Managing Your Fear During Financial Downturn

Woman checking email every 5 seconds

The rain rolls down the glass of the windowpane, and you stare at it for hours. You feel solace with the rain as everything hides away from it. Finally, see you in the physical world what has been inside you for all this time. You did what you thought were the proper steps, but you still fear that you are behind. You feel like you are starting over.

It pains you to think that maybe you have lost years of your life to a goal that wasn’t right for you. However, you kept going after it because of fear and anxiety. You led your life like that for years and then couldn’t anymore. You read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, and even paid for a few courses to be on your journey and no one else’s. 

It worked for a little while. You had some success; you got what you wanted. You let people’s comments about not understanding what you were doing in the beginning roll off you, and then once you were doing it, you let their shock and compliments go in from ear and out the other. 

After the success, you thought you were prepared for the slump, but one thing after another, and you suppose you weren’t. In your heart of hearts, you don’t want to give up, but at the same time, you don’t know how to keep going further, feeling like this. The inflation from the pandemic and now, Ukraine! The phrase “supply chain” was never in your lexicon, but now, whenever you hear this, it makes you think how many more pennies I can squeeze out of this budget. It feels like an unimaginable burden and the constant thoughts and comparisons to others that you have somehow failed in life. 

Finding Clarity through the Fear

It’s hard to decipher when to be consistent and when to pivot when you feel alone and in the dark. It’s also tricky because the oscillation between depression and anxiety takes its toll on your energy levels. 

So, let’s start with this. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. You are going through a difficult time, but it hasn’t meant that you have not succeeded; you are in a space where you need to give yourself time on what to do next.

While you’re in this space, you can try out a few things to get some clarity on your journey ahead. 

Value Exploration

It’s always good to go back and review your values. When I say values, I don’t mean the values that your parent or caretakers have given you. I mean the guiding lights that have helped you make the decisions along the way. Your values are not based on fear. So, go back to them and remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Following your values doesn’t mean that life gets more manageable. It simply means you’re making sure to be intentional regarding your decision-making and not falling into the comparison trap or letting one strong emotion or another take over the decision-making process. 

What is your vision?

Reflect and journal about what is your vision for yourself. Let yourself transport from this time of difficulty to a time of ease in your life sometime in the future. What does that look like for you? How do you feel? Where are you? Whose are around you? Think about these questions in-depth and try to be as detailed as possible. 

You made the decisions you made because you wanted to go somewhere, and it’s important to remember what that somewhere is. 

What is your legacy?

Let’s go even further in your future. What is your legacy? Is it only something finite? Can it be the feelings you want to instill in others around you? Can it be more than children or your career? 

Ask yourself what you want to leave to this world and what you want others to take away from it. We often get fearful about thinking about these questions as if it is bringing on some bad omen, but they can affect where it changes our today in a way that becomes more meaningful for us. 

What do you need right now? 

We have many roles in life, and our to-do lists can be longer than imaginable. Is that essential to your life? Reflect on your energy level right now. Is that feasible to get it done in a day, a week, a month, or a year? We tend to like to set lofty goals for ourselves, but we make the essential ones harder to achieve when we set numerous ones. 

How do you need to take care of yourself in this moment? What is essential to keeping you financially stable? Who are your supporters? Can you communicate with them about what you need and set clear boundaries? 

While you may want everything, what you need is not everything. It is what is essential to support yourself right now. 

Reframe Your Focus

After you have taken time to reflect and get clarity on what you need to do, support yourself in time, reframe what you have been doing before. If your schedule is too full or chaotic, edit it to fit your needs. Think about your routines as well. Are they helping you? Or are they are just reinforcing the cycle of negative statements that you have been repeating to yourself for some time now. 

It’s ok to take your time on this and figure out what’s right for you. If you are worried about consistency or discipline, understand that these concepts can adapt to your lifestyle. You do not need to be so rigid to feel like you have to bend to an idea without actual definition; if this continues to bother you, journal deeply about how you define discipline and/or consistency. What are you supposed to get out of doing these things for yourself? How have you instilled these concepts into your life, and how has that been working for you? 

Life is Change and Transition

It can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you when we are in times of transition. It’s ok to feel uneasy about this, but it also does not mean you have failed, and it means that maybe we need to take some time to clarify what we want and what we need at this moment. This time in history will not last forever, just like you won’t be the same person once it is over. We are constantly changing and developing as human beings to adapt to our environments, and this is just one more example of that. 

And For Those of You Who Don’t Know Me

My name is Tara. I am a therapist who provides online mental health therapy services in the state of Illinois. This article is not a replacement for therapy, and it should not be used as a substitute for therapy. If you would like to talk more, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation. Click here!