Have you ever had a point in your life that you felt like you were in a “funk.” You know, just a period of time where mentally, physically, and emotionally you have felt like you just can’t get your mojo flowing? As I often do, I Googled the definition of “funk” and the two definitions I found were:
North America - A state of depression
British – Avoid (a task or thing) out of fear
I have heard that statement several times recently, perhaps because the winter was so long for my northern clients, or perhaps it is just that many have been hit by some pretty big issues recently. I’ve experienced it a time or two (or twenty) myself, so after I heard it several times I tried to think of what caused it to happen and what got me out my “funk?” For me, many times it was caused by prolonged stress or negative situations for which I’ve failed to recognize that a decision needed to be made. That probably sounds odd, but you’ve probably heard of the saying, “in-action is action,” and not doing something, but instead letting it sit heavy on your shoulders really can be a heavy weight.
You’re probably thinking, is she now getting into psychology? Well no, but there are tons of studies that link mental health and financial health. Think about it, have you ever been hit with an unexpected expense that you didn’t have the funds set aside for? Even if you have money saved or cash flow to cover it, it is still a feeling of “great, where am I going to come up with that?”
Ever been told:
Your roof needs to be replaced this year when you were expecting to get 3 – 4 more years out of it? Or,
The college bill is coming due and the grants or financial aid wasn’t as much as you thought it might be? Or,
Mom or dad need more care than you can give them? Or,
Even that your taxes and HOA fees are going up significantly? Or,
Something as simple as giving your (non-waterproof) cell phone a bath when you are out of town visiting clients! Yes, this one just recently happened to me!
It can cause more than just frustration, it can cause true emotional reactions. So what steps can you take to get beyond the “funk?” I found some creative tips in dealing with this on the tiny buddha website:
Get your mind out of your way. I find that when I write things down, the anxiety that comes with the issue melts away a bit.I can create all sorts of scenarios and possibility when anything hits me. However, if I actually write down the problem and look at the possible solutions, especially when it is financial, I see the black and white of it. I am not saying it is that easy, because sometimes when the facts are clear financially we have to figure out how to deal with the emotion that comes with that decision. I recently spoke to a wonderful young women who was going to sell her family bar; this bar had been in the family since the 1950’s. She could clearly see that financially she needed to get rid of it, but she’d been holding onto it because she couldn’t separate the financials from the emotional. But this caused enormous stress and she was in a funk. When she finally got her mind out of the way and determined that the bar had to go, it was about recovering her life, not so much the amount of money she put into the bar.
Swing the bat at the curve ball.Who likes curve balls – NO ONE! But if we just let the ball fly past us every time and we don’t swing the bat we will never know what we are capable of. I know this is a small thing, but when my phone took its bath, I was not excited about it, but I threw it in a bag of rice and got it to the state of semi-functioning. On the way home, we called our Verizon Wireless expert and had him get a phone ready for me to pick up on the way home. In the meantime, life was quiet, I disconnected for two full days! What a jewel in disguise!
Breathe. Tiny Buddha recommends meditation, and while I would love to get to that level personally, let’s talk baby steps and just practice some deep breathing. While you are doing that, be thinking, who can help me with this problem? Who can I talk through this issue with? The roof needs to be replaced? Okay, what are your options? What can you control and what can’t you control? Where can you temporally cut in order to make this doable? Is there a short-term loan you can take out to help cover the cost?
Not on the list, but one of my favorites - remember you are not alone in life. It’s likely someone else has gone through what you are going through; get support from them. How did they cope? What did they learn and how can you avoid some of the mistakes they felt they made?
There is a psychology to money and figuring out if it is the cause of your “funk” is just as important as all the black and white that goes with managing your finances.