Anxious and overwhelmed? Here’s how to find calm.

It’s an extraordinary and difficult time. The market is a roller coaster, people are stockpiling and isolating, our social calendars are empty. There is much uncertainty in the world. Of course we feel anxious. And it’s okay if you feel anxious, too.

But we are in it together. Our team, our clients, our colleagues and readers — all of us have a shared path forward. And we will collectively walk through each day, drawing strength from each other and our communities.

Our team has made some recent changes. We are working fully remote in the weeks ahead and conducting all meetings virtually, including those with clients. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of the guidance we’re following regarding self-care, social distancing, and mindfulness to support our mental and physical health.

Self-Care

We recognize we can only be our best selves for our clients if we prioritize our own mental health, so we’re sharing with you a few ways our team is practicing self-care as we navigate this time of social distancing:

  1. Nature. Walking, running, hikes with the kids and dogs (all with appropriate distancing, of course). Getting outside and enjoying nature without a phone or computer screen is relaxing and promotes a sense of eco-wellness.
  2. Friends and Family. FaceTime/Skype/Zoom calls with family and friends puts the ‘social’ in social distancing. Whether it’s group game night, a group Netflix watch party, or just catching up over coffee, being virtually together makes us feel better.
  3. Yoga and Meditation. Slowing down the moment, easing anxiety, promoting peacefulness — being mindful with yoga and meditation helps ground us and avoid worrying too much about the future.
  4. Writing. Sometimes we journal, sometimes at the end of each day we jot down three things we’re grateful for. But the act of expressing ourselves (and expressing gratitude for all the things we still have) helps take the edge off.
  5. Finding Your Bliss. Whether it’s exercise or reading, music or catching up on sleep, keeping a normal routine or forging a brand new one, finding activities that make us feel whole and fulfilled are more important than ever.

Impermanence

On our first fully virtual staff meeting this week, Abacus CEO Brent Kessel guided us through a short mindfulness meditation. Afterwards, he posed this question:
“What can we put our faith, trust, and optimism in?”

Every answer is unique, of course. But even in crisis there is always something or someone we can hold onto, we just must first remember to ask ourselves the question. What is the answer for you?

We must also remember that very few situations in life are permanent, that change is constant, and that even the hardest trials will inevitably shift. We can still choose how we react to stress, and we encourage everyone to do it with sanity, humanity, and when appropriate, even good humor.

Serve Others

One of Abacus’s core values is to serve others. In times of stress and anxiety, there are many psychological and emotional benefits to stepping outside of yourself to help fellow humans who are also struggling. So call someone you haven’t called in awhile to check on them, email an old friend, make sure elderly neighbors or those less fortunate in your community have what they need. Anxiety is nothing in the face of generosity and kindness.

Here are some other ways we can serve our community:

  • Donate to your local food bank.
  • Donate to an organization that helps the homeless. The homeless and underserved are particularly vulnerable during economic downturns.
  • If you’re young and healthy, use social media and offer your services to help the elderly or immunocompromised get groceries (or other tasks that may not be so easy for them right now).
  • Small businesses are hurting, so buy gift cards now from your favorite places; you’ll help keep them afloat, and you’ll have somewhere fabulous to go once this is eventually over.

Social Distancing

While our Abacus team remains healthy and here for you, all of us have friends and loved ones who are elderly or immunocompromised. We are practicing being good global citizens to reduce any possible transmission to those who are most at risk. This will protect us, our families, our clients, and our communities.

For the time being, we ask all of our friends, family, and clients to please take your health and the health of your community seriously. Stay home when at all possible, wash your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds, and check in periodically with the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) for current updates on other best practices.

Above all, be kind to yourself and please reach out to your Abacus advisor for anything you need. We promise we’ll help all of us get through it together.

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