When you’re grieving, depressed and in debt, it can feel like everything that you try to do is an enormous effort. The smallest task feels like the tallest mountain. I know that feeling really well. Here’s my story of how I learned to work through one of the toughest challenges in my life; depression.

Treat Yourself with Kindness and Compassion

Years of dealing with depression has taught me that when you’re in that sad space, the most important thing to do is to have the right attitude. By cultivating a mindset of kindness and compassion and taking simple action steps to create change for yourself you have a better chance of moving along on a path that can lead you through to a lighter side of thinking.

Losing My Income Due to Covid

I’ve been through a lot of changes in the past several months in my business and in my personal life.
When Covid first hit, my business suffered a huge loss of income. At first I just did a lot of emotional eating, and felt guilty and ashamed because I was relying on my husband to carry the whole financial burden. In July 2020, after 4 months of doing nothing but watching our rent and bills pile up, I knew I had to start finding real solutions.

Matthew Lesko: My Source for Learning About Government Grants

I followed a friend’s suggestion and began to check out grants online. That search led me to YouTube where I discovered free money expert, Matthew Lesko and his work. Matthew is a New York Times best selling author and expert on grants with 40+ years experience.

Already familiar with Matthew’s outstanding reputation as an author, I began binge watching his free YouTube videos on his Matthew Lesko channel. Soon after seeing his videos outlining the specifics of what to do to get grants, I wanted more support so I made the decision to invest $39 to join his paid Facebook group for 3 months.

As a member of his group you’re entitled to ask him to create a free report on anything you need. His free reports come with many videos, giving very specific information on what to do and how to do it in your state. You don’t have to be a member of Matthew’s group to get the benefit of his wisdom. All you have to do is watch his videos on YouTube. He puts a new one out every day.

How I Got Thousands of Dollars Worth of Grants

After a few months of watching Matthew’s videos I learned how to get grants. Within a few weeks I had gotten $2800 as a result of making a few phone calls and getting myself fiercely focused. In pursuit of the goal of getting rent relief and additional services, I had to fill out applications, call government agencies, and watch a lot of videos. That required me to get fiercely organized.

It was essential for me to gather all my documentation together; tax returns, birth certificates, and every other document had to be sorted, labeled and saved. I made photo copies, scanned documents, created files and folders online and saved them to the cloud.

Using Matthew’s guidance and combining that with my ability to create documents, organize, stay calm, digitize my families’ information, make phone calls and think critically, the grants were pouring in. I didn’t realize it but I had successfully created a system that made it easier for anyone to apply for grants.

Because I learned how to set up Google alerts to put myself on the leading edge of information regarding the grants I needed, the grants just keep pouring in. When I saw that I was achieving results and getting some financial relief, I wanted to teach others how to get the same assistance.

In December I started a group on Facebook called Grants Made Easy with Andrea Amador. It’s a public group open to men and women. As the group leader, I set up the group as a social learning environment. Using my coaching, graphic design and writing skills, I organized a series of videos and .pdfs sharing the specifics of how to get grants. If you’d like to check out the Facebook group: click here:

Learning about grants has opened up my world

In addition to applying for rent relief and other necessary services like health care, I’ve also been working to grow my business. By watching Matthew’s videos, I learned how I could get free business counseling advice from Americas’ SBDC.

SBDC stands for Small Business Development Center. There are over 1000 of these offices all throughout the United States. The office locations are found in leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners. The providers are paid by the government to counsel small businesses for free and provide low cost training. Everybody wins because your profitable business brings in more cash and that equates to a bigger chunk for the government when it’s tax time.

To get help and relief for your business, check out their website and find your local providers: https://americassbdc.org/

After attending several Small Business Administration sponsored webinars and mini program series on Zoom I knew that investing more of my time and getting educated by the Small Business Administration was the right decision for me.

By November I discovered WEDC, the Women’s Economic Development Center, a local women’s chapter of the Small Business Administration. I filled out their intake form and signed up for their free private business consultation.

In February 2021 I committed to WEDC’s 60 hour, 5 month Entrepreneurship program hosted by the Small Business Administration.

As horrible as Covid has been, I realize that it was the wake up call that I needed to get my financial house in order. Finding the right programs, guidance and gaining even more opportunities became easy once I put myself in the company of my local chapter.

By the end of March 2021 my husband and I found a great apartment. Things were really falling into place. Life was about to change for the better, but then the unthinkable happened.

On April 21st, my precious husband, Angel passed away from a heart attack just 2 days before we were supposed to move.

I have to be honest and say I blame myself because we had a silly argument before he left that morning about the moving boxes. I feel so badly I didn’t get to say a proper Good bye. But when I saw him at the hospital and kissed him on the forehead I noticed how amazingly peaceful and calm he looked. Just like an angel.

I am so grateful he didn’t suffer any pain and his defensive driving skills while having his heart attack actually saved lives.

There is so much to be grateful for, there was no one hurt but I’ve lost the man I’ve loved for the past 30 years. I feel so sad and empty, but I can’t seem to really grieve and feel my feelings.

Just a reminder to you here to nurture your loving relationship and never let a day go by without saying, “I love you” to the one you love.

You never know when they will be taken from you in the blink of an eye. Stress kills. And unlike me, Angel did not have the resilience or the tools to deal with stress and bounce back from grief and depression. And his poor heart was not strong enough to deal with the incredible challenges our lives were facing.

Angel_Me_Kitchen Andrea_weddingOn June 30th of this year we would have celebrated being married 31 years. I miss him even when I’m not missing him.

My sweetheart left an indelible impression on my life. Coming into our marriage 31 years ago, I was a 27 year old girl who was an incest and abuse survivor.  So much more a girl than a woman, I felt broken. With Angel’s extraordinary kindness and understanding he taught me how to love and respect myself. He showed me how to stand up and fight for what I believe in and through 30 years of marriage he adored me despite all my many flaws. I will always love him.

Over the past several months I’ve been working on putting my life back together and figuring out what life will look like without my Angel.

The last several years were definitely not our best or our sweetest. We were moving through a rough patch in our lives, working together to get beyond a tough time dealing with a lot of stress and transition.

Today is the first day that I’ll start grief counseling to begin the work of unpacking our 30 year marriage so I can find the closure I need to move forward.

My Angel’s passing woke me up to the importance of taking more intentional steps to getting healthy. I neglected my health for several years. But his sudden death by heart failure sparked a sense of urgency in me to go back to getting regular medical check ups.

Right now I’m undoubtedly going through a very difficult emotional time in my life.  But I pride myself on being a survivor. I’m no stranger to adversity and have been through tough times before so I have no doubt that I’ll rise up again and come back stronger than ever.

If you’re moving through a rough spot in your life and want to get healthier, be more active and change your eating without dieting, then join my Facebook group, The Juicy Woman: Confidence Coaching for Women Over 50.