Saturday, November 26, 2011

Irrational Emotional Financial Anxiety (IEFA)

The Yulemas season is fast approaching (No huge 'Black Friday' in Canada means no official holiday season starting point) and I've been feeling increasingly stressed about the shopping and consumption.

I thought it was linked to the whole 'sustainability, buying more stuff is bad for the environment' mantra that I've been trying to REDUCE over the past years.... but what I've realized is that it's more like a sort of generalized anxiety or malaise.

After some thought, I've realized that the constant barrage of global economic instability, government debt, cuts, job losses and job insecurity in the media has been internalized in my general emotional system. Even though my job is permanent full time (and I'm unionized), I'm surrounded by uncertainty and job anxiety at my work. From the 'Occupy' movement, to the recent plunge in lobster prices which will force my family and friends of fishermen to basically live on unbelievably low wages, we're constantly under the impression on eminent social collapse.

Despite my permanent nature of my job I'm acting as if I could be unemployed (while still having to pay off a ton of debt) at any moment. I'm worried about investing in a long lasting, uber environmentally friendly winter coat- even though I walk to and from work in blizzard conditions daily and my current peacoat isn't warm enough, nor water-snow resistent. Even though I could budget for this coat.

I don't attend yoga classes (I saw a 'holiday deal' for unlimited studio access for one year at 899$! can you imagine spending that much on a GIFT for someone??), I didn't even go see Michael Stone's talk about Occupy movement because it would have cost Andrew and I over 30$ (which seems counterintuitive to charge money for an 'Occupy' talk).

My yoga practice has been a temporary respite and I've upped my practice goal to 4x a week (for other health reasons as well), but it's this unconscious almost underlying theme to all my thoughts, all my conversations.

Does anyone else feel this irrational emotional anxiety about their finances?

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. actually no. why? for me, i've worked 4 contracts in 2 years since getting laid off, went 8 months without health insurance, and now have a regular job with...a startup. i decided rather than to let the instability of the world get to me, that i needed to remember that a) i made it through before, i'll make it through again, and b) i can only control so much, and the most i can do is be careful with how i spend money. growing my own food, preserving it, not owning a car, renting out my spare room, no cable, cheap cell plan, and finding free or inexpensive ways to spend my free time. i don't buy holiday gifts anymore and focus on sharing time with those i love instead, so this time of year doesn't financially stress me out. i think the more we share ways that we avoid the stress, the better :)

  2. Yes I do! My family and I work hard but earn little, we love our lives but we have felt the stress over the last year. I use my skills to give me a sense of purpose, I make my own clothes and grow our own veg. I avoid towns and any shopping oppertunities, although I have to watch my on line impulses. I have found that my yoga makes me stable, I go to one class in my village hall and now I try to practice three times a week at home. Finding your own coping mechanism is the way forwatd. Hope you enjoy your festive season, in your own way.

  3. We are definitely feeling it at our place too. Diego will soon be done his PhD and so far has nothing lined up for the next step...there are options but the competition is stiff in our current economy so we cannot bet on anything. Although, like you, we are lucky that I too have a full-time, unionized permanent position. However, you do need a warm coat! Maybe taking the time to look at second hand can satisfy the both your eco- and financial desires, at least until things get better and you can buy the coat of your dreams anxiety free.

  4. I love what EcoGrrl said - awesome! But yeah, I'm feeling this way too, from time to time. In a way, I feel BETTER - because I have a stable job right now. But it's only part-time and if Five Seed doesn't sustain the other half of the income I need, then I'm in trouble! And what happens when the school year ends? Will I automatically get to keep the job, or will I have to compete with another pool of licensed teachers?

    And oh yeah, there's my $25,000 student loan debt. Ugh.

    But...I'm trying really hard to just stay calm and do my best. I let myself get a little treat from time to time from fellow Etsy shops, or I trade with my friends for wool or knitted items I want. I save up for sustainable, warm clothes (just bought a $150 pair of organic wool leggings from my favorite Etsy shop, Gaia Conceptions - hugely expensive, but worth every penny!), and am trying really, really hard to teach myself how to do things so I can live more inexpensively.

  5. actually, i don't have this anxiety because i've continually had stables jobs, with steadily increasing income that is not a ton given it's nonprofit, but enough to live comfortably on my own. there were ways that the recession affected me, like it took two extra years to get a promotion and my savings interest rates are extremely low, but i still have enough. i know i'm lucky and it makes me feel kind of spoiled everytime i think about quitting and moving to part-time work in the future.

  6. Yes, I feel you! I think many of us feel like we are on the precipice - whether it be economically, environmentally, or socially. This is a strange time and I'm assuming we'll one day look back and this as a turning point - toward what I do not know.

  7. Ok, I totally feel you on this. My mom told me she had an anxiety attack because she drove by walmart at 11pm on Thanksgiving day. I believe her exact words were "would these people line up for anything besides f*cking consumerism?!"

    That be said, I'm having a dilemma. My fiance desperately needs a new yoga mat (our pup literally ate half of his). I don't want to drop $100 bucks on a "good" mat, thereby add to that lovely consumerism. Maybe I can make a homemade yoga mat? Ideas?


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