Posts tagged with "stress"

Nursing Home Staff Shortages

Amidst the perseverance of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry has taken a massive blow. There are intense staffing shortages in the field, and the public is suffering from these scarcities. The Washington Post gave a detailed report on these worsening staff deficiencies, more specifically in long term care facilities.

Nursing homes tend to lessen the stress on hospitals as recovered patients typically move there after being released. Without proper staffing, though, facilities have not been able to take in patients from hospitals. A specific example of this misfortune stems from the Terrace View nursing home in Buffalo, New York. The home is currently not running at full capacity, and there are up to 22 beds not being used due to lack of staff.

The Washington Post article elaborates on this disaster, highlighting another facility affected. “That means some fully recovered patients in the adjacent Erie County Medical Center must stay in their hospital rooms, waiting for a bed in the nursing home. Which means some patients in the emergency department, who should be admitted to the hospital, must stay there until a hospital bed opens up. The emergency department becomes stretched so thin that 10 to 20 percent of arrivals leave without seeing a caregiver — after an average wait of six to eight hours, according to the hospital’s data.”

Many long-term care facilities across the country are facing these same troubles. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found 58% of nursing homes are cutting down on arrivals, again, because of the shortage of staff members.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that 425,000 long term care workers left the industry since February 2020. Though other industries have seen economic growth since the onset of the pandemic, nursing homes have not had the same luck. “Remarkably, despite the horrific incidents of death and illness in nursing homes at the outset of the pandemic, more staff departures have come during the economic recovery. As restaurants and shops reopened and hiring set records, nursing homes continued to bleed workers, even as residents returned.”

These troubles are heightened in more rural areas. The article, too, depicts the story of Diakonos Group in Medford, Oklahoma, that had to shut down since there was simply not enough staff. The facility provided care for patients with mental health needs, but after the pandemic started, they found that their staff had endured too much. Diakonos Group CEO Scott Pilgrim explained that although the business offered a raise in hourly wages, bonuses and overtime, employees continued to leave, and they could not withstand these absences.

AHCA/NCAL urges lawmakers to work with the long term care division of healthcare to fix this staffing crisis and devote resources to employ caregivers. As hospitals continue to be directly affected by this catastrophe, change must be made as soon as possible. AHCA/NCAL encourages Congress to take action and ease these tensions placed on both hospitals and long term care facilities.

yoga illustration by Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Six Hobbies That Relieve Stress

Some hobbies are excellent stress-relievers, as physical activity puts us in a meditative state. Doing something we enjoy triggers the release of dopamine. When you use your body or hands, your mind focuses on the task at hand. Add a bit of creativity to your life! Discover six simple activities that can give you a break from the constant barrage of stress.

1.   Dance

Research conducted by Pennsylvania State University has demonstrated the stress-relieving effects of dancing. Endorphins released in your body make you feel good. If you don’t have a Delta 8 hemp flower on hand, try dancing to feel better quickly!

It does not matter if you choose free dance, instructed dance, or dance workouts. YouTube has a plethora of tutorials for any style, from hula to ballet. All you need is some space and inspiring music to get your groove on!

2.   Drawing, sketching, coloring, or painting

Any of these activities will take your mind off the things that worry you. Focus on a creative project to de-stress. According to a study by Harvard, drawing and painting are particularly effective in this regard.

You don’t have to be an artist to experience the benefits! Download an app for digital sketching (for example, Procreate), buy an adult coloring book, or find some classes at your local Art supply store, museum, or library. The internet has a wealth of free information, including fun tutorials.

3.   Writing

Different forms of writing, from journaling to letters to writing stories, alleviate stress. Jotting down your emotions is a proven way to feel better. Even 10-minute writing sessions are guaranteed to bring positive effects.

4.   Playing a Musical Instrument

Listening to music and creating it can make you feel happier and more content. By playing an instrument, you will not only express yourself but also trigger an emotional release. According to a study in the Federal Practitioner, “there is evidence that playing an instrument elicits brain changes that positively influence cognitive functioning and decreases stress.”

Learning to play music is easier than before, as there are so many digital tools to help you. First, you can download apps for learning to play the guitar, piano, and other instruments. YouTube is packed with tutorials. Finally, you can always find private or group lessons. If you are too busy to learn, even listening to your favorite playlist will improve your emotional state.

