Have you ever avoided opening your bank account, delayed paying bills, or kept constantly taking out your credit card? Don’t worry – you’re not alone: procrastinating with finances is a common theme among adults.
Despite our hesitancy to face our finances, financial wellness is an integral part of our holistic health. Financial health, according to the scientific definition, refers to one’s ability to manage expenses, prepare for and recover from financial shocks, and to maintain minimal debt, while still being in a position to build wealth. Maintaining a healthy balance in all areas of our lives is important, because when we neglect one part of our overall wellness, other parts struggle as well.
But on the flip side, when we take care of our financial wellness, other areas of our lives also improve, such as our mental and even physical health. Yes, you read that right! Stress causes our physical health to suffer, so when we’re less stressed about our finances, our physical health also benefits. Imagine that: increased financial wellness correlates to an increase in better health outcomes.
A Look at Financial Wellness
So what does it mean to be financially well? According to the scientific definition, there are subjective and objective factors. The subjective are aspects we rate ourselves, such as how satisfied we feel towards our finances, financial attitudes, and behaviors. Objective factors refer to one’s financial situation, such as debt, income, or non-income sources of money.
Simply put, financial security means having enough money for your lifestyle. It means we feel secure in our finances, in what we can and cannot afford. Although this feeling of security remains the same in most cases, what financial wellness actually looks like can vary a lot from person to person.
Beginning the Budget
Even though it might not be the most fun task in the world, and maybe even a little scary, looking at the reality of your financial situation and tackling it head-on by creating a budget is vital for your health and wellbeing.
Caring for all aspects of ourselves and our lives is at the center of the meaning of holistic wellbeing. How can our minds be at ease when we’re worried about paying rent? How can we enjoy our vacation if we feel guilty about spending the money? There are even less obvious
factors to consider: people who feel less stressed about money reported fewer illnesses and needed fewer sick days from work!
If this feels overwhelming or impossible to achieve, don’t panic – that’s natural! Like in other areas of our lives, working with our finances takes practice and time. Try facing this process as something factual or logical, like a puzzle. Remove any negative emotions about economic status. Feeling guilty or ashamed about our finances only increases our stress, decreases our health, and makes handling our finances more difficult. Whatever your situation is, it won’t change by channeling negativity towards it.
What will help, however, is treating this as a great first step toward optimizing your holistic wellbeing. Handling our finances is a life-long process: when we make small, positive adjustments over time, we can continue to move towards our goals with ease.