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Do you feel overwhelmed?

A few years ago, we came home from a fun weekend away over New Years to our house. As I opened the door, I felt wave of steamy air hit me and stepped into a puddle of water inside our house. Oh no.

A pipe had burst in our laundry room. We have a hot water boiler that pushes hot water through pipes around our house for heat. One of the pipes had frozen while we were away, burst, and melted in those two or three days. Our furnace and heating systems were on the whole time so when it thawed, water gushed everywhere.

In those moments when it’s easy to become overwhelmed, I’ve found that the most effective thing to do is focus and just start working. One step at a time, make your world small, and focus on what you can without looking too much at the big picture.

As COVID-19 shut down everything, we reacted in the same way. Keep your world small, take the next step, then the next, then the next, and control what you can because that’s all you can do. From time to time, it’s OK to look at the big picture, wonder about the what ifs and let that overwhelming sensation go over you but snap out of it and do something tangible.

I’m not an expert on this, I’m just an expert on what works for me. 🙂

To that end, my friend Miranda has a great post on what you can do to help:

What Can I Do to Help? How to Do Good When You Feel You Can’t Make a Difference [Miranda Marquit] – “During times of stress and upheaval, it’s easy to feel like it’s too big and you can’t do anything. Here’s how to do good no matter where you are.”

If you aren’t sure what your next steps should be finance-wise, Melody has a few good ideas:

Calming Your Nerves When Facing Your Own Financial Uncertainty [Cash for Tacos] – “The reality is that we all need money to live. We have rent to pay, loans to pay back, and food to buy. So when our source of income is threatened by some unforeseen circumstance, it’s easy to feel a rush of nerves. It’s a scary situation.But there are steps we can take to help us calm our nerves when faced with financial uncertainty.”

And just because we all need some positive stories, here’s a nice feel-good story amidst the chaos.

Georgia bar owner pulls $3,700 stapled to walls for her unemployed staff [] – “The Sand Bar in Tybee Island, Georgia, has a new look, after owner Jennifer Knox decided to pull down dollar bills that had been stapled to the walls and give the money to her unemployed staff.”

I love local spots like what this one seems to be, it’s great they’re doing something clever to help out their folks.

This next article, which is not related to personal finance at all, is a review of a paper about individuality and offers up a definition that is different than what you’d expect. This a little bit of science and math involved but you can largely skip it if you’re willing to accept the premise (read until there’s a discussion of entropy, then skip to “Mutual Information and the Individual”).

Life is Made of Unfair Coin Flips [Alex Danco] – “We’ve uneasily settled on three consensus criteria for biological individuality. First, individuals consume energy and use it to persist and increase in relative frequency. Second, individuals adapt to their environments. Third, the component parts that make up an individual have tightly coordinated relationships with each other.”

Stay safe Apexian!