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Survival tips for 2010

Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2010 | 12:00 AM



Wendel Abel - I AM WHAT I THINK

By most estimates 2009 was a difficult year. The recession played havoc in all our lives. We had to cope with price increases, job losses and a reduction in our buying power, but we survived. Yet, it's not over. The 2010 predictions are even tougher. Be guided by these survival tips:

1. You are not alone. We are all in this together. This does not make the pain of surviving any less but it makes it easier to bear. Remember, tough times don't last forever but tough people do. We have always survived tough times. We are 'recession proof'.

2. Don't panic. As we think about the cost-of-living increases and the possibility of more job loss, don't panic. Most people survive a job loss. The bend in the road is not the end of the road.

3. Spend less. This year, we have to spend less on everything. Many of us buy things we don't need. We could be spending as part of an addiction or for retail therapy. This year, take hold of yourself. Separate the wants from the needs.

4. Save more. Of course, it is difficult to save during a recession, but try to. Force yourself to save. Try not to use your credit cards, buy only with cash.

5. Conserve, conserve, conserve. Monitor your telephone calls and make them shorter. Become a 'light police' and monitor the use of electricity at home. Get rid of the clothes dryer and rely on nature to dry your clothes, and monitor the use of your washing machine.

6. Turn clutter into cash. We all have a lot of things around the house that we don't need and have not used. Get together with some neighbours, do a garage sale, earn extra money and donate some to charity. Garage sales are great and yes, they are popular in Jamaica. All you have to do is post a sign in the neighbourhood or place an advertisement in The Gleaner. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

7. Stay positive. We have to be calm during the storm. Stay on top of things and try to be positive. Avoid all the negative people, places and things in your life. We simply have to play the hand that life deals us and remember it is a hand to win or a hand to lose. Let's win this year. Attitude is everything.

8. Exercise for your health. This year, eat less, eat healthier and remember to exercise regularly to maintain your health. This is certainly one of my resolutions for the new year. Join me and support me as I exercise for my health.

Let's have a Happy New Year as we survive 2010.

Dr Wendel Abel is a consultant psychiatrist and head, Section of Psychiatry, Dept Of Community Health and Psychiatry, University of the West Indies, 977-1108; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.