5.   Knitting

This is another meditative activity connected to calmness and happiness. You can find a treasure trove of step-by-step videos on YouTube. Every week, schedule a time for a meeting, alone or with a friend! The positive effects of knitting have been shown in a study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy.

6.   Photography

You do not need a high-end camera to experience the positive effects of photography. Even simple snaps with your smartphone can melt your stress away! Go outdoors and take photos daily to improve your well-being, slow down and find meaning in small things.

Image by Ivory Nguyen for use by 360 Magazine

Top Ten Things to Know When Moving into Your First Apartment

By: Skyler Johnson

Moving into your first apartment can be a very stressful experience. From taking care of your electricity bill to installing Wi-Fi, there’s a lot to consider. Here are the top ten things to know.

  1. Be Aware of Space

This doesn’t just mean measuring your couch, it also means knowing which outlets are connected to a switch and how much closet space you have. Knowing where to plug in a lamp should be one of the first things you need to understand, as it can make life much easier down the road in terms of the arrangement of furniture and electronics. Keeping track of where each closet is can also allow for a serious consolidation of space. Find ways to maximize your closet space HERE.

  1. Make a Grocery List

While this may seem like it’s self-explanatory, it’s not something you ever want to forget, especially if you’re hungry. Chances are you’re not going to remember all the ingredients to a certain dish or dishes you’re making. Making this list should be something you do once or twice a week to make sure you don’t take more trips to the grocery store than you need.

  1. Choose Your Meal Plan Carefully

Going grocery shopping is something you’ll have to do every week and making a list of meals is essential. However, ingredients can be expensive if you’re not choosing correctly. Therefore, it’s important to only buy products you’re going to use at least twice. That way, you can save money in terms of how much you buy. If you’re buying zucchini, make sure to use it both for a fried zucchini and a pasta with zucchini and pesto. If you have the money, but not the time to shop, check out Instacart, where you can have someone go shopping for you.

  1. Keep the Lights Off

Remember, you have an electricity bill now. Make sure not to keep the lights on for too long or that bill will start to seriously increase. Make sure to turn off all lights when leaving the apartment, but make leave a light on when using a phone or laptop, as that’s been proven to deteriorate your eyesight.

  1. Keep Organized

Keeping organized might be something you’re already semi-aware of, but you’re operating on a much larger scale now. Putting shoes in their proper place and keeping brooms and mops in a closet or contained area can help you in the long run especially when doing chores. Having to scrounge through all your belongings to find a simple thing is a mild inconvenience when it happens one time in your room or dorm, but it becomes more of an issue when everything you have becomes lost.

  1. Remember to Get Fresh Air

With your apartment, unlike with your dorm or house, you don’t have to do much moving around for long periods. The kitchen is right there and doesn’t require as much walking as in a house. Nevertheless, it is good to get out of the house at least once a day. Social isolation can lead to depression.

  1. Magnets, Tupperware, and Air Freshener

These are all things you might not think you need, but you will. Magnets are great for your fridge. They can be used to hang up notes, grocery lists, and even hand towels. Plus, they make great decorations. Tupperware is good for storing food, which will become necessary. It’s always good to have leftovers, especially for busy study/work nights. Even for the nose blind, an air freshener is great for kitchen smells which will permeate a small space.

  1. Know how to do Laundry

Most apartment complexes have some form of a laundry room, and it’s important to know where yours is located, and more importantly how much it costs. You don’t want to be stuck with a lot of clothes to be washed without know how to wash them. Some laundry machines are more intuitive than others. For example, some may use Shine, a platform that allows for easy mobile payments for laundry. You can find out if your complex uses one by checking if there’s a baby blue sticker on the machine.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Cooking Mistakes

Cooking is one of the many things that are unique to moving into your first apartment, and while you may liken yourself to be a chef, try doing it every night. Food preparation mistakes are common but can also be great learning experiences. Either way, there’s always take-out if your food is inedible.

