I heard on the radio that depression is the number one reason why Britains go to see their GP. Whether the current financial meltdown is the reason, or that deep sadness is the face of England, I am not sure.
But maybe it has something to do with this ethos:
While this is not an article on living with depression (check out these posts if you are), it is about the economic dark cloud we are constantly being told we are living under. Despite the GFC (and the variety of acronyms describing the butterfly effect of the USA’s banking crisis coupled with spending up big invading foreign countries) in Australia the hip pocket of the average person is better than 18 months ago. While rents have continued to rise and now hopefully peak as property prices slide, mortgage repayments and petrol prices are significantly cheaper. The government has been throwing money at families and pensioners and now almost anyone who has put in a tax return in the past year will get close to a thousand dollars in their hot hands in coming weeks.
But we continue to think negatively. With every branch of the media telling us things are only going to get worse, many good things that are being overlooked.
Maybe thinking before we spend is not a bad habit to get into. Just how much cheap plastic junk do we need to fill our homes with? Do we need to throw a packet of sugary biscuits into the supermarket trolley? A glass of water from the tap or filter is considerably cheaper than soft drinks. The maxim of quality over quantity is a useful one. Make a small investment in what you need rather than go for a retail fix every time you feel down.
As a small business owner the first thing every other self-employed person I meet asks me is, “How is business?” (It’s fine, thanks for asking). But the reality is that while a recession threatens some ventures, the good ones grow stronger.
Kate Bezar, founder and genius behind “Dumbo Feather” (one of the most read magazines in my waiting room) mused recently:
(see) tough times as opportunities to re-think, re-evaluate and refresh. Perhaps now is the time to quietly nut out a business plan for your dream, to try something new; write that book, take off traveling for a year, pare life back to its essentials and discover how truly liberating that can be.
Which lead her to unearth a lovely new strategy, to knock the stiff upper lip out of place.
So without being too Pollyanna about all things financial, yes it is likely that belts will get tighter but this is the time to make strategies to make it work to your advantage. As the rather tongue-in-cheek poster urgers, get inventive, make things, think outside the box.
As all the best (or perhaps worst) new age books will tell you, money=energy. You can store it away for a rainy day but it will likely atrophy without use. You can spend it all with no thought for tomorrow and worry about the hangover later. Or you can sort the good stuff from the dross and prioritise what makes you happy and healthy.
My personal list includes: organic food, massages, being more discriminatory about eating out (support local business, invest in quality, always eat in when there are those organic veggies in the fridge) and have a holiday.
My entertainment budget provides some laughter at the comedy festival and live music, balanced by free books and dvds from my wonderful local library, more gatherings of friends around the kitchen table and probably too much free entertainment courtesy of the internet.
So are you going to be a victim of fear, or turn this negative into a positive?