'How do I deal with societal pressure to appear well-dressed this Eid amid inflation?'

"This time around the joy of Eid remains dimmed due to inflation," asks a 30-something stressed homemaker

By
Haya Malik

Hi Haya,

I’m in my late 30s and have three children. My husband is the sole breadwinner and sometimes it gets really hard for us to manage the budget as all three kids go to school and the bills keep increasing day by day.

And now that Eid is almost here, I am struggling to shop for my family with a very challenging budget. The prices of clothes and shoes these days have skyrocketed and anything that falls within the budget is not good quality. Given the societal pressure of wearing good clothes and appearing well put together has put an immense mental strain on me and my husband.

Other than that, I also have to manage the expenses for other essentials including food. We celebrate Eid holidays twice a year, but this time around the joy has been dimmed due to inflation and our family’s struggle with managing finances.

I’ve been tensed these days as managing the budget and daily expenses as well as buying clothes and other things for special occasions like Eid has gotten really stressful for us as a couple. How do we deal with this pressure and control the urge to buy expensive clothes? Please help.

— A stressed homemaker

How do I deal with societal pressure to appear well-dressed this Eid amid inflation?

Dear concerned,

I hear this is a very challenging time for you and your family.

Financial stress can significantly impact your mental and emotional health.

Today’s economic climate has made it really difficult for many to enjoy the things previously done. Know that you are not alone and there is no doubt that this is a really challenging time.

Inflation is something beyond your control right now.

I hear that every year for Eid you are able to buy what you like for yourself and your family which brings about a feeling of joy for you and this year it’s different. In addition, the societal pressure is putting immense strain on you and your husband.

Lets have a look at your situation.

I would encourage you to have an open communication with your husband. Discuss your concerns, fears and ideas for managing expenses together. Collaborate on finding solutions and support each other through this challenging time.

You are struggling to shop for your family and the options you like do not fit the budget. With life’s constant changes, we need to audit our expectations and manage them accordingly. You can either worry and stress about what’s not happening or either you can be realistic and find something else that’s cheaper. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. Perhaps it could be simpler.

I hear that societal pressure of wearing good clothes and appearing well put together is taking a toll on you and your husband. I would encourage you to question and explore your beliefs around money and identity. What is the definition of “good clothes”? what does well put together mean for you and what are some ways you can achieve that within your current situation?

Know that the only pressure we take is the one we choose to take on. Only you know what you and your family are going through. You can either allow societal pressure to dictate you and rob you of your happiness (in which the loss would only be of your family’s, with no impact to society) or you could take the pressure lid off and choose to focus on things that matter.

Some other things you can do are pre plan and budget in advance for the next Eid. Look for sales, buy off season for next season. Create a detailed budget that includes all your expenses, including essentials like food, utilities and school fees, as well as discretionary spending like clothes for Eid. Prioritise your expenses based on what's most important for your family's well-being.

Look into reusing and recycling old clothes and find new ways of styling and projecting them.

In the context of Eid, remember the true essence of what Eid really stands for — a celebration of faith, family, community and gratitude.

I would encourage you to shift your perspective and focus on what you do have vs what you don’t have. I know its hard to adapt to the change but what can be some other ways to create joyous moments for you and your family? Enjoying a meal together, going to meet people together, putting mehndi for your kids, going to see festive lights etc.

Reflect on the blessings in your life, such as your family, health, and relationships. Remember that happiness and joy can be found in the simplest of things and gratitude can help shift your perspective and reduce feelings of stress and inadequacy.

It is all about how we choose to look at it. We can either live in abundance or scarcity. When you see abundance, you will find abundance within you and around you. If you choose to focus on scarcity, you will find scarcity within you and around you.

It is now up to you and your husband to perhaps create a new culture of Eid for you and your family that will also play a pivotal part in the beliefs your kids form about the festive occasion and how they approach it.

I wish you and your family a joyous Eid Mubarak and hope this Eid is filled in abundance for you.

Best Wishes,

Haya

How do I deal with societal pressure to appear well-dressed this Eid amid inflation?

Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.


Send her your questions to [email protected]


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