  1. Give yourself Space

When first moving into your apartment, you will have to deal with a lot of anxiety from living on your own. It’s not an easy transition, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. If you can, take a few days off from working to transition into your new space and get used to your environment. You won’t regret it.

illustration by mina tocalini for use by 360 magazine

Making Sure You Move to a Safe New Home

Moving is a very big deal for most people, and a lot of movers become very stressed when they are heading to a new home and area. Naturally, you want to ensure the home and the area you move to are going to be safe and secure for you and your loved ones, so it is important to do some research before you make any commitments or decisions. Fortunately, there are plenty of online tools and services that can help you to do this, and this includes address lookup tools among other things.

If you want to make use of tools such as this, you can click here to find address lookup sites. These sites can make it much easier for you to try to find out information about a specific property and those living there, and it means that you can conduct more thorough research when it comes to the area you are moving to. In this article, we will provide some tips on how to move to a safe new home.

What You Should Do

If you want to reduce stress levels and increase the chances of moving to a safe and suitable new home and area, there are a few steps you can take. Some of these are:

Check Crime Stats Online

One of the things you should do to determine the safety of the home and area you are moving to is to look at crime statistics for the area. You can do this easily and quickly online, and it will give you a far better idea of the crime levels in the area. This can then help you to find out more about how safe and suitable the area will be for you and your loved ones. It can also provide you with increased peace of mind.

Do a Check on Other Addresses

Using the lookup tools mentioned earlier, you can also do a search on addresses that are nearby such as your next-door neighbors and others living in your street. This will enable you to try to learn more about the people who live directly by your new home, which then makes it easier to determine safety. For instance, you may be able to see whether your neighbor has any criminal past, and you can do the same with others on your street. This is something that can prove invaluable to those who want to ensure they move to the right sort of area.

Search Your Own Address

One additional thing you can do by using these tools is to search the address of the property you are moving to. This could provide you with a range of information, including the details of past owners of the property. This then gives you an idea of whether there was anyone with a serious criminal history living at the property, which could also have an impact on safety.

These are some of the ways in which you can use address lookup and other tools to move to a safe area.

JAZ ELISE “BREATHE” Cover from RCA Records Publicity for use by 360 Magazine

JAZ ELISE – BREATHE

Today, the Jamaican songstress Jaz Elise reveals visualizer for “Breathe,” the personal closer from her debut EP The Golden Hour (In.Digg.Nation Collective/Six Course Music/RCA Records). Growing up in Harbour View, a small coastal community of Kingston, the singer strolls down the shoreline to get some peace of mind over soft breezy jazz rhythms produced by  J.L.L. x iotosh. “Breathe” is a stripped-down reveal of how she deals with the stresses of life. “It’s a battlefield of my mind, but when it gets too heavy, I just need to breathe,” she sings.

Watch here.

“I was going through a very hard time some months back when I wrote this song. Breathe was a message to myself. It’s literally me singing to myself during a state of panic. I had internal feelings I couldn’t explain but know I needed to work through for my own mental health. This is a message to ourselves to just take it one step at a time and just breathe. Whatever your release is, find it and do it. For me it was music, reading, meditation and time with self. I hope this song soothes any troubled heart and soul and calms the mind of anyone suffering mentally. Remember to breathe. We can get through this,”  the singer explains.

Listen to The Golden Hour EP.

See what the critics are saying about The Golden Hour:

“Jamaican singer Jaz Elise is bringing her own unique brand of reggae and R&B to the world with her new EP The Golden Hour” – Extra TV

“The Golden Hour is a hell of an introduction for Jaz Elise, and it’s a prime example of how much innovation has been happening within reggae recently”  – Brooklyn Vegan

“This debut is greatness, hands down…EP hums with a dynamic diversity that seems to become the brand identity of the In.Digg.Nation – the sound of 21st century Jamaica.” – Reggaeville

“On her debut EP, Kingston, Jamaica singer Jaz Elise blends R&B and reggae seamlessly in less than a half-hour”   – Okayplayer

“Impressive debut EP…future-sounding reggae-infused soul/R&B”  – KEXP

“Strong debut with dreamy and soulful R&B…her tone is so beautiful that she could sing from an economics textbook and still have you entranced” – Glide Magazine

The Golden Hour EP Track Listing:

