While Web3 often attracts visionary, ambitious people, the uncertainty of bear markets can wreak havoc on anyone’s mental health. There are also the unique pressures of working in Web3, such as long hours, constant changes and “wearing many hats” for each role. This collectively can create a perfect storm for mental health concerns.
BFF member Melanie, who lives in Australia, was about to raise the seed round for her Web3 company Alyte in the Fall of 2022. Then, the FTX collapse happened. Overnight, the investment environment changed due to the market’s uncertainty. “The reality is that the market conditions do affect the practical ability to execute on that vision, and that’s personally stressful,” said Melanie. “It’s a really challenging environment, and that’s the reality of the situation.”
Meanwhile, Ann Marie (known as AMA) began working in Web3 in 2021, amassing around 600 non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In 2022, however, her NFTs decreased in value, and at the same time she began losing clients due to the struggling economy. These concerns began to trigger some mental health symptoms. “Financial stress causes me anxiety,” said AMA , a Las Vegas-based Web3 branding consultant and founder of Angry Mods.
She’s not alone: The American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2022 ‘Stress In America’ survey reported that 72% of American adults reported feeling stressed about money at some point in the month prior. Financial stressors can be a catalyst for mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. We saw increasing rates of depression, or “recession depression”, during the 2008 financial crisis, so it can be common to experience symptoms like these during our current bear market today as well.
It’s been a challenging time for many — people have been laid off from work, or have had to make tough choices for their businesses. Luckily, there is a lot we can do that can help ourselves navigate these bear market blues in a healthy way.
Mary, a marketing professional and MBA student with over three years of Web3 experience, says she has been spending more time lately on practices that support her mental health. “I’ve found moments of peace and perspective through incorporating simple habits into my daily routine ... for example, finding a creative outlet that doesn’t have to be a ‘productive activity’ is helpful for me,” said Mary. She shared that going for walks, calling friends to check in, meditation, and playing piano have helped her take things day by day during these difficult times.
As a therapist with over a decade of mental healthcare industry experience, and from being involved in our Web3 world since 2020, here are some recommended tips you can try to support your mental health during these difficult times.
Knowledge is power. If you’re noticing signs of anxiety, like changes in your appetite or sleep, consider taking action in one of the below ways. Sometimes symptoms of anxiety can show up as physical symptoms, like headaches or stomach aches, so keep an eye out for those.
If you’re feeling symptoms of anxiety or depression, ask yourself: Am I drinking enough water and eating well? Am I moving my body daily? How is my sleep? Focus on strengthening one of these mental health foundational needs and see if that makes you feel better.
Do you reach for your phone first thing in the morning, and fall asleep scrolling before bed? Many of us are guilty, but if you’re noticing an increase in your stress or difficulty sleeping, it might be worth setting a new relationship with your screens. Use the ‘do not disturb’ setting to mute notifications, or set a time limit for the max amount of time you can spend on Discord, Twitter, or social media each day. There’s a way to stay informed and connected without compromising your mental health.
When life feels uncertain, especially in a shaky economic climate, it can be helpful to re-evaluate what psychologist Abraham Maslow developed as his motivational hierarchy. Dr. Maslow explained that psychological safety is a core need; we need it before we can feel safe enough to create or explore. So if you’re concerned about anything safety-related right now (like with finances), prioritize getting that situated. Resources like Ramit Sethi’s Conscious Spending Plan, from his book and podcast I Will Teach You To Be Rich, can help you outline monthly living expenses, even if you’re working freelance or you’ve been laid off.
We can often be our own harshest critic. How do you talk to yourself when you’re stressed, or you made a mistake? What would you say to your best friend in the same situation? Research by Dr. Kristen Neff shows that talking to yourself in a kinder way is actually more productive.
Taking care of our mental health isn’t just nice to do -- we must carve out time to take care of ourselves. Would your car go far with an empty tank of gas? The same is true for all of us: how can we fill up our proverbial tank so we can be our best selves? Feel free to try some of the tips above to find what works best for you.
If you take anything from this article, know that your worth is not conditional on your job, your NFTs or what's in your wallet. You are good and worthy and deserving, separate and apart from the titles and things in your life. Times may be hard right now with the bear market, but know that you will get through this, and you have a whole community of people who are here for you, BFFs!
Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice or investment advice. If you have concerns about your mental health, please DYOR and seek support from a therapist, psychiatrist, or trusted sources like Mental Health America. You deserve support.
Editor's note: First names and pseudonyms were used to protect the privacy of sources.
This is not financial advice. If you don't want to spend money investing in crypto or Web3 — you don’t have to. The intent of this article is to help others educate themselves and learn.
Kate Rosenblatt,MA, LPC, LMHC is a psychotherapist and researcher with over a decade of mental healthcare industry experience. She specializes in depression and anxiety and researches digital mental health interventions. Kate is passionate about understanding how we can leverage technology to enhance our mental health and wellbeing. To that end, she is focusing on how Web3 is impacting our mental health, and what we can do about it.