In the first part of this series, we talked about some of the things that you can do to mitigate the stressors in your life. Coming at them with a realistic point of view; there are problems that you can solve and ones you can work with/around.
Now, we move into what I consider the second major quality. Improving your base quality of life. First up, we start with the very basics.
Step Two.Five: Make Sure You Are Meeting Your Basic Needs
Here we are talking about your bare basic needs. If you have an issue with one of these big issues, then you probably identified it earlier in step one, and started thinking about what you can do about it, but just in case, lets go over some of the issues that might be unmet basic needs.
Housing Insecurity or Homelessness
Do you have access to a stable source of housing? If not, then you are likely to suffer a variety of ill effects. While I am not so glib as to say “just go solve that” there are some resources that may be able to help you to work on this issue:
- Housing and Urban Development Housing Assistance Programs
- Temporary Housing Programs
- Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance
- Habitat for Humanity
- Rural Housing Services
- Family Promise
- Women’s Shelters
- Covenant House
- LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative
- HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing
- Grants: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Now, I’m not saying that these will be easy, but if you qualify they are worth a try. If you don’t then you may want to try calling one anyway. They may know of a less well advertised program that can help you.
Food insecurity is no joke. Ask for help, and don’t be ashamed to get help from food banks if you need it. You can use the locator here if you need to find a food bank. I will admit to not knowing much about the coping strategies, but you should also reach out to your local social services departments to find out what other programs you may qualify for.
Even in the age of social distancing we all need to feel connected to other people. And that is (by far) not the only reason why you might experience it. While solitary confinement is inhuman torture, unless you are literally a prisoner you have some options. If you can find an online community where you can belong, then consider joining one. If you can’t, then maybe it is time to start one.
Getting personal again: when quarantine started and I came home I realized this need in myself. And I did what any reasonable DM would do. I started games, four of them. Not all of them lasted, but that one that has endured to this day is really good for me socially. And as things do tend to grow, has become more than it was before. A campaign became one shots too, then exploring different RPG systems and a west march server. And I can’t say that will happen to you, but you may find some kind of a community to give you contact.
Step Three: Adding Pleasures to Your Life Without Destroying The Pleasures
We all have things that we like in our lives. Maybe you like a nice cup of hot coco, or (my personal favorite) a nice playlist to help pick yourself up. Maybe, you play D&D (which I do highly recommend) to let off some steam. No matter what it is you need to find safe, pleasurable activities and add them into your life. Just be sure to do one thing. Don’t beat yourself over the head with them.
Reading a book is fun for me. Enforcing daily reading time no matter how little I feel like doing it will not be fun. Leisure is important and you should treat it that way, but do not beat yourself over the head with it as a cudgel. That’s not really fun. Trust me… I tried it. Just figure out how to do it in a reasonable way. This has to be fun and sustainable for you. Even if you only get 30 min a week to have you time, it is better than nothing if you can keep it up.
Step Four: Add Value To Your Life
Adding value to your life sounds weirdly corporate, but bear with me here. What I mean is how can you make your life better outside of solving an immediate problem? Do a lot of your issues (or stressful moments) stem from a chronic issue with time management? Then maybe you need to find a better way to use a planner. You can find out about more systems here or think about taking a notebook and make yourself a super budget friendly bujo.
Maybe your issues are about the need to feel perfect. It happens a lot, that perfectionism is a real problem. If it is then you may need to assess how you can work on limiting that mindset. Remember your goal here is to help find the systems find and assess problems before they come up. It won’t be prefect, but it can help you to mitigate some stressors.
Step Five: Know When To Get Outside Help
I feel cliche saying this, but it is true that you do not have to do this alone. You can get community support, or professional support if you feel that you need to. Don’t feel badly about getting what you need. There really isn’t much else to say on this matter.
And that is where we land, for the time being, the second dose of heading into towards more practical stress management.