6 Financially Savvy Ways To Get Emotional Support

In 2009 I lost my job.  The software company I was working for eliminated my division.  I had no money and was living at home with my parents.  I was 26.

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Looking back I felt really sad and lonely during this point in my life.  I dated too much just to feel connected.  I went out and drank a lot of alcohol to cover the pain.  I spent far too much time isolating in my apartment sleeping until noon.

I often hear from coordinators of care how meaningful the time is with their loved one.  Certain periods however can be emotionally draining.  Some are overwhelming.  A tough reality of caring for those who are ill or aging is that sometimes it feels like too much.

What matters in times of emotionally difficulty is tools.  Do you have the tools to connect?  Do you have the tools to get support?  Do you have the tools to receive love?

I am shocked six years later how affordable the most effective emotional support tools are.  The vast majority are free.  Most others are a few bucks a week.

Put together these tools have changed my life.

I want to share those tools with you now.  I want you to feel that when you seek help you aren’t breaking your bank account.  I want you to find affordable solutions that give you the support you richly deserve.

Take A Moment And Look Around For Love

Before I share my tools I want to share one lesson.  It took me six years to figure it out.  If you’re struggling emotionally take a moment and look around at the love you have.  Often it’s hard to see.  But if you stop and look carefully you may be surprised by what you find.

In 2009 my best friend called me every day.  A family member helped me out financially.  My roommates took me for movies and dancing to keep my spirits up.

The primary challenge I faced is that I didn’t know how to accept help.  Put a different way, I didn’t lack love.  Love was all around me.  I just couldn’t see it.  So take stock.  There are probably people around you right now asking how they can help.

Next time they ask to take you to coffee or call to see how you’re doing, be honest with them.  Share.  Connection is the solution to pain.

 

Top 6 Affordable Emotional Support Tools

1. Support Groups ($8 a month)

I walked into my first support group in 2009.  It was in a church basement.  One guy started yelling about his life within minutes of me getting there.  Another guy slept through the entire meeting.

My overwhelming feeling was “I don’t belong here.”

I thought I couldn’t learn anything from people who looked and sounded different from me.  This is a common perspective of people when the first walk into a support group or 12 step program.

Stick with it.  Go to a few meetings.  It becomes easier.  Just listening can be powerful.  You don’t need to say anything.

The Cost: Most group support groups cost $2 per meeting.  4 times a month x 2 = $8.

How To Save Money: Many support groups suggest the $2 donation.  If you don’t have the funds you don’t need to pay and can still participate anyway.

2. Therapy ($150 a month)

When I first thought about going to a therapist a friend said to me, “JP, do you know any therapist in real life that you actually like?”

That’s the kind of background I came from.  Therapists are quacks, jokers and worthless.

What changed it for me was a good friend.  An old roommate of mine dated a wonderful guy who went to a therapist.  I respected him a lot.  He changed my perception.

So when the time came where I felt backed up against a wall emotionally I googled therapists in my area.  A couple weeks later I walked into my therapist’s office.

Therapy is one of those tools that has a big negative stigma in our country.  If you’re considering it I recommend asking a friend who is or has seen a therapist what their experience has been like.  This will make it more accessible and less scary.

See multiple therapists.  View each initial session as an interview.  Fit is really important.

The Cost: $75 a session.  2 times a month = $150.

How To Save Money: Medical insurance covers mental health services.  If you have a good policy they will cover 50% – 90% of the cost of a session.

3. Meditation (Free)

I started meditating in 2010.  There are many forms but don’t worry.  Just sitting and watching your breathing can have a significant impact.

If you want to learn some of the basics I recommend “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” and “Where Ever You Go, There You Are.”

A great way to get started is with an app for guided meditation.  Check out Headspace or Calm.  Both basic versions are free.  Right now you can do a 2 min meditation on the calm.com website if you want to try it out.

Meditation is particularly helpful for distancing yourself from your feelings.  While you meditate you watch your feelings come and go.  This process can be extremely helpful in managing stress.

The Cost: $0

How To Save Money: No need!

4. Open Up To A Friend (Free)

This sounds easy.  However if you don’t have the tools it’s actually quiet hard, if not impossible.

A good place to start is to ask a friend you trust how they get support.  This will start an open dialogue where you can see what questions they ask.  Take notice of the language they use.

Here are some opener questions to consider:

  • “I was wondering if you might have a few minutes to listen. At this point I’m not looking for advice.  Instead just a listening ear and some support.”
  • “I feel…”
  • “Can we go grab coffee sometime?”

Stick with someone you really trust.  And then let it rip.  Share with them the fear, anger, and tough feelings that you have.  Just getting it out can have a massive impact.

Remember focus on how you actually feel not on what you think people want you to say.

The Cost: $0

How To Save Money: No need!

5. Get Up Early, Or Sleep Late (Free)

Our bodies need different things at different times.  Extra sleep can be a huge help.  If you’re not getting 7 hours of sleep a night start there.

Getting up early has significant impact.  I get up each day at 5am.  I workout, read, write and eat for over three hours before I head into work.

I feel significantly more in control of my day because I am able to get ahead of it.  I do several things each morning just for me.

If you’re not a morning person make sure you spend that extra time for yourself in the evening.

The Cost: $0

How To Save Money: No need!

6. Work On Your Primary Support Relationship (Free)

For most of us our primary support relationship is our romantic partner.  When this relationship is strong, vibrant, and enriching everything in life feels better.

Caregiving responsibilities often put stress on this relationship.  Make sure you take time out for a date night or walk around the block.

Don’t sacrifice this time.  It’s critical to your happiness and well-being.

The Cost: $0

How To Save Money: No need!

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Published: September 3, 2015
By: JP Adams

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