  1. “Elevated” (Produced by IzyBeats, Rob Smyles and JenneJenne)
  2. “Good Over Evil” (Produced by Natural High x Protoje)
  3. “Radio” (Produced By J.L.L.)
  4. “Fresh & Clean” feat. Govana (Produced By J.L.L.)
  5. “After 3” feat. Mortimer (Produced by iotosh)
  6. “Straying” (Produced by Ziah .Push x Protoje)
  7. “Breathe” (Produced by J.L.L. x iotosh)

Connect with Jaz Elise

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Working From Home illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

The Pandemic x Freelance and Remote Workers

A side-gig in retirement can help pad a nest egg, keep a retiree engaged, and provide wanted structure to days post full-time employment. But rather than settle for part-time work for somebody else, in greater numbers, boomers are using their skills and expertise to earn a side income freelancing online from home, according to a new report from the editors of International Living.

Source: InternationalLiving.com

The “freelance economy” is booming today, and that’s a benefit for expats eager to gain a remote income they could take with them abroad, according to a new report from International Living.

“As we come out of the pandemic, many doors have closed,” says Winton Churchill, founder of Barefoot Consultants, author of the book The “New” Retirement: The Rise of the Gig Economy and How You Can Profit From It, and a contributor to International Living. That poses real challenges to folks who found themselves forced to take an early retirement or laid off a few years shy of a planned retirement, says Churchill.

“But in this sea of bad news, there is the proverbial silver lining,” says Churchill. “The big winner in the post-pandemic world is the freelancer and the remote worker.

“Much has changed for the good, and those who realize it quickly will have an advantage.”

If you’re a baby boomer with some work and life skills, “you’ve never had more options,” Churchill argues.

“Many more companies and organizations are hiring freelancers and remote workers now than they ever had in the past because they are confident that they can successfully have people working remotely” he says.

“Going forward we see a much-increased appetite for freelancers, especially those with deep knowledge, well-honed skills, and lots of experience rebuilding after a big economic shift.

“At the same time, we are seeing millions of job openings go unfilled. Looks like a great opportunity for those age 50+ who learn how to thrive in the world of freelancing and remote work.”

More than 400,000 seniors are now doing gig work through online platforms, according to a recent study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute. Moreover, a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows the sharpest rise in “alternative work arrangements” was among workers aged 55 to 75.

In the International Living report, Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers, Winton Churchill identifies three ways the pandemic has changed the freelance climate and three trends for the immediate future.

  1. Resistance Gone

“For the better part of 20 years that I’ve been on freelance networks, there has always been resistance among hiring managers in companies, non-profits, and governments,” Churchill says.

“They felt as if the freelancer, especially if working remotely, would be much less productive than the employee sharing the same office building as the manager.

“But this was demolished during the lockdown as managers discovered freelancers and remote workers were even more productive when working from home and proved capable of keeping their organizations rolling along.”

  1. Employees Working From Home Are Productive

According to workplace benefits consulting firm Mercer, 94% of 800 employers surveyed indicated that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic.

“It is amazing how removing a long commute, removing the distraction of irrelevant meetings and office gossip, bad lunches grabbed on the run, and all the other distractions of office life that your remote worker can be even more productive,” Churchill says.

  1. Cool New Tools

“One of the great things that happened during the pandemic is a number of tools came online for people working remotely,” he says in the report. “Some of them were already out there in the marketplace but they’ve been terrifically enhanced for freelancers and remote workers because of the pandemic and lockdowns and people working from home.”

The four tools Churchill mention in his report are Zoom, Slack, Trello, and Asana.

Trends in Freelancing that Benefit Boomers

His trends for the immediate future:

  1. Employers Will Seek More Freelancers in Their Staffing Plans

“Organizations everywhere want more flexibility in their staffing plans. In the past a company may have had 20 employees. Now they will have 12 to 15 core employees and six to eight freelancers that come in during seasonal peaks or to handle very specialized projects.

“This will give organizations better flexibility in controlling their staffing cost while being better able to afford more specialized talent when needed.”

Baby boomers, Churchill argues, are ideal for this sort of employment because they bring expertise, work experience, and professionalism to the table.

  1. Hiring Trends Favor People That Have More Experience

“The ability to build an organization up after a trauma like the pandemic must rely on people who have experience coming back from economic upsets.

