When times are good, we are often spoiled for choice in terms of ways to enjoy living. Modern cities are awash with recreational options. Thanks to globalization, we can buy products from all over the world. Or if you’d prefer, you can travel to international destinations instead.
But during times of uncertainty, most people’s purse strings draw tight. Sometimes, the nature of the crisis itself restricts your options. This has been painfully obvious during the pandemic, with limitations on our mobility being imposed in most locations.
The future is bound to hold more crises, according to experts. Thus, while we all need to be thankful for surviving, we also need to figure out how to enjoy living if this will be a recurring pattern.
Don’t follow the herd
Consumer behavior changes during a downturn or disaster. Our first instinct is often to cover our basic, physiological needs to survive. However, even guided by such motivations, we don’t necessarily make choices that hold up in retrospect.
During a crisis, the collective anxiety we feel amplifies the situation’s gravity or pull on our decision-making. This creates a herd mentality, which is behind the phenomenon of panic-buying.
Everyone doesn’t just buy what they need, but often far more than that. And we all tend to zero in on the same items: at the start of the pandemic, for instance, we couldn’t get enough disinfectant or toilet paper. Later on, the shortages manifested in dumbbells, Peloton bikes, and other fitness equipment.
Businesses don’t hold enough inventory to supply such a surge in demand. And since our world is highly networked, a crisis often affects upstream supply chains as well. It takes longer for the flow of goods to replenish and stabilize.
Thus, reacting to scarcity in the way we feel is most natural or sensible, based on our self-interest alone, often feeds into irrational collective behavior. Stocking up on material goods becomes counter-productive to the good of all.
Manage your resources
It’s vital to ensure your own survival in a crisis, but that doesn’t have to mean going overboard and doing what everyone else is doing. It’s better to maintain flexibility instead in terms of resources.
Uncertainty creates resource insecurity. When you feel that resources are scarce, you have to make difficult spending decisions, and it’s easier for things to go badly wrong.
Sometimes, you’re going to spend no matter what. For instance, getting married means buying a diamond wedding band for her, even if you can downsize the ceremony. But you have to find ways to trim expenses where you can.
Also, money isn’t the only resource to consider. Time, along with purchasing power, is a crucial element that we all use to improve our lifestyle and enjoy a better sense of well-being.
Even before the pandemic, many people were having trouble figuring out this dilemma because they ignored the time factor. They would over-commit in terms of work or events and never have enough time to do things they really wanted.
Difficult times might encourage you to hustle and scrape. But if you’re already covering your survival bases, you might be earning more money than you need while not having enough time to actually enjoy living.
Make room for new experiences
Modern lifestyles tend to be filled with inconsequential tasks or mundane activities. This is true of living in an economic boom. It’s further magnified during times of economic hardship, as everything becomes set against a backdrop of upheaval and change on a national or even global scale.
To prevent each day from blending into a uniform, monotonous mess, we need to make unique memories. And that can be done by intentionally creating highlights each day. It means shifting the focus of your lifestyle towards the experiential.
Making your life experience-based offers several benefits when it comes to a time of crisis. First, it doesn’t have to cost much or anything at all.
Creating a highlight each day can mean setting aside time to work on a personal project or long-term goal. Maybe you actually do less, set aside your devices and other distractions, and practice more mindfulness.
Second, it sets you apart from the herd. By saving money and managing your time wisely, you don’t feel insecure about your resources. You don’t feel compelled to buy more than you need, placing less strain on local supply.
Finally, studies have shown that experiences make us happier than material things. Even if you can’t indulge in your favorite activities or travel freely, you can still focus on rewarding things you can do on an ordinary day. This is a sustainable way of living happily throughout the current crisis and others to come.