Daily Archives: January 25, 2015

Tigger’s Top 15 Tiny Steps to Minimize Depression in Eeyore

Hey, depressed person who may be reading this. Thanks for reading. Try one of the things on this list TODAY. 

A. Listen to music that you LOVE! There may be more sad songs out there than happy ones, lyrically speaking, but look for songs that energize you, that lift you up a little or a lot! I took my daughter to a My Chemical Romance concert a few years ago, before I was into them, but I am now, and every time I hear a song by them, I remember the huge adventure of that concert and it just lifts my spirits. 

B. Exercise! Most people who are feeling depressed are definitely not feeling the love for getting up and getting moving. This is where the concept of having an exercise appointment comes in and can sometimes be enough motivation to get going. If it’s in the budget, get a personal trainer! Part of their job is listening to you and finding positive things to say. 

C. Medication! For me and many others, it helps tremendously. My brain knows when it is on the med that works with my brain chemistry. Lots of people are able to take it for a period of time and then wean off of it. Many others take it for the long-term. 

D. Offer yourself compassion! Depressed people are well-versed in listing all of their failures, shortcomings, mistakes, errors, blunders, oversights, bumblings, and overall general personal suckage. Try thinking kind thoughts toward yourself — the kind you would extend to a child who had just skinned their knee, or a beloved pet dog or cat. 
E. Read! Enjoy different kinds of books. Read books that allow you to escape into a fantasy world where you can use your imagination. Read books that teach you something about life. There are literally hundreds of resources to help you find books that will interest you, not the least of which is your local librarian. 

F. Watch interesting movies and television shows! This could be expanded to include YouTube videos. Trick here is not to get hypnotized by the one-eyed monster and end up even less motivated. Watching things should be done judiciously, and should bring you at least a smidgen of joy.

G. Maintain a normal day/night routine. Experiment with going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day. Seems that turning off screens 30 or 60 minutes before bed is a very good idea for your brain, which needs to settle down to sleep. Don’t check Instagram if you wake up in the night!

H. Drink some water! Eat some fruits and vegetables! Depression demands Tostitos, coke, Froot Loops, and ice cream. Yeah, that’s because Depression wants to intensify itself and junk food does the trick. Eating REAL foods helps strengthen the REAL you. 

I. Find a pal you can text when you are feeling down and let them know how you are feeling. Depression wants us to sit alone, in a dark room, and focus on how we have no friends, no one cares, and it’ll never get better. Not true. Even if you don’t feel close to anyone right now, there are a lot of people out there who would be willing to provide this type of support. 

J. Clean up something, or declutter for a few minutes. Choose one square foot to clean up, or one small task, like clearing all the trash and dishes from your nightstand. Even a tiny step like this is able to improve your mood, in many instances.

K. Spend a bit of money. A bit. Don’t impulse spend on anything more expensive than $6.34, but go shopping or even window shopping. It gets you out of the house, gives you the opportunity to greet and be greeted by another human, and shifts your state, even if only a bit.

L. Go through the door of your house to the actual outdoors. Whether it is to walk to the end of the driveway, walk or drive to the local library or coffeehouse, or just let the sunshine pour onto your head, do it. Even five minutes outside is better than 24 hours inside. 

M. Pet your cat or dog if you have one. Or even your son’s stuffed Baymax character. Baymax is soft and soothing. 

N. Laugh on purpose. Even if there is nothing funny. Lie down on the floor and just make a belly laugh occur. You’ll probably feel sheepish at first, since you know the laughing doesn’t match how your insides feel, but you will be amazed at how laughter, even fake laughter, can make a difference.

And a bonus route: Set a time for 15 minutes to get yourself started on a task, any task. Taking a shower. Washing the dishes. Writing. Walking. 

And a bonus bonus! Sometime when you feel more like yourself, create your own list of routes to minimize your depression. Seems like making choices while depressed can be extremely challenging, so make a plan in the light for the darkness that may come again. 

Top Ten Must-do’s for Credit Card Users who Abhor and Loathe Debt but Can’t Keep Track of Cash in Envelopes to Save Their Life

All the smart financial people tell you to “cut up your credit cards.” If I was so inclined, I’d even put some links here to prove it. Dave Ramsay for sure advocates this. Suze Orman probably does. Warren Buffett most likely says this, but easy for him to say, amirite, since he can buy the entire credit card company multiple times over. 
Well, I’m here to tell you that credit cards are a boon to mankind. If I get a $100 atm, I will keep track of $57.00 of it and the rest will typically have to go under the “miscellaneous” category. If I use my credit card, I can account for every penny spent. If you look at the statistics, I think the credit card companies are probably making out better than the consumer (imagine if I had an actual statistic for you), but the point is, you can work the system.
Must-do #1 for Smart Credit Carding
Remember credit card companies are not your friend. They are not your enemy, but they are not your friend. Their business is making money, and money they do make. Balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, over-limit charges, interest, late fees — savvy business people, these companies. If you decide to call them and ask them to reverse a charge, or cut you some slack just this one time, remember that they may do so, but just as likely they won’t. If you are going to use a credit card, know their policies and follow them.
Must-do #2 for Smart Credit Carding
Utilize your smartphone. Most banks and credit card companies have apps. Use them! There are multiple budgeting apps (Mint is a good one). Wunderlist is a fantastic list-making app, which has revolutionized our family grocery shopping (an area we tend to overspend if not careful). We are able to share the list between multiple people so anyone can add or delete an item. 
Must-do #3 for Smart Credit Carding
Understand the time frame your bank or credit card needs to process a payment, a charge, and a credit. This gap can make the difference between staying on budget and accidentally going over in your “hot” categories. My hot categories are groceries, restaurants,  and entertainment. YMMV. Nothing more irritating than getting a late fee because you didn’t set up the payment long enough before the due date. Be aware when a credit is not going to appear until your next statement as that can impact your monthly payoff amount.
Must-do #4 for Smart Credit Carding
BE ON TIME. Plan ahead! Set a reminder on your phone calendar. Write it on a desk calendar. Set up auto-pay. Whatever it takes. Be consistently on time, as this is one of the best ways to demonstrate to yourself that you are managing your cards wisely and responsibly.
Must-do #5 for Smart Credit Carding
Absolutely, positively have a monthly spending plan that you create before the month begins and live by the entire  month through. Do not use a credit card if you do not have a spending plan. A monthly spending plan should take into consideration all of your projected income, your fixed bills, your one-time bills, birthdays or special occasions, and any other spending you may need to do that month. Your spending plan must have zero as the bottom line. That is, you take your projected income, and identify where every single dollar is going to go, be it savings, retirement, debt reduction (for the days before you got it together), expenses, or identified spending money. 
Must-do #6 for Smart Credit Carding.
Do not impulse buy anything over $6.34. That means no plane tickets, no fancy dress for the upcoming soiree, no new furniture marked down just for today. If you have plane tickets, fancy dress, or furniture in your spending plan, by all means, go for it. But NO impulse buying anything over $6.34. Also be aware if you are impulse buying multiple items under the $6.34 limit. Might need to lower the limit. 
Must-do #7 for Smart Credit Carding
Keep things as simple as you can. Five different financial institutions (banks, credit unions, credit card companies) are going to be way harder to keep track of than one or two. If you currently have five or more, look at them and see if any can be eliminated. For every institution you do have, be absolutely clear on what your username and password is to simplify the process of paying a bill or checking a balance. I once broke up with Kohls’ because their online system was so difficult to use, but it really boiled down to my failure to be absolutely clear on what their policies were, and what my username and ever-changing password were.
Must-do #8 for Smart Credit Carding
Be accountable to someone. Your spouse, significant other, parent, child, friend, someone. It is the exact same principle that you learn about in AA. When you go off on your own and think you can handle the temptation of alcohol (or spending, in this case), you are putting yourself in danger. If you are not willing to truly be held accountable by someone else, do not use credit cards unless you have an established track record of paying your balance off every month. 
Must-do #9 for Smart Credit Carding
Take the time you need to set up your system. Install your budgeting software and understand how to use it. Have your accounts registered online and know the logins, passwords, websites, and policies. Figure out your preferred method of keeping abreast of your spending and how your spending is coinciding with your plan. Excel (and Numbers, on Mac) are great programs for keeping track of your spending in your “hot” categories. There is simply nothing like knowing exactly what you are spending in a category that will help you stay on top of your spending plan, and your spending.
Must-do #10 for Smart Credit Carding
Always be ready to revise your plan to meet your current needs. Be aware of sound financial planning advice. Do build an emergency fund as soon as possible of $1000. (Dave Ramsey’s baby step #1) Be intentional about paying off any current debts. Save up for large purchases. Stay on top of your monthly plan and notice areas that need closer attention. 
Credit cards can and do get people into debt. So, you have to go into using them with eyes WIDE open and enough humility to realize that it can happen to anyone. But, when you can use cards wisely and judiciously, you can realize some true benefits. 
What other must-do’s do you have in place for using credit cards wisely?