“Baby Boomers (and really anyone over age 50+) have faced these kinds of economic upsets many times in their career and met the demands of rebuilding after any economic crisis,” Churchill says.

“Employers are looking for wisdom beyond what we would call ‘book learning’ experience but practical experience seasoned over those decades.”

  1. No More Late Nights (or Long Days) at the Office

“Organizations are taking a long, hard look at what we call ‘the office,’ Churchill says. “They are rethinking how much they really need it, or at least if they need that much of it.

“Some companies have already informed employees they can work from home for the foreseeable future.”

This increased flexibility can be a benefit to people who are eager to earn part-time in retirement, make their own schedules, and have control over where they live and when they work.

The full report can be found, here: Pandemic Boosts Freelancing For Baby Boomers.

For information on his upcoming Online Portable Income Masterclass with Winton Churchill, see here.

Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to Internationalliving.com

"Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety" by Dr. Chloe Carmichael for use by 360 Magazine

How to Use Nervous Energy to Your Advantage

By: Chloe Carmichael, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, author, “Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety

Editing a speech so many times that when you’re about to present, you botch all your important lines. Stressing over your first-date outfit because it just isn’t perfect — to the point that you’re now late…and more frazzled than before. Drawing that same illustration a third time to get it to look exactly the way you want but ultimately ripping the page out of your sketchbook, frustrated and, well, over it.

If any of these scenarios feel even remotely familiar, you could be dealing with a crushing dose of what I call nervous energy. But the good news is: This type of seemingly negative energy can actually give you an edge when it comes to success. I’m so passionate about helping people understand and achieve this that I recently wrote an entire book about it, Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety. In it, you’ll find nine techniques that will enable you to not only be more successful despite your nervous energy, but because of it.

What Is Nervous Energy, Anyway?

Nervous energy is that extra bit of conscientiousness, typically as a result of adrenaline, that drives you to triple-check that your oven is turned off, or that your cover letter is grammatically perfect, or that your dinner party (when we’re finally able to safely have those again) is thought out to a T. All of those are good things, of course — until your nerves go on overdrive and lead you to stress out so much that you hinder your ability to perform. That shot of adrenaline gets converted into cortisol (a stress hormone) rather than being used productively.

Unsurprisingly, people who have nervous energy tend to be perfectionists, the detail-oriented, often Type-A folks who are really hard on themselves (and sometimes others) to get things exactly right. People who have generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or have obsessive tendencies without the medical diagnosis, also usually fall into this category. And while these groups may think of their condition as annoying (at best) or crippling (at worst), the exciting thing that they may not realize is that their anxious thoughts have an incredibly healthy, positive function: to notice areas for improvement.

What’s even more exciting is that utilizing that nervous energy as a boost in chasing your goals — versus taking steam away from them — is actually quite simple. One of my favorite techniques in my book, based on years of working with many high-functioning yet anxious clients, is called Thought Replacement. This method can help you turn the mess that is anxiety into momentum in real time.

How to Try Thought Replacement at Home

Next time your anxious mind starts acting up (like tonight, when you start harping on yourself for, say, screwing up a recipe), here’s your game plan:

  1. Congratulate yourself for having anxious thoughts.
    Yes, I said congratulate! It might sound counterintuitive to applaud yourself when you’re feeling negative feelings, but truly the best way to interrupt that self-bashing spiral is by patting yourself on the back for being aware of your tendency to pick yourself apart. This is the moment before the date when you tell yourself, “Wow, I’m hearing myself insult the way my body looks in these clothes. At least I’m a self-aware and conscious person for realizing I’m thinking that way.” Remember, your anxiety is coming from a positive place — of wanting to be the best version of yourself — so shift your perspective to feeling good about yourself for having it.
  2. Replace the anxious thoughts you have with reassuring ones.

If you’re a high-functioning person with obsessive tendencies, chances are, you have the same anxious thoughts on repeat. Your mind has more or less decided something isn’t good enough — be it your hair, your skin, your business chops — and so it cycles through the same worrying, self-doubting script every time that “thing” is on your conscience. That’s where a technique called Thought Replacement comes in. It zeroes in on the specific thoughts that are getting in your way and prepares you with deliberately chosen, constructive phrases to replace them. To stick with the first date example, if you’re obsessing over your hair before you walk out the door, then think, this person is obviously attracted to me or they wouldn’t have asked me on a date. If you always worry about not being vocal enough in meetings, then think, I wouldn’t be invited into this discussion if my team didn’t feel I belonged here. I can speak up just when I feel I have something to contribute.

Keep in mind, Thought Replacement is not always the most natural-feeling thing. And that’s OK, in the same way that if you slouch for most of your life and then suddenly start sitting up straight that would feel unnatural too. That doesn’t make proper posture any less healthy or positive for you. The same applies here: You were in a counterproductive place before. Now you have the stark awareness that you’re doing things differently, that you’re making real changes. This should make you feel great.

The more you practice this two-step process, the easier it will come to you, until eventually the positive thoughts become more automatic than the negative ones you used to have. When that happens, all that nervous energy starts to feed a healthy obsessive thought cycle — one that builds confidence and motivation to go for your goals.

Biography

Chloe Carmichael, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, best known to audiences as Dr. Chloe, and author of “Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety” (St. Martin’s Essentials, 2021). She heads a successful private practice in New York City that focuses primarily on relationship issues, stress to help high achievers. Carmichael is on the Advisory Board for Women’s Health Magazine and writes an expert blog for Psychology Today. She is a member in good standing of the American Psychological Association and the National Register of Health Psychologists, an elite membership for psychologists with the highest standards of education and board scores. As an expert in anxiety, Carmichael has taught stress management techniques at Fortune 500 companies as well as in her own private practice. While a doctoral student, Carmichael presented a poster at the Anxiety Disorder Association of America, and continues to be a thought leader in anxiety treatment today. She launched an online anxiety treatment program, Anxiety Tools, which has users throughout the United States and around the world including Japan, Dubai, U.A.E., Korea, France and Russia. As a certified yoga instructor, Carmichael is truly an expert in both the science and meditation side to anxiety treatment. Her holistic approach integrates a special blend of techniques that have been shown to help people overcome anxiety. Carmichael holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Long Island University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree and departmental honors in psychology from Columbia University in New York. She completed her clinical training at Lenox Hill Hospital and Kings County Hospital. Carmichael has taught undergraduate courses at Long Island University and the City University of New York; and served as the psychologist for The New York School of Podiatric Medicine.

 

Money & Relationship illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Money Issues × Relationships

Are Money Issues Ruining Your Relationship?

Read on for 5 tips to resolve them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with families’ finances through lost jobs, squeezed budgets, increased debt, and missed payments.

Money and the decisions spouses make with it are one of the main sources of stress among couples, and sometimes money issues end relationships or cause divorce. But differences can be solved or managed if couples learn to listen to each other and work as a team to formulate a sensible plan, says financial planner Aaron Leak, the founder of ECL Private Wealth Management. 

“No matter how long you have been together, financial issues can wreak havoc on a committed relationship,” Leak says. “When couples don’t agree about spending and saving habits, it causes arguments and resentment.

“But understanding what you’re fighting about and why helps you and your partner come up with solutions. By being transparent and honest with each other about your finances, you can not only prevent arguments that strain your relationship, but you will strengthen it.”

Leak offers these tips for couples to address and resolve financial issues:

  • Understand your money styles. Think of some extreme examples of money styles in your circle. Like your friend, the foodie, who won’t touch a bottle of wine that costs less than $75. Or your sister who constantly surfs Amazon. Or your mom who washes aluminum foil, then folds and reuses it. Everyone has a money style, and it’s helpful to talk about it without any name-calling or labeling involved. Understanding your partner’s spending habits often involves a deep dive into money fears, scarcity memories and childhood traumas. Come up with a spending plan that works for both of you.
  • Decide how to divvy up the bills and save for future goals. You can both put all your earnings in a joint account and pay everything out of that. Or you can split bills down the middle and keep the rest of your own earnings for yourselves. Once you have decided how the bills get paid, you need to devise a plan for saving for your long-term goals. Remember that you need to work closely together as life changes arise – such as one of you losing a job or cutting back on hours to care for a parent. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that contingency plans are always advisable.
  • Create personal spending allowances that stay personal. Having some personal money that’s designated just for you each month can really help how you feel about your relationship. It can also help avoid relationship-ruining behavior like “financial infidelity,” when one spouse hides money or purchases from the other. The personal spending allowance gives each partner the chance to spend their money however they wish, no questions asked.
  • Face and eliminate undesirable debt. Couples should employ a strategy to pay off debt, such as paying off the higher-interest debt first or paying off the smallest loans first (the snowball method). Payments on credit cards, car loans, and student loans can devour monthly budgets, so the sooner they are paid off, the better.
  • Set a budget you can live with. One of the best ways to keep in sync with your partner financially is to have a budget as part of your overall plan. The budget includes your household bills, your personal spending allowance, your debt-paying strategy, and your monthly budget for long-term goals like retirement.

