Relationships & The Economy

During uncertain economic times, mental health experts suggest one of the ways to best deal with the many associated stresses is to make sure you have a strong support network of friends and family. Friends and family provide an on-gong source of comfort, guidance, and fellowship. Family and friends can be a source of self-esteem, affection, and good times. In times of stress, they offer relief and hope.

If you think your relationships need a little improvement, here are a few tips to think about:

  • Make a mental list of all the significant relationships in your life. Naturally, you’ll start with your immediate family, including your children, parents and spouse or partner. But don’t forget about friends and coworkers—even your boss.

  • Honestly examine each of the relationships. Decide whether you are satisfied with the relationship. If not, determine why not. If it’s something that’s within your control to change, try making that change and see what happens.

  • Think about what you can do to improve the relationship. Do you need to spend more time alone with your spouse? Do you need to talk more honestly with your boss about your job or career path? Is there a friend with whom you’ve lost touch?

  • Pick up the phone, send an e-mail or rediscover the lost art of letter writing to reconnect. While the first two suggestions come easier to most of us, a long overdue letter (or even a postcard) will thrill the person who gets it and let them know that—even if it’s been a while—you’re thinking of them.

  • Start small. The best way to achieve a long-term goal is to break it down into small, manageable steps. For example, if your goal is to get to know your coworkers better, suggest a monthly potluck lunch.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Improving and maintaining personal relationships are important aspects of a healthy emotional life and can be an important component in dealing with the general anxiety associated with the current state of our economy. The LIFELINE program can be a good resource. Call CONFIDENTIALLY at 1-800-284-7575. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and remember, services at the LIFELINE program are FREE.