Now is the Time to Jumpstart Your Emergency Fund

The current COVID-19 outbreak is not only a public health concern, it also has far-reaching financial impacts. There are still plenty of things you can do to stay financially healthy during this challenging time. Consider starting an emergency fund.  Now more than ever an emergency fund can be a life saver for individuals who find themselves home or away from work for an extended period of time.

We’ve all heard about the best practice of having three to six months of expenses saved for an emergency fund. While that is a great goal for some people, that can be an overwhelming place to start for others. Instead, consider saving what you can while you can.

If you are working from home, think about purchases you aren’t making anymore- coffee on your way to work and picking up lunch on your way to or from a meeting.  What about that afternoon trip to the break room for a snack?  Now that you are not spending money on these items, why not save it? You might think these small amounts can’t make a difference in your saving.  Not true, these small amounts add up.  Would you believe that you can save $100 in 30 days?  It’s April and guess what, it has 30 days. Take this challenge to jumpstart your emergency fund.  Once you get the hang of it you can improvise for months with 31 days.  Regardless of your current financial situation, this small step can get you closer to establishing an emergency fund so that you can feel financially confident now and when those real-life unexpected expenses occur.

Download the 30 Day Challenge Plan from the Power Henrico Website.

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Positive Experiences with Children at Home

Lately, many people have found themselves operating outside of their normal routines, including working from home with their children. While this can be a big adjustment and we are all focused on our physical health during this pandemic, it is important to remember our emotional wellbeing and that of our families. On Friday, March 27, the Human Development Program with Virginia Cooperative Extension hosted a webinar entitled “Positive Experiences with Children at Home”. The meeting provided tips and strategies on how to handle such adjustments. Here are the top 5 takeaways:

  1. Find the calm. With so much uncertainty, it is easy to be anxious about what will happen next. It is important to be patient with ourselves and each other. Remember that we are all in this together. While we are social distancing, we can still utilize technology to learn the facts and reach out to a support system. This sense of calm does not have to look the same for everyone, but we can each find something that works for our families. Children are keen observers of our behaviors and stress and look to us to be the example.
  2. Children need reassurance. They need us to reassure them that they are safe. They are curious about what is going on and it is important to share age appropriate information. School-age children will probably ask questions but just want basic answers and not a long, drawn-out conversation. Older teenagers are constantly going to be talking about it with friends and on social media, maybe not directly to you. Some children may also be quieter than usual or exhibit behavioral cues without expressly asking questions. It is imperative to initiate conversations to reassure them they are safe and educate them on the facts.
  3. Children of all ages thrive with routines. Routines will look different for every family, but a sense of predictability can be comforting and reassuring. This may mean a time-set, learning schedule for children or be as simple as Taco Tuesday every week. Consistency is the key.
  4. Help your children self-regulate. Stress can become a bigger issue if it is not addressed and tended to. It is critical to make sure physical and emotional needs are met. Children (and adults) should be getting adequate sleep, eating healthy and finding creative outlets for their emotions.
  5. Take care of yourself. To take care of others, you must also take care of and be gentle with yourself. There isn’t a blueprint of a perfect plan that will fit each and every family or person. Homeschooling or working from home with children is new for so many and we are all learning together. It is going to take time. Be patient with yourself, other adults and children.

The webinar ended with a question and answer segment and a chance for parents to discuss what is working or not working in their homes. To see the full webinar and conversation, please view the recording through the following link:

The following additional upcoming opportunities are available for you to view:

  1. Sheltering in Place with Young Children -Thursday April 2 11 a.m. –
  2. Working and Schooling from Home: Ideas and Resources – Friday April 3 at 10 a.m. –
  3. Marital Relations During Social-Distancing Amid COVID-19 – Wednesday April 8 at 10am –
  4. Teens, Stress and Anxiety While Social-Distancing – Friday, April 9 at 10am – link coming

You can also find additional resources for working at home with children here:

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Boost Happiness by Spending More Time in Nature

            Think back to a favorite vacation. Did you spend most of the day in the sun, perhaps on a sandy beach? Or was it an escape to the mountains spent skiing or hiking? Regardless of where you went or what activities you chose to participate in, the best vacation memories come from spending time in the great outdoors.

               Medical research is shining light on the fact that connecting with nature boosts productivity, creativity, resiliency, mental focus and happiness. As Americans, we have grown accustomed to a mundane schedule of working, watching TV and sleeping. We are attached to technology, leaving us inactive and indoors. The combination of a sedentary lifestyle and not getting outside can lead to poor physical and mental health.

                While now is not the time to plan a vacation, it is the time to do our individual part to practice social distancing and perhaps self-quarantine due to our current public health crisis. It is the time to be intentional about scheduling in ‘nature time’ everyday (weather permitting). Eat your lunch outside, go for a walk, move your exercise time to the backyard, or even catchup on email in a nearby green space. Take a breath of outside air!

                Believe it or not, breathing in fresh air (oxygen) does affect your sense of well-being and happiness. Oxygen levels in your brain are tied to your levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects not only mood, but appetite, memory, and social behavior. Too much serotonin and you become irritable and tense. Too little serotonin and you can become depressed. Breathing in fresh air can help regulate levels of serotonin and promote happiness. All it takes is 20 minutes!

Boost your happiness and join the 21 Days to Connect with Nature Challenge! Visit the Health Trip page on the Power Henrico website for details.

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