The time leading up to a presidential election can be nerve-wracking enough on its own. Add in the tumult from Covid-19 and recent market volatility, and it’s no wonder that some of us are dealing with anxiety as we get closer and closer to filling out our ballots.
Are you so wrapped up in big picture challenges that you’re overlooking things in your life that you can control? Taking some purposeful steps in these three areas could remind you who’s ultimately in charge of your life.
1. Your mental health
This is hardly the first time in our history that Americans have been on edge about a presidential election. Until recently, most folks only paid attention to politics when a certain topic affected their lives. Social media immerses us in politics 24/7, creating an echo chamber that magnifies our anxieties and bounces them back to us over and over again. Worse, that echo chamber might be sharing screen space with the apps we’re using to stay connected to colleagues, family, and friends during the pandemic.
When you’re not working or checking on your loved ones, set some daily screen time limits. Unplugging before bed can be especially beneficial if your brain is still revving from a full day of tweets and likes. Our electronic devices and apps are designed to attract our attention. When it’s time to sleep, there’s no better mute button than a good book and some quiet time away from the day’s chaos.
2. Your physical health
The pandemic could create a new breed of couch potato. Instead of binge-watching TV, we’re in danger of putting in unnecessary overtime, all the time.
Working from home has disrupted many of the routines that kept us active even on days when we weren’t heading to the gym. Simple things like moving around the office or walking down the street for a coffee break don’t happen as much when you and your laptop are parked at the kitchen table all day. Instead, in between tasks, you might find yourself clicking open a new tab and getting sucked into the day’s political brouhaha.
The physical barriers between home and work are a little blurry right now but you have more control over your schedule. Break up a long day of Zoom calls with ten minutes of jumping jacks. When you hit inbox zero, take a long walk. When it’s time to clock out for the day, turn off your computer, get up from your makeshift desk, and get moving. Even if your gym is now in your living room, separating yourself from your WFH routine will help you get the most out of your new exercise routine.
3. Your financial health
Folks who have never set a monthly budget are often surprised by what an empowering experience it can be. The most impactful adjustment you can make to your financial plan is to limit unnecessary spending and maximize saving while continuing to invest prudently, regardless of what’s happening in the markets or on the news.
Still, the investment piece of this picture can make folks anxious during moments of uncertainty, especially if retirement is nearing. That’s one of the reasons that we like to sit down (or get on a video call) with our clients when they’re feeling stressed about today’s environment.
A financial plan is only as good as your confidence in it. Determine how comfortable you’re feeling about your market exposure, savings goals, debt, and spending. Working together with your trusted financial advisor helps you feel more in control of those things and other variables. You’ll end up feeling excited about your plan and your family’s future.