Posts tagged ‘paleo on a budget’

November 10, 2011

Stress Management, Cortisol, and Recovering from Unemployment

After reading all sorts of Paleo and Primal blogs and books, and listening to a few podcasts on a very consistent basis, I understand the basics; eliminate pretty much everything except meat and veggies, then start to add a few things back in gradually. Grass-fed and pasture raised meat is best, and organic, fresh, local produce is ideal. Sleep. Get a lot of sleep. At least eight hours of night in a very dark room. And manage stress.

Oh wait…what was that last one? Manage stress. This blog is about fighting chaos. Why don’t I have this stress- free thing on lock? Once again, the long-term-unemployment of yesteryear rears its ugly head.

My husband makes a fantastic income at the ripe old age of 30. But, as you know, we have four kiddos, live in one of the most expensive areas in the US (due to my husband’s job), and oh yeah, we’re coming out of some major ass-kicking by the economy in 2009/2010.

Furthermore, our health insurance is covering less and less for the same monthly premium, while making all of the enrollment literature appeared unchanged, which means I was none-the-wiser until the bills started rolling in. We are still paying medical bills from our preemie and my heart scare last year.

So, while we’ve managed to pay off a loan from the sale of a house (which we sold at a loss) and pay off my car, somehow, we are still trying to come back from unemployment. **If any of you are aware of statistics on the time it takes to recover from unemployment, please share! I would love to know…is it 3 months of gainful employment to every one month of unemployment. More? Less? We’ve been re-employed for twice as long as we were unemployed and we are still struggling to catch our breath. I realize as I write this that many are still unemployed or underemployed, and in no way do I mean to make my situation sound like the toughest to handle….I know it could be so much worse.**

The thing is, we kind of thought we would be “comfy” again by now. Not piling-up-the-money-comfy, but not-feeling-guilty-for-hiring-a-date-night-babysitter-comfy…ya know?

So, again, as the household CFO, I’ve decided to reevaluate. And to come full circle for you, in case it isn’t obvious, feeling short on rainy-day or emergency fund savings causes stress, which isnt good for health, and is one of the highly emphasized keys of living Paleo or Primal or really any type of healthy lifestyle. A key that was kind of overlooked by me until now.

I have recently been buying 100% grass-fed meat (which is insanely delicious, by the way), and subscribing to an organic produce delivery service. Before I continue, I should say that I plan to return to both of these luxuries once the financial stress is in check, because I think the money is worth it…when money is free flowing, an emergency fund is fully stocked, and there is very little debt. I know debt means different things for different people, so I should clarify.  We haven’t “carried” credit card debt in a while, but we do have a high car payment (read: young and irresponsible financial decision) and medical bills that are enough to make us feel crazy and broke. Crazy and broke on a salary that should make most people feel like Kings and Queens at our age. So, for us, “very little debt”  hopefully means only my student loan and possibly a home mortgage.

As a minimalist family, we don’t shop a lot for non-consumables (although I have had to buy some key pieces since all of my pre-pregnancy clothes are too big and horribly out of style), we don’t subscribe to cable tv, and we generally try to avoid a ton of consumerism.  Unfortunately, I’ve found a different way to feed the shopping rush…groceries and *tear* Amazon.com. Now, I love me my Amazon Prime Membership, and I plan to keep it, but it does make spending money a little too easy…especially from my Amazon iPhone app!

Spending a ton of money on really healthy food feels good to me.  I don’t ever get the shopping guilt I would get in my single years from spending too much at the mall, because I feel like I am ultimately doing my family a service by feeding them the best of the best.  Now, while I do not plan to start buying pasta and bread in bulk (don’t worry this family has gone back to (primal) basics and we are not turning back!), I do have a plan to continue feeding my family healthy food… this time on a budget!

In a future post, I will get down and dirty in the details of our new food budget.  In the meantime, if anyone has stories of triumphant return from unemployment, tips, tricks, what-have-you, I’m ALL ears!