“Relationships take consistent work in order to be happy and successful, and money management is a big part of it,” Leak says. “The best way to be sure you and your spouse are staying on the same page financially is to talk honestly and without judgment.”

About Aaron Leak

Aaron Leak has 16 years of experience in the financial industry and is the founder of ECL Private Wealth Management. He holds Series 7, 6, 63 and 66 licenses as well as life, health, and property and casualty insurance licenses.

Green covid by Mina Tocalini for 360 Magazine

Tuberculosis Bacteria Paradox

TB-causing bacteria remember prior stress, react quickly to new stress

Tuberculosis bacteria have evolved to remember stressful encounters and react quickly to future stress, according to a study by computational bioengineers at Rice University and infectious disease experts at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS).

Published online in the open-access journal mSystems, the research identifies a genetic mechanism that allows the TB-causing bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to respond to stress rapidly and in manner that is “history-dependent,” said corresponding author Oleg Igoshin, a professor of bioengineering at Rice.

Researchers have long suspected that the ability of TB bacteria to remain dormant, sometimes for decades, stems from their ability to behave based upon past experience.

Latent TB is an enormous global problem. While TB kills about 1.5 million people each year, the World Health Organization estimates that 2-3 billion people are infected with a dormant form of the TB bacterium.

“There’s some sort of peace treaty between the immune system and bacteria,” Igoshin said. “The bacteria don’t grow, and the immune system doesn’t kill them. But if people get immunocompromised due to malnutrition or AIDS, the bacteria can be reactivated.”

One of the most likely candidates for a genetic switch that can toggle TB bacteria into a dormant state is a regulatory network that is activated by the stress caused by immune cell attacks. The network responds by activating several dozen genes the bacteria use to survive the stress. Based on a Rice computational model, Igoshin and his longtime Rutgers NJMS collaborator Maria Laura Gennaro and colleagues predicted just such a switch in 2010. According to the theory, the switch contained an ultrasensitive control mechanism that worked in combination with multiple feedback loops to allow hysteresis, or history-dependent behavior.

“The idea is that if we expose cells to intermediate values of stress, starting from their happy state, they don’t have that much of a response,” Igoshin explained. “But if you stress them enough to stop their growth, and then reduce the stress level back to an intermediate level, they remain stressed. And even if you fully remove the stress, the gene expression pathway stays active, maintaining a base level of activity in case the stress comes back.”

In later experiments, Gennaro’s team found no evidence of the predicted control mechanism in Mycobacterium smegmatis, a close relative of the TB bacterium. Since both organisms use the same regulatory network, it looked like the prediction was wrong. Finding out why took years of follow-up studies. Gennaro and Igoshin’s teams found that the TB bacterium, unlike their noninfectious cousins, had the hysteresis control mechanism, but it didn’t behave as expected.

“Hysteretic switches are known to be very slow, and this wasn’t,” Igoshin said. “There was hysteresis, a history-dependent response, to intermediate levels of stress. But when stress went from low to high or from high to low, the response was relatively fast. For this paper, we were trying to understand these somewhat contradictory results. ”

Igoshin and study co-author Satyajit Rao, a Rice doctoral student who graduated last year, revisited the 2010 model and considered how it might be modified to explain the paradox. Studies within the past decade had found a protein called DnaK played a role in activating the stress-response network. Based on what was known about DnaK, Igoshin and Rao added it to their model of the dormant-active switch.

