So for this months chat with Danny Smith at Radio Verulam on his Drivetime show, I thought we’d talk about ways to help you feel more secure in 2014.
(If you fancy listening to us, you can for ONE week only here, I’m at 5.30-6pm).
Christmas is a very stressful time that can make us feel insecure. Plus, although it seems as though the recession is turning around, I think it might take a bit longer to kick in for some parts of the country than others.
Lots of things make us feel secure: friendships, relationships, health, jobs, money and family. It’s about finding a balance that counts.
So for those worried about 2014, I thought that I’d give some tips on how to make sure that you are safe and sound:
1) Be nice.
I have a friend who is a ‘Nomad’ – i.e. technically someone who has nowhere to live. She’s been a nomad for nearly a year, and has always had somewhere to stay. The main reason being she is genuinely lovely. People love having her around (check out her blog, it’s fascinating reading). Being a nice person, must therefore be one of the the best insurances that there is. Never ignore your friends; you may need them one day!
Always be gracious and think the best of people; it’s amazing what can happen when you are like that as opportunities can come from everywhere (and if you are ungracious you will lose out).
2) Ask for help
But of course, she wouldn’t have got any help if she didn’t ask! If you let people know that there is a problem, then they will help out, and EVERYONE deserves help in a time of need.
There are also some great charities out there providing support like Homestart or food banks; there should be no shame in asking. When I spoke to someone from Homestart last week, she said that this year there are families struggling terribly, much more than in recent years. You are not the only ones. (A HUGE thank you to all our customers, friends and neighbours btw – we managed to collect a staggering 85 presents for Homestart Watford this Christmas!)
3) Give back in return
In return my friend helps people out – she’s been a godsend for us for the past few months. It’s quite true that people will get sick of a taker, but if you always make sure that you give in return (but don’t over give), then they will feel fulfilled by helping you. It might be that you can’t do anything in return for a while, but that’s OK. Also, it might be that you are limited in what you can do; don’t worry about that, and don’t under-estimate the value of what you CAN do.
4) Listen to your intuition
In a busy world, your intuition can save you time, and warn you of things that you are ignoring that could cause a problem. Taking time to chill every day for a few minutes, try a simple meditation, go for a walk, or have a bath, can really help you to hear your intuition more.
5) Don’t ignore your debts
They just get worse when ignored. You need to face them, be clear on your in and out goings and if there is a problem, get some advice and make a plan; check out the money advice service for free help. Don’t ever think that you ‘have to spend money’ – don’t get into debt because you feel you should keep up with presents or socialising.
6) As soon as possible save
Try putting a little away each week, even if it is just £1. Even if you are in debt. Aim to build up to 10% of your income. This sounds crazy, but it has a magical effect and it’s never too late to start.
7) Have a to do list
That way, things can’t creep up on you that might cause you trouble. But if you are very overwhelmed, put them on a ‘long term’ list and stick to 3 top priorities.
8) Take responsibility for your life
I don’t mean ‘take the blame’, but I do mean looking at what you’ve been feeling powerless about and taking responsibility for your part in it. Your attitude will affect your job and your relationships. Ironically it is very unattractive to be around someone who is full of excuses, always blaming everyone else and feeling victimised by situations that others see differently. Whereas someone who is strong enough to see their mistakes and their part in a situation is much more attractive in a relationship or workplace.
9) Take care of your health
Don’t ignore those niggles. Stop putting it all off. One of my best friends died 2 weeks ago – sometimes the body gets irritated with waiting for us and there are no more last chances. It doesn’t have to be momentous, just take little steps. A little more exercise, drinking enough water, improving your posture and breathing, and eating healthier will make a big difference.
10) Make contingency plans, then put them away
I don’t believe in worrying. But I do believe that insurance and planning ‘just incase’ is worth it. But once you’ve done it, put it away until you need it. Face your fears, don’t let them run you.
I wish you all a wonderful 2014, because we ALL deserve it this year!