How to Prepare: Stay Healthy
By Gary Silverman, CFP®
As we continue discussing preparing for the next crisis, I want to cover your health. No, not your financial health, but rather your physical, mental, and spiritual health. I know a good amount about all three, at least enough to be dangerous. This will, therefore, be less prescriptive and more words of encouragement.
In all three areas, most of us know where improvements can be made. We likely know where we can go to get help. And for the most part, what is needed costs pretty much nothing…except time and perseverance. Not that those two commodities are easy for many of us to come by.
Need motivation, ideas, help? There is this thing called the Internet which has the answers for everything. The problem is that many of these answers contradict each other and many are patently wrong. If you’re good at deciphering the nonsense from the good advice, you know what to do. If information online overwhelms you, find a friend who has already tackled a similar issue and get help.
Now let’s talk about why.
In these days of COVID, it should be a bit more obvious why entering a crisis in good physical health can be handy. Indications are that there are several medical conditions which contribute to the severity, including the odds of dying, from the virus. While some of these conditions are beyond your ability to control (like blood-type) others can either be avoided, controlled, or lessened with medical intervention. Often that “medical” intervention involves diet and exercise.
Yet physical health goes beyond COVID. Fewer sick days mean more workdays, which means more money available that can be saved and invested. Various insurances can cost you less (and are available) with better health. You can do things when you are healthy that you can’t do when you’re ill. This could open new job opportunities, more recreational variety, and promote your mental health as well.
Talking about mental health…do so. There is still an unfortunate stigma in this area. There shouldn’t be. And this includes when you are talking with your doctor. Anxiety, depression, and a host of other issues are being controlled these days through drugs and therapies. Avail yourself to them and wake up wanting to meet the world rather than roll back under the covers to avoid it. [Mental health hint: Turn off the news.]
All health is personal and no more so than spiritual health. Whether your spiritual beliefs take the form of a higher power or as an aspect of mental health, studies have shown that people who develop their spirituality feel more connected to others, experience a greater sense of love, and can be more physically and mentally resilient.
Boiled down, my message on physical, mental, and spiritual health is: 1) Do something, and 2) Don’t do the wrong thing. Most won’t do anything. Some will be too scared about #2 that they don’t do #1 (I did mention to go find help). The remainder probably didn’t need this reminder anyway.
Next week, we get into crisis preparations involving money.
Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing.