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Nikki Maxwell's Top Six Tips For Hard Times

by TaxMama on January 14, 2009


I am a mom of three in the LA area. My husband spent most of 2008 out of work as a freelance video game writer. He nailed a contract through next January! Yay! Then I got laid off. Boo! In my attempts to not sit around and suck eggs, I’ve called on the memories of the great women who have come before me and managed to keep it all together in times I consider harder than this. If my great grandmother could come here with her siblings on a boat from Ireland and manage to make it, so can I. Here’s my tips for hard time:

1) Family Values are the glue that holds us all together. By focusing on the time we have together and the experiences we can share- going to the park, playing cards, creating plays in the back yard- we can help to alleviate the stress of what we “can’t” do these days. I think my family is honestly happier at this point because I’m not working. We actually get to spend quality time being together and enjoying each other’s company.

2) www.Freecycle.org– There are local groups all over the country that encourage people to give away items they no longer need to those that can use them. Simple, brilliant and joyful. In my darkest hours, some random free item has given me that boost of joy to get through the day. The Freecycle mission is to keep items out of landfills, so it is not just “free stuff” per se, but there are lots of treasures in every group.

3) Be a giver yourself. There’s always someone worse off that you. Find them and help them however you can and in the end you will primarily be helping yourself. Understanding how good you have it can really help in the hard times. Even if it is just donating some items to charity or finding a recipient on Freecycle, you know you can impact someone else.

4) Plan ahead. There are great opportunities for free stuff out in the world- museums, libraries, local book stores, YMCA, parks and recreation. These places offer interesting activities and classes for not a lot of money. Check the websites and see what is happening. Plan adventures. Bring your own snacks.

5) Collaborate. Find others and share resources. Sitting along and sucking eggs is not fun. Find a buddy or two who also needs some joy in their lives. Find ways to support each other. Book swaps, video swaps, child care swaps, bartering services, sharing food shopping and preparation- community makes life easier.

6) Make lists of why you like people. Make lists of things you want to do when life is different. That way, when times get really rough, you can remember why you like this person and dream about the things you still have on your list.

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Nikki Maxwell

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