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TIPS & INFORMATION ON MANAGING YOUR FINANCES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC…

I am sure I am not alone in knowing someone be it a family member, friend or acquaintance who has lost their job due to the pandemic.

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I am also sure I am not alone when I say that finance worries can affect your health in a big way. Stress creates many health problems and can even flare up old ones. We are going through an exceedingly difficult period now and getting our finances in order is essential. People suffering from mental health and anxiety due to the Covid Pandemic will struggle even more.

I have spent some time online looking through different sites for information and topics on finance related information. From savings, budgets, retirement planning, mortgages and personal loans and I think the one thing they all have in common is that you need to calculate anything related to your income and outgoings.

Health is something I write about daily and that includes my own health which as many of my readers will know has taken a bit of a nosedive recently. So, I did take a quick look at Health Insurance. I do have my own but like many insurance policies be it for health, home or car you try and keep the monthly payments down by adding on an excess amount which you pay yourself before the insurance company starts paying for your claim. Researching a bit further on the cost of self-pay for health treatments lead me down the personal loan route, to see if that is something worth thinking about before my next renewal.

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Loans, according to Bloomberg are not just for anyone even large companies like American Airlines are taking them out but they say that it’s the small businesses, who are the beating heart of the US economy and the ones who have needed Covid loans the most. The UK have Covid Bounce Back Loans for small companies for the same reason. But, what about Mr/Mrs Joe Public who is retired, has saved all his/her life for retirement and is now finding their funds diminishing by the day? This pandemic is certainly something they will not have planned for and although the younger generation may think it’s such a long way off they don’t need to worry it’s important that they understand how no one knows what life is going to throw at us.

I found a great list of expert and useful tips from Forbes on ‘Financial Tips for Surviving Covid-19’, which included making a list of ‘separating wants from needs’, ‘taking advantage of a line of credit’, and or ‘utilizing your credit cards’ and more.

Of course, before trying out anything it is essential that you work out your monthly income and outgoings. Take into consideration that this pandemic may last another six months at the very least and we are about to enter Autumn then Winter when our heating and lighting will be on a lot more than it has been on for the last six months.

Do not be frightened to get in touch with any of your own insurance companies and comparison sites to find the best one for you. It is a minefield out there but if you tread carefully you can get through it. I found this great site called Pigly which has calculators for different loans, insurance and even a budget calculator with budget planning, paycheck estimator and cash flow etc.

Dealing with your finances at any time is not everybody’s idea of having fun but needs must now so look at it with your eyes fully open and not half shut. I am a big fan of the Money Magpie site which also has lots of tips on hidden expenses to include in your budget plan which include ‘optometrist appointments’, prescription medication, books and audio subscriptions, house contents insurance, car maintenance, boiler maintenance and much more. And of course the well known Money Saving Expert’s site has MSE Coronavirus Guides which include Coronavirus Finance and Bills Help.

Once you have sat down and written your budget plan, even if it’s not looking so good it will still feel like you have lifted a weight from your shoulders as you have actually starting doing something about it. Just remember to use reputable companies when looking for any further dealings.

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ART THERAPY – PAINTING BY NUMBERS…

Finding something relaxing to do to take your mind off the Covid situation over the last few months has been quite a challenge. But, as many of my readers know I’m a keen and enthusiastic crafter and I found a number of crafts to keep me occupied.

More recently, I had sent off for a Paint By Numbers Kit which was flying over to me all the way from America.

I was looking for some colourful artwork for my bathroom and suddenly thought about giving it a go myself. I had looked at Paint By Number Kits (for adults) online on numerous occasions and decided this could be my next project. To be honest with you I could not understand why it has not been as fashionable as it is now before. Paint By Numbers is a relatively simple concept. You buy the outline of a painting that is sectioned off, each given a corresponding number. You will then use paints with numbers on the top of each pot within the kit. It’s that simple.

It’s an easy and satisfying way to get through the next six months. You don’t need to know anything about art or even have an artistic ability ( I certainly haven’t) you just have to be keen to give it a go. You will then end up with your own personalised wall decoration. A beautiful canvas artwork made by yourself to pop on your wall, gift it to someone or even sell it online.

