Dealing with financial stress and unexpected expenses

Stressed Out DudeAs I sat inside my home on a sweltering Saturday in Florida, I was thinking of one thing: college football. Not work, not yoga, not the gym… and certainly not the financial stress I was about to deal with. Feeling some unwanted heat in the room, I jumped up and went to my thermostat and looked: “yep, it’s on,” then I immediately listened for the humming of the air conditioner, and yes, it was running.  I went to my closest air vent and yes, it was blowing. But — it wasn’t blowing cold… ugh. The last thing I needed was our air conditioner to go out on a weekend and have to tell my wife to put on her bathing suit because it’s going to get real hot, real quick (and not in a good way.)

I immediately started calling A/C vendors to come to diagnose the problem, then I called friends with portable A/C units to see if I could call in a favor. At that point, it hit me: my A/C unit was 31 years old. Yes, you read that right. It was installed when the house was built in 1987. And we knew that if anything major had to be fixed then it was time for an entire new unit, and they aren’t anything even close to cheap.

Relieving Stress Through YogaHow to deal with stress or “panic mode”?

My stress level rose and my brain went into overdrive as my focus dissolved into pure panic mode: How am I going to deal with this? What if I don’t have enough saved in my emergency fund? How can I get three quotes and get it installed ASAP? How long is this actually going to take? Who can I trust to install the best A/C for my family at an affordable price? Agh!

I needed to get out of this panic mode and deal with one thing at a time. What helped me do that? Yoga. I know, all this over an air conditioner, but if yours breaks unexpectedly – prepare for the panic. Anyhow, when you are feeling anxiety or stress and can’t seem to focus, taking the time to quiet your mind and focus on your body really helps you get through and think clearly. Yoga helps you live in the moment and not think about the past or future, while you regain your balance, and helps lead you to clearer decisions.

Ways that yoga can help reduce stress and improve health

  • Managing your breathing: Controlling your breathing is an important part of yoga. It helps quiet your mind and slow down in a stressful time.
  • Improved fitness: Yoga helps with balance, flexibility, range of motion, and strength. Honestly, when I practice yoga, I also sleep better at night! (Another stress reliever.)
  • Releasing emotional energy: You might feel tightness in your hips or back. Maybe you can tell that stress is loading up onto your shoulders and neck, or putting your legs in knots. if you take the time to stretch those areas you would be astonished with how you feel after, both physically and mentally. Sometimes I feel that yoga is just a fancy word for stretching, and really focusing on each stretch.

Rolling Up a Yoga MatYoga helped me make clearer, better decisions

So, I doubled up on yoga classes that week to get through it all: looking over our finances and pulling just about ALL our emergency fund to cover it (we’re glad we had it!) Then, finding the right A/C company to do the work, plus getting it done right.

All in all, I have found yoga to be one of the most effective and possibly the most enjoyable tool to unwind and relax, inside and out. Stress in life, whether it’s emotional or financial, isn’t something we can completely hide from. Especially if you want to stay cool in the Florida heat and your A/C gives up the ghost. But, with a few good and healthy outlets, we can reduce the impact those financially stressful situations have — and be better prepared to deal with them.

 

October 2018

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