Dealing with Uncertain Times

Oct 13, 2011

Are you discouraged by all the “bad news” today?  Does stress threaten to derail your ability to be productive and happy?  Hear are a few tips:

  • Are the headlines and lead news stories getting you down?  Is stress or discouragement impacting your ability to be happy and productive?  Here are a few tips offered by Karen Bermel, LMHP, MS, at Bergan Mercy’s Alegent Health Psychiatric Associates, and Dr. Roger Pentzien, medical director of the Lasting Hope Recovery Center:
  • Limit your news intake. The bad often is what we see and hear most about, so seniors should continue to stay informed but not to the point that you’re heating things up and literally glued to the doom and gloom of the news.
  • Adopt a realistic view of what is happening around you. Don’t take a Pollyanna view that everything will be OK, do take the attitude that you’re doing the best you can.
  • How you deal with stress always comes back to self-care. No matter what is going on around you, make sure you get enough sleep, drink enough water, get enough exercise and watch your diet.
  • Make sure you have a support network that includes spiritual guidance. It’s important to lean on family and friends for assistance, but people who have a spiritual perspective typically fare better in stressful situations than those who do not have that sort of support.
  • Know the difference between stress and depression. Often, a combination of anxiety and stress can manifest itself much like anxiety and depression. If you are losing sleep or are unable to work or cope with typical day-to-day activities, you may want to seek professional help.

Things to consider:

Prepare for contingencies.

What if your adult children lose their house and have to move back in with you? Think about what your expectations of them will be – even bedtimes and food preferences can be sources of friction – and make sure they know what those are before you allow them to join you.

Don’t neglect the basics.

Do you have a will (57 percent of Americans don’t) and medical power of attorney? Have you given any thought to the possibility you’ll need long-term care insurance? Do you have a financial plan?

Don’t forget your friends.

Social networks take on heightened importance in a troubled economy. Find low-cost ways to socialize with friends, such as potluck dinners. Consider swapping services with friends. For example, rather than pay a kennel to watch pets, trade with another senior who has similar pets.

Keep learning.

Take a course to acquire or enhance computer skills if you’re thinking of re-entering the workforce, or even if you’re not. Or take a cooking course or some other class through a local community college or senior center. It’s a chance to socialize and get a feeling of accomplishment.


It’s a great way to reduce stress, enhance health, and improve your outlook.

Many more resources here.