant Pick: Acer japonicum Aconitifolium

Fernleaf full moon maple, known for its foliage, develops brilliant fall color whether in full sun or shade.

Home grocery delivery predates online shopping by decades

This bicycle from 1930s England was built for delivering groceries. It sold at auction for $1,200 in U.S. currency.

Barb Denton smiles and laughs with her Jeep Cherokee Laredo that she has driven for 32 years on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Red Dragon,’ stolen from Sea-Tac, mysteriously returns home to Everett

Barb Denton’s rig of 348,000 miles was found three miles from home, intact, with a half-tank of gas and an empty bag of Oberto sticks.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

This Vacasa rental is disgusting. Can I get my money back?

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night, but can they get all of their money back?