DEAR HARRIETTE: My family had a horrible scare recently. My husband was in a car accident and got seriously hurt. We have been married for 10 years and have two young children. Because we are both young, we hadn't really thought about things like accidents, illness, death — none of that. Now that my husband is injured and out of work indefinitely, we are in quite a bind. We applied for worker's compensation, but we have none of the things that will protect a family. Well, my husband has a small insurance policy through his job, but it's not going to be enough if he isn't able to go back to work. We don't know the first thing about getting this part of our life in order. What should we do? — In Jeopardy, Denver
DEAR IN JEOPARDY: It is a blessing that your husband is alive. I join you in praying for his full recovery. Because you are not savvy about finances and insurance, I recommend that you immediately get help. Start with your husband's job. Contact the human resources department and find out exactly what protection your husband has. Learn if you can add to his insurance policy. Find out if he has disability insurance. Next, contact a financial professional to get support learning which tools are right for you. You can work with a life insurance company or a bank to identify what protection your family needs and can afford.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I will be visiting my family for the week between Christmas and New Year's. Typically, by the third or fourth day, somebody has a meltdown. I think it's just that there are so many of us in the house together, and one of my siblings or else my aunt starts picking, and arguments start. I hate arguing. I hated it as a kid, too. But they seem to love it. How can I get through the week without getting caught up in the mess? I really do not want to argue. — No More Drama, Chicago
DEAR NO MORE DRAMA: What often happens with families is that adults revert back to their childhood roles and behaviors. Even those who function perfectly competently in their normal lives can quickly slip into insecure childhood ways if they aren't paying attention. What you can do to avoid that discomfort is to remember who you are. Take a few minutes each morning to think about how you engage with the many people who are part of your life. How do you manage conflict at work and with friends?
Start your day with a few minutes of meditation. Sit quietly and breathe deeply. Invite your inner strength to guide your steps. When something happens during the day that annoys you, take another deep breath. Observe the moment and look to see what might really be going on. Listen instead of reacting. Decide not to respond to old triggers. Instead, you can be quiet, laugh or walk away.
Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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