It would also make the perfect gift and with Christmas coming up in the not to distant future a perfect gift for someone else to enjoy. Paint By Numbers Kits used to be something just for the kids but now there are lots to choose from suitable for adults to paint.

To me it’s like a Complementary Therapy in a kit. A very therapeutic process to help you relax and yet concentrate on your painting and take your mind off your pain.

They provide you with a high quality canvas, paints and brushes so you are good to go straight away. Mine arrived nicely packed and once I’d opened it I was surprised at the size of it but then again I’m still in inches and not centimetres so that did not surprise me. I wasn’t blessed with the gift of art drawing although I can copy the odd flower and I have always loved art.

I decided on a Cacti picture as I knew if I decided to not put it in my bathroom it would look great in any room as I have lots of plants around the house. I also thought that a similar colour theme ( mainly green) might be easier to follow for my first try. It has everything in the pack with all the colours and paint brushes so I was keen to get cracking right from the start.

I initially left it on the kitchen table but then moved it into my craft room to sit and do it at leisure rather than looking at it in the kitchen and thinking I should do more work on it. The last thing you want is to feel under pressure to get your Paint By Numbers Kit finished. If you went to a typical painting lesson you would focus on methods and techniques to achieve a result. The purpose to identify and practice formal painting skills. But in mindfulness the painting skill or techniques are not important. What counts is the process of creating.

It is so relaxing that I would recommend it to anyone feeling low or in pain as it is yet another way to escape the doom and gloom of life at the moment. It will involve a lot of detailed painting but I will really enjoy the challenge. I am what you might call well and truly hooked.

For people working it is a great way to relieve the work pressure and take you to another place into another world. If you haven’t tried this before then this is most definitely the time to give it a go. It’s definitely a new and rewarding hobby for me which has been on my bucket list of things I wanted to try for a long time.

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci came up with the idea of Paint By Numbers. Paint by numbers kits were invented in 1950 by Dan Robbins.

Robbins invented the kits after he was hired on to work at Palmer Show Card Paint Company, where he first worked as an illustrator for children’s books. But after a period of time, the company’s founder, Max Klein, told Robbins he wanted him to come up with a way to sell more paint. A creative thinker, Robbins came up with the paint by numbers kit, a hobby which would help people to enjoy the art of painting.

Paint By Numbers Kits come in a number of different themes from Children’s Room ideas to an Abstract, the world is really your oyster. It is definitely on my Christmas present list to buy for a few friends. Give it a go, you will not be disappointed.

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3 GREAT BOOKS ON MINDFULNESS TIPS FOR YOUR HEALTH…

I have written a few articles recently on how mindfulness can help your health. From mindful journaling, colouring, yoga, and many spiritual practices including prayer or meditation can help to develop the resilience ‘muscle’, “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction”, which was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and helps you to develop the ability to bounce back and helps prevent PTSD, which may develop as a result of the stress we’ve been under of the last few months and the COVD-19 pandemic.

A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by [Bob Stahl, Elisha Goldstein, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli EdD  MA]

 

A thought is just a thought: it doesn’t reflect reality. This, according to Prima Magazine is the theory behind MCT – Metacognitive Therapy – similar to cognitive therapy which has evolved out of some 20 years of research by scientists at the University of Manchester. Studies suggest it has promise in treating anxiety and depression but it can also help people with mental health conditions. So, the next time you have a negative thought, recognise that it is just a thought and move on.

Metacognitive Therapy: Distinctive Features (CBT Distinctive Features Book 1) by [Peter Fisher, Adrian Wells]

It has been shown that just 10 minutes a day meditating can have a significant effect on anxiety and stress. It can relieve chronic pain, increase creativity, and make you feel sharper. Just find a nice spot to sit down and focus on your breath and take in the sounds and smells around you. Think of how your hands are resting and the position of your feet and relax and clear your mind for 10 minutes. I find this amazing and when I go for my afternoon rest I always start it with this relaxation technique.

Dr. Patrizia Collard has written a great book on ‘The Little Book of Meditation‘, she is a mindfulness teacher and psychotherapist.

 

The Little Book of Meditation: 10 minutes a day to more relaxation, energy and creativity by [Patrizia Collard]