Along with all other components of our well-being (our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being) our financial well-being is vital if we’re to have total wellness.
Most of us recognise the importance of self-care in taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture our physical and emotional well-being, yet I’m not sure many of us are likely to put the terms money + self-care together.
We may be focused on our nutrition and physical well-being, we may meditate and practice healthy lifestyle choices, yet when we stress or worry about money, it often ends up undermining the benefits and positive action that we’re taking towards our well-being.
Many of us are disconnected from our money and how it actually fits into our life that we end up just ignoring or avoiding it all together.
Yet, the more connected we are to our money the more control we have over it and the easier it is for us to reduce stress and take control of our financial future.
So what is financial self-care and how do we practice it?
Financial self-care is about learning to connect with our money in a more conscious way so that our thoughts and actions with our money begin to add, not subtract from our well-being. Financial self-care describes the actions that we might take in order to reach optimal financial health.
It's about prioritising our relationship with money and understanding the link that our money has to our overall well-being and taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture our wealth and well-being.
Most importantly self-care is about taking proper care of ourselves and our money and treating our money as importantly as all other areas of our well-being. It’s about re-framing the context of money in our life so that we have control over it, rather than it having control over us.
To me, financial self-care comes down to three simple steps:
1. Creating awareness of how we think about, behave with and manage our money.
2. Nurturing our relationship with money to take control of it and reduce the stress it causes us.
3. Prioritising our wealth and well-being by giving our finances the care and attention they require.
It’s a practice that requires us to create habits and routines that support and nurture our relationship with money. Below are a few tips on how to incorporate financial self-care into our lives:
1. Prioritise it. In order to make change or improvement in anything in life we’re going to need to make time to make it a priority! Self care is no different. Whether it’s a few minutes or an hour each day or deciding to take a course, workshop or retreat, we need to make time to and focus our attention on money and wealth.
2. Let go of the judgement and comparison. Constant judgement and comparison doesn't get us anywhere, in fact it only creates more stress and feelings of inadequacy or despair. Remember that your financial situation is completely unique to you and you're in control of your situation always. As the saying goes, you've got to start somewhere and whilst the best time to start may have been yesterday, the second best time is today!
3. Start talking about money: Part of the reason we have such complex relationships with money is because we don’t talk about it! Money is such a taboo subject, it seems even more so than sex, religion and politics these day! Open the conversation – choose a friend, partner, group of friends or someone else you trust and have a money conversation!
4. Learn some quick fixes. Surprisingly there are many simple strategies which can implemented in mere minutes! Managing money isn’t necessarily complicated, in fact simple things like taking steps to reduce emotional or impulsive spending, looking at ways to reduce debt, setting money goals can work wonders towards your financial self-care.
5. Breathe: So often when we’re stressed, rushed or too busy, we forget to just breathe! Breathing is such a simple way to introduce more calm and provide us with the opportunity to pause and think before we just “act” with our money. The beauty of this tip is that it can be done in a few minutes, practically anywhere!
Integrating financial self-care into our routine can be a really beautiful thing, at least, that’s what Kirstin Harcourt of Women’s Wellbeing & Travel and I have decided as inspiration for our Mindful Wealth Retreat that we’ve put together. In fact, we've even given it a name.... Wellth (wealth & well-being): a weekend of self-care through nutrition, yoga, mindfulness, dance, massage, champagne, connection and of course mindful wealth! Bliss! Why not join us?