Ever wondered about the relationship between money and health? Financial worry ranks amongst the highest stressors one can experience. Few other stressors are more destructive to the things we hold dear – from relationships with others, to our own sense of self-worth and our ability to care for our families. Financial worries can include carrying a large amount of debt, an inability to save money or to pay the bills at one’s preferred pace, job loss and more.
Eliminate Financial Stress to Increase Wellness
It’s safe to say that financial worries create an oppressive environment of stress. It’s challenging to enjoy the moment and take care of ourselves if we’re always worried about tomorrow. Reciprocally, the absence of these worries gives us room to create an environment of self-care and total wellness. So let’s eliminate your financial stress and increase your wellness, starting right now.
Step One: Educate Yourself
Many people, when faced with real or imagined financial peril, take the approach of avoidance: “If I don’t think about it, maybe it will go away.” Rather than figuring out productive ways to improve their financial situation these same people will often engage in counterproductive activities such as excessive spending, throwing bills in the trash and avoiding the calls of creditors.
If you have ever done any of these things – or if they sound attractive to you – don’t beat yourself up. Instead, educate yourself and ask for help. There are many free and low-cost resources available to you, depending on your circumstances. For instance, it may be wise to speak to a debt counselor, an accountant, and/or an investment consultant. The point is to get the information you need to arm yourself with the tools that will improve your unique financial situation.
Step Two: Make an Honest Assessment
Admittedly, this step can be challenging. It takes courage and a real willingness to make a positive change to complete this step, but it’s well worth the effort.
Step Two is where you make an honest assessment of your current financial situation, and make a clear distinction between need and want. This is where you determine all of your sources of income as well as all of your expenses. Be sure to factor in other necessities such as food. You may even want to keep a 30-day log of everything on which you actually spend money. Then, take a hard look at where you can cut expenses, or make other necessary changes.
Step Three: Create an Action Plan
With all that you learned in Steps One and Two, create an action plan. Your plan should be something you truly can do, not a pie-in-the-sky list of things you know you won’t be able to accomplish. Giving yourself an opportunity to be successful is important when developing an action plan. Include the following in your plan, at a minimum:
- Your overall goal (make it measurable, and something you can attain with reasonable effort)
- A monthly budget that will allow you to attain the overall goal
- A timeline that notes key milestones associated with attainment of the goal, including regular check-ins to make sure you’re on-track, or to give you an opportunity to make course corrections
- A list of specific actions you’ll take to support all of the above (such as using coupons, canceling magazine subscriptions, making coffee at home versus buying it at a coffee shop, putting more money per week into savings, etc.)
Why spend another day with the stress of financial worry hanging over your head? A commitment to financial wellness is commitment to yourself, and to your overall wellness. Aren’t you worth at least that much? I think you are.
Catherine Mason is a writer, former educator, and someone who has multiple food allergies. As Tribe Leader & Chief Wellness Coach at www.mydietribe.com, she helps people identify, assimilate and maintain sustainable health and wellness practices in their everyday lives, with a focus on physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and financial wellness. Catherine may be contacted at email@example.com, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@mydietribe).
Money and Health can be like bickering siblings
Share your financial stressors here
What are simple, sustainable tips for overcoming them? Tell us! Because everyone can use a useful financial tip now and then.