Coping with financial, emotional effects of the government shutdown

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are in a stressful financial situation due to the government shutdown. Others are affected by it in more indirect ways.

“Watching the news all the time won’t help anyone,” said Baylor College of Medicine psychiatrist Dr. Asim Shah, “Being glued to the TV or radio all the time often causes more frustration, stress and anxiety.”

Relaxing

If you’re feeling anxious about the political situation, one way to cope is to become active in politics. It doesn’t matter which party you’re part of, he said, it’s important to pursue your congressman to reach some kind of settlement.

“Use your voice,” Shah said, “Being active in political forums, meetings, and contacting your state representatives is helpful, as one feels that their opinions are being heard.”

Preserving finances

Shah said that rather than focusing on financial uncertainty, people should think about what steps they can take to preserve their finances.

“Think more cautiously and diligently about your money,” Shah recommended, “Try not to spend unnecessarily, and be as prepared for the future as possible.”

Shah said that it’s best to reduce expenses, budget your spending, and avoid large purchases.

Keeping calm

Stressful situations like this can lead to anger, outrage and frustration, said Shah.

“The best way to deal with anger and frustration is to discuss the issues with family or friends and keep yourself busy in healthy ways,” he said.

Shah suggested reducing stress and staying busy by exercising, watching light TV shows – but not the news – and spending quality family time.

What works best for you when it comes to managing stressful situations?

Read more on coping with stress.

-By Jordan Magaziner

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