It's Time To Restructure Your Debt
July 5, 2016
You don't need an economics degree to understand that if a company is spending more money than it generates, the business will eventually have to take drastic action to remain sustainable.
We have seen this scenario play out for over a decade in radio, mostly in the form of yearly layoffs and debt restructuring. Even after drastic expense cuts, we still see reports of lawsuits as the seemingly nonstop whispers of bankruptcy swirl around two of the nation's biggest broadcasters.
While financial bankruptcy is undoubtedly a leading contributor to stress, a sense of overwhelm, and can paralyze a company from creating positive momentum, these are also the symptoms associated with a different kind of debt. One that is a far less talked about form of bankruptcy, but can affect our mental well-being.
After working with clients in 5 countries, I've learned that this is a far more frequent phenomenon than financial bankruptcy.
We live in a time where we are working longer hours, carrying more responsibility, and feeling an intense push to "prove" our worth to our employers. In fact, the average American now works 48 hours a week, a full workday more than what was once considered the norm.
Additionally, we have a laundry list of responsibilities away from the office. We have romantic and family relationships that need to be nurtured. There are children who must be taken care of. We have community organizations that we volunteer for and personal friendships that we want to maintain.
And while not all of these relationships require a financial investment, they do require us to make a substantial energetic commitment.
As a result, we withdraw from our "emotional bank," giving freely to everyone else around us. We work 10 hour days only to take more work home with us. We spend time making sure our family is taken care of. We sit on the phone for hours with friends who complain about their life.
Just like financial bankruptcy, this will lead to a depletion of our mental resources. We no longer sleep well, our eating habits go downhill, we are quick to lose our temper with loved ones, and ultimately we feel unfulfilled and disconnected from our purpose.
Yet, in contrast to financial bankruptcy, which inspires us to cut our spending and create a better plan, we treat emotional bankruptcy as something that we just need to "suck up and deal with." We tell ourselves to push through and just keep doing what we are doing.
That typically doesn't end well.
So how do you take charge of your life again?
Just as in the case of financial bankruptcy, you have to find ways to cut your emotional spending and increase your earning.
What are the relationships in your life where you are investing time but not seeing the ROI? Everybody has the one friend who will spend hours complaining on the phone but can't seem to be there for you if you need advice. Cut them out of the budget.
Do you find yourself on your laptop answering emails at 9:30 at night at the expense of quality time with loved ones? Set a better boundary with your job.
What are the activities that you used to enjoy but are adversely affecting you? Did that glass of wine at dinner turn into drinking an entire bottle as a way to "relax?" Are sugar and junk food your way to stuff down feelings? It's time to make a new ritual.
Are you trying to function on 5-hours of sleep because you binge watched the latest season of Orange is the New Black? Turn off Netflix.
As we create our "spending cuts" with our schedule, we must find new ways to "earn." In this case, it's finding time for yourself.
I am consistently amazed by how many of my clients feel that they can't take all of the vacation and personal time that they are entitled to. This is your chance to recharge and renew your mind and body. Use it all. There is nothing wrong with needing a "mental health day."
If you can get to bed earlier, you create space to wake up earlier and get yourself into the gym or a yoga class. Perhaps you can begin a meditation practice that will create a more intentional start to your day. Maybe you reconnect with that creative outlet that you have told yourself there is no time for.
Self-care can vary greatly from person to person. But it is non-negotiable.
So get honest with yourself and take an inventory of your "emotional cash flow." What people and activities are draining your account? Can you make a decision today to eliminate them from your life?
After that, what are the things you need to do to replenish your resources? What needs to be added to raise your level of happiness?
Leave a comment below and state your intention to the world!
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