“We didn’t discover it, but we proposed a particular mechanism for it that could explain the rapid, history-dependent switching we’d observed,” Igoshin said. “What happens is, when cells are stressed, their membranes get damaged, and they start accumulating unfolded proteins. Those unfolded proteins start competing for DnaK.”

DnaK was known to play the role of chaperone in helping rid cells of unfolded proteins, but it plays an additional role in the stress-response network by keeping its sensor protein in an inactive state.

“When there are too many unfolded proteins, DnaK has to let go of the sensor protein, which is an activation input for our network,” Igoshin said. “So once there are enough unfolded proteins to ‘distract’ DnaK, the organism responds to the stress.”

Gennaro and co-author Pratik Datta conducted experiments at NJMS to confirm DnaK behaved as predicted. But Igoshin said it is not clear how the findings might impact TB treatment or control strategies. For example, the switch responds to short-term biochemical changes inside the cell, and it’s unclear what connection, if any, it may have with long-term behaviors like TB latency, he said.

“The immediate first step is to really try and see whether this hysteresis is important during the infection,” Igoshin said. “Is it just a peculiar thing we see in our experiments, or is it really important for patient outcomes? Given that it is not seen in the noninfectious cousin of the TB bacterium, it is tempting to speculate it is related to survival inside the host.”

Gennaro is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Igoshin is a senior investigator at Rice’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics.

The research was supported by the Welch Foundation (C-1995) and the National Institutes of Health (GM096189, AI122309, AI104615, HL149450).

Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

How To Combat Loneliness, Especially Now

During the COVID-19 crisis, all of our lives have been disrupted. We’re not connecting with family, friends and colleagues like we used to, and it’s easy to feel lonely. To help some of the people I was coaching, I wrote down eight ways to combat this feeling and tested them on our business clients, executives, and even some friends. What they found was they could, indeed, address their own sense of being alone and fill their days with well-being and even happiness.

 I thought I would share those eight ways. 

  1. You can manage your mind. If you visualize each day as one filled with purpose and meaning, you will find that the act of being alone or distant from those you care about becomes less important. With a little practice, you really can train your mind to believe that it is happy without others. Seriously, collaborate with your mind. It will do exactly what it thinks you want it to do.
  2. Exercise is especially important. It’s an essential part of a healthy mind, body, spirit. Find a ritual every day that gets you up, walking, working out, biking…anything that is not sitting in a chair.
  3. Plan weekends where you are at public spaces. Visit a park, a hiking trail or a playground, and talk to other people. Wear your mask and introduce yourself. You will find that you and they will feel less lonely. I did a podcast once with a woman who was always on the airplane working in all kinds of places—much as I had been. She used to walk in the parks just to create the feeling that she was not alone. Neither of us were ever really alone, but we were often lonely. The walks always quieted our minds and engaged our spirits in healthy feelings.
  4. If you like to Zoom, set up a time with friends on a regular basis for tea or a cocktail hour. You will find that the week flies by as you look forward to the gathering, and the time spent together is priceless. Even with family, family Zoom time becomes remarkably sacred. It has in our home. But, our friends are also happily zooming in and we are all talking longer and deeper than we might ever in a restaurant.
  5. If you are a Facebook person, join some new groups. In these groups you  can share insights, things you have learned or want to know about, or possibly new career paths you want to explore. Our Rethink with Andi Simon group has been growing beautifully with professional women from across the globe who want to help other women become the “best they can be.” Sharing has become a gift for each of them.
  6. Book groups are terrific on Zoom.  Book clubs, where you can join others and discuss hot books together, are booming for good reason. If you have not joined one, find a theme that might reflect your own interests and see what you can do to get involved. Here is alink to some that are open for you to join.
  7. Tutor someone. Find ways to identify young people who would like a tutor for math or science or geology or anything that is your area of expertise. Sharing is an immensely powerful antidote for loneliness. The gift of giving will make your loneliness go away as acts of gratitude will make you feel purposeful and positive.
  8. Cook! Make something (for others or maybe just yourself) and sit and eat it slowly. Savor each bite and enjoy all the different flavors and tastes.

COVID-19 may be keeping people apart, but with a little ingenuity and effort, we can find ways to connect – with ourselves and with others.

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D. (www.andisimon.com), author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (www.simonassociates.net). A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.