Take your mind off the money and do something! Everyone should know by now that a small group of individuals controls the economy, but they don’t control you. They don’t control your mind, your heart, your soul or your reason to be. What they do control is the Federal Reserve, the major banks and the oil industry, which are all out of our control, so forget about it and move on to controlling your life and what you can do to make it better, no matter what strings are being pulled out there in world-domination land.

Every time my finances have taken a severe downturn, whether it was a job loss, a major geographical move or spending all I had on an awesome tropical vacation, I used it as a chance to re-examine my skills, abilities, dreams, hopes, desires and goals, then do something to start on a new path. Sure, some ideas weren’t so smart, like assuming that recording a CD would lead to fortune and fame. That idea; however, led to developing an entirely new and exciting trail of experiences, knowledge and skills that benefit me in every area of my life.

I am the last person to come to for practical advice on living safe and smart. I can tell you all sorts of stories about choices I’ve made that have enriched my life exponentially while contributing very little to, or detracting from, my bank balance. I can tell you how to spend recklessly, live joyfully and take risks – to hell with the consequences. This is not my purpose today.

What I can tell you in a fiscally responsible fashion is that you can find ways to enrich your life right here and now that are either relatively inexpensive, or free. Since you are possibly unemployed or reigning in the budget, leaving swaths of free time on hand, what have you got to lose?

Seven things to do when you’re not feeling like your fabulous self:

1. Walk. Go for a walk, alone, every day, preferably in a natural setting with at least some trees or a body of water around. Do your best with what you’ve got. Walk until the annoying worrywart in your head shuts up, and then walk a bit longer to enjoy the silence, maybe even take notice of the beauty around you and smile. If you choose to walk with a companion, choose one who won’t put up with any negative talk – like a dog, for example.

2. Write. Don’t know what to write? Start with all the pent-up garbage in your head. Just go for it. Who cares if it’s drivel? Okay, the drivel is gone. Now throw it out. Write down everything you are grateful for and why. Or write a story, write a song, write haiku, write your family history, start on the next great epic novel or an article on how to survive the recession.

3. Sing. Sing your own song, if you have one, or sing along to your favourite CD. Sing in the shower, or in the rain. Go play that dusty guitar in the corner or drop in to a music store and try out some instruments. Just make some music, even if you suck at it, in which case you may wish to do this in solitude. All that emoting will make you feel good. If it’s too scary, why not go to a local open mic and simply enjoy the show for the price of a coffee or a beer.

4. Paint or draw or sculpt or something else visually artistic. Drawing is the cheapest, of course. All you need is scrap paper and a pen or pencil. Painting you can do on the cheap, too, if you don’t have supplies. Go to a dollar store and pick up one of those little paint sets. Or if painting really turns your crank, get the primo set-up at an art store – it’ll cost you, but will keep you occupied for a very long time. Can’t tell you about sculpting – I’ve never pursued it, but I do recall harvesting from the clay banks around town and making something from it back in the day. Maybe you know someone who already does this stuff – they might let you use their supplies. Ask.

5. Read. Get a library card, if you don’t have one already. You can get the equivalent of a University education in your local library. Learn about something that has always fascinated you that you have never had the time to pursue. Read some motivational books or books and periodicals that will help you get an edge in your profession or industry. Read a novel to take you to a different world for a while. Become a fixture in your local bookstores. Check out the internet, too. There are gigs of free e-books and articles on everything if you’re willing to search them out.

6. Be still. Meditate. Listen to your intuition for the next step to take, and then act on it.

7. Help someone. You have skills, abilities and experience – why not pass on some of your knowledge to another. Be a mentor. Be kind – take the extra time to hold the door open for a stranger, to listen to the elderly person who is lonely and will benefit from a few minutes of your time, to smile at a harassed mother in the grocery store. Volunteer with a non-profit. There is always some way to help.

The whole point of this is to keep the quotation marks around the world ‘recession’, which has been constructed by people and events outside of your control, and to remind you that you have everything you need in this moment. You have a choice every second to buy into despondency or to take positive action on behalf of yourself and those around you by celebrating each moment and looking at a brighter future.

Seize the day!

Author's Bio: 

Heather Loewen is the author of '101 Reasons to be Yourself', a book full of practical advice and suggestions for making positive change and living more creatively. Heather has been a Yukon cabin girl and singer/songwriter as well as a painter, marketing genius and other things. She has recently created 'No Regrets 101' and 'Cash Control 101', online courses in discovering your dreams and financial management for beginners.