Well, it’s official. The travel industry is on life support. Recent data from Discover credit card holders revealed that spending on travel for the month of April is down 99% year over year. Ummm. Let’s just go ahead and round that to 100%.
As portions of the economy begin to reopen, travel will resume, but it will take a long time to revive the patient. The travel industry, according to 2017 data, represents $1.6 trillion in economic output and supports around 8 million jobs in the US. So, the latest Discover Card data would say that economic output from that industry is now nil and a vast majority of the 8 million people are either now laid off, furloughed or unemployed.
This is one bad statistic of dozens that roll across my computer screens each day. From one bad statistic to the next. Rinse and repeat. The impacts of this pandemic and resulting shut down of the economy will take a long time to recover from.
How does one keep one’s mind right while standing in the constant flow of bad news? When the world around you seemingly comes crashing down, is it possible to find hope…to see the silver lining…to find any good in the world? My answer is a resounding…yes!
Over my 20+ year career in the financial world, I’ve had to learn some coping mechanisms to help keep a positive mindset in the midst of trying data.
• Breathe. This too shall pass. Taking time to pause from what I’ve just learned helps me disconnect the impulse to believe the consequences of the data will be immediate and world ending. Often, taking a breath reminds me that the world is still spinning on it’s axis, the sun is still shining and I’ve got loved ones at home who are looking forward to seeing me that evening.
• Exercise. I’m not a scientist, but I’ve read enough to know that a healthy body can handle stress better than an unhealthy one.
• Eat healthy. See above.
• Express gratitude. It is impossible to be both anxious and grateful at the same time. Oftentimes, reflecting on the immense blessings in my life will crowd out the negative news I’ve just internalized. This also relaxes me as I remind myself how much is going right in spite of a world going wrong.
Well, time to wrap this up and resume my day looking at some more bad data. What is that I see? GDP contracted -4.8% last quarter? Worst quarter since 2008! Ahhhhh! Oh wait…breathe…