Financial issues can cause strain on our relationships, impair our productivity at work when stress and strain overwhelm us and seriously impact our overall wellness. When we’re figuring out ways to take better care of ourselves, we need to include ways to manage financial stress as well.
Since self-care is about managing our well-being, and because it includes achieving balance in our lives that helps us feel better and live better, achieving a financial balance should play a part in our self-care strategy.
Planning your financial self-care in times of stress
It’s especially hard to achieve financial balance in tough times. Now is a good time to turn to the experts to seek guidance on how to manage our finances and work on ways to positively impact our wellbeing and limit stress where we can.
Recommended free resources:
2-1-1 Texas – connecting people with resources during Covid-19 (food, health, housing and more)
Debt.org’s Covid-19 financial advice and resources
Managing debt to improve your mental wealth (e-book from Money Management International)
Budget guides from MMI
Personal finance tools from incharge.org
PBS’s Personal Finance during the Covid-19 pandemic video
Two Cents’ How to Survive an Unemployment Crisis video
Find your United Way – Covid 19 financial resources
And here are some tips that can help:
Create a budget
· Now is the time to look at eliminating extras and focusing on the must haves of shelter, food, utilities, transportation, and medical care/medication. Free budget apps can help.
· Whether you use a spreadsheet, an app, or a legal notepad, spiral notebook, - or the backs of old envelopes – keep a record of your plan and keep it updated. Whatever you do – make a record of it so that you have your own tool for working out your plan.
· Start small with goals, and then build goals of different magnitude (small goals, short-term, long-term, major goals). Goals can be guides on your financial path. Brainstorming and then committing to them will help you stay on track with your plan. Here are some examples to get you started.
Stick to the plan
· Once you develop your plan – it’s time to plan ways to stick to it. You don’t have to be perfect – but finding ways to reward yourself for doing well at financial self-care can help you stay on track. That may mean something as simple as a long bubble bath, taking a staycation day off, or a family game night where you get to choose the game – as a little reward for sticking to your plan. Find simple things that make you happy, and use them to reward yourself for staying on track.
Involve the whole family
· Don’t keep the kids out of the loop. Sit down and talk as a family about struggles you are facing, what they mean, and how everyone can pitch in. Kids feel their parents’ stress – and if they don’t know where it’s coming from, that not knowing can increase anxiety for them. Your kids can learn and grow from dealing with financial adversity now, which will help them on their own paths to success later. And, they may surprise you with insights and ideas.
Ask for help/talk about it with trusted friends
· Now is a good time to talk to friends and family about finances – a topic that sometimes we think is off-limits or too personal. People across the country and indeed across the world are struggling. It’s the perfect time to open up, if comfortable, and talk to a trusted friend about how they are coping. You may be able to share tips and even resources that can help you and others.
· Reach out to resources in your community. They are there for that reason. Help from non-profits and resource networks can make a difference.
In the long run, if we implement good financial strategies during stressful times – we may find that we are creating lifetime habits that will keep us on a financial path that can lead to stability, less stress, and better financial management skills. The key is to be proactive, stay positive, and look into ways to be creative.
Take advantage of financial videos, resources, curated articles, and webinars in your Wellbeing portal and be In the Green!