Financial Crisis Fatigue

According to the Office of national statistics, almost half of adults in the UK reported high anxiety in 2023 due to energy prices and mortgage payments.

The picture is not that different in the US where almost half of Americans in a 2023 survey by Bankrate report that money has negatively impacted their mental health. 

In the fast-paced world we live in, financial crises seem to be unending, leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

This phenomenon is known as financial crisis fatigue.

So, what exactly is financial crisis fatigue? It’s a term that describes the exhaustion and desensitization people feel due to the frequent and prolonged nature of financial downturns and economic instability.

  • Boom and Bust Cycles
  • Cycles and Psychology
  • When Crisis Create a Funk
    • 1. Boom and Bust Cycles

      The cycle of financial crises often begins with a period of economic boom, followed by a sudden downturn.
      Boom and bust cycles are often triggered by various factors: market speculation, financial mismanagement, global events, or unforeseen circumstances.

      Financial crisis fatigue can sometimes happen because of our mistakes with money, sometimes because of big events in the world, and sometimes just bad luck.
      It’s like a roller coaster ride where each crisis brings with it a wave of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, impacting individuals, families, and businesses worldwide.

      If you are a millennial or Gen z, you probably know that feeling too well. When money problems keep happening, people can feel really worried and tired.

      2. Cycles and Psychology

      If you are a millennial or Gen z, you probably know that feeling too well. When money problems keep happening, people can feel really worried and tired.

      Millennials and gen Z will never have a midlife crisis, because their whole lives have been one crisis after another. Technically we can’t call it a crisis; a crisis implies a temporary state. What we have to is an existential crisis, a cloud of financial doom hanging over the sphere waiting to crash.

      If you feel too responsible to throw yourself into a debt spiral, and too irresponsible to get yourself financially stable just in time to watch the system fail you regardless of what choice you make, it’s probably because of the constant state of crisis we are in.  

      You might worry about paying bills, saving money, or keeping their jobs.

      For many, the constant bombardment of negative financial news leads to a sense of helplessness.

      Job losses, dwindling savings, and the fear of an uncertain future contribute to mental and emotional fatigue.

      This fatigue can manifest in various ways: decreased motivation, increased stress levels, and even mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

      The media plays a significant role in financial crisis fatigue. The 24-hour news cycle means we’re constantly exposed to reports of economic instability.

      While staying informed is important, the relentless focus on negative news can exacerbate feelings of anxiety.

      3. When Crisis Create a Funk

      The mental health information website Verywellmind describes being in a funk as a feeling of unhappiness, which can often occur with or without a life event causing it. A funk can be triggered by a traumatic event or just a very long bad mood.

      Now when it comes to our Money, a funk in our finances – A “financial funk” can mean you are feeling a lack in motivation when it comes to doing what you should do with money.

      The full works of Budgeting, Saving, Investing, Conscious and Intentional spending can feel very hard. Whilst being financially disciplined is normally not an easy thing to do even in buoyant times, it becomes even much harder in the times we live in now.

      There is now a trend of “doom spending” among younger generations now, mostly Gen Z and Millennials. Doom spending is all about YOLOing (You Only Live Once).

      You spend money as a form of emotional coping mechanism. The spending continues despite not making rent or catching up with your bills. It’s the only thing left to do. The economy is down, wars are not ceasing, it still not getting better whatever way you slice it! So what is left to do but spend away?

      It is all going to the rocks, might as well not plan for a future because frankly it doesn’t feel like there is any! Things even look bleaker with leaders of first nations seeming not to have a clue and are completely detached from the reality we all face.

      I’ve caught myself feeling this way when I am about to click away on the Pay button at yet another website that tells me my life would be complete once I buy their newest, shiniest toaster. Even though I have my trusted Breville sitting on my kitchen counter.

      When bad habits become a coping mechanism for stress, there is always trouble waiting further down the line. Overspending to numb stress or temporarily forget about your current reality can only dig the black hole deeper.

      The “hole” financially can be a myriad of things – Debt, defaulting on debt payments, bad credit and a sense of constant anxiety and overwhelm.

      The territory becomes much dangerous for young adults who lose out now and in the future by frittering away money and time (two of the most important levers in building wealth)

      The diligence of saving pales when it comes to immediate gratification to distract from  life overwhelm.

      4. Healthy Coping Strategies

      1. Switching off every now and then is one of the most effective ways to cope with this phenomenon that plagues most people.
      • Take breaks from the news
      • Practice mindfulness and self-care
      1. When you ignore the “noise”, focusing on long-term financial planning, you get back your control. It is more likely you are here in the long-term, in the long-term things tend to get better and ease. It might not seem that way now, eventually it all settles!
      • Keep your money decisions aligned to the future you desire
      • Mitigate the stress every way you know
      1. Get support where you need it. Community support, professional financial advice can provide some sensibility and stability through these uncertain times.
      • Get into community with likeminded people
      • Stay away from groups that put you under financial pressure – Flexing and humble brag anyone?

      We can’t predict when the next financial crisis will break the world apart, we can however build resilience by staying informed with the facts and putting energy into what can be controlled.

      And most importantly let’s stay hopeful. Humanity has lived and thrived through the times. In my Mother’s words – There is nothing coming from the skies that the ground cannot contain.

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