Holistic Health: What is Financial Wellness?
If you’ve been following along with our Holistic Health blog post series, you’ll have learned about three aspects of holistic health: sleep, movement, and diet. You would have learned that:
Holistic health means looking at a person as a whole being, not just a part of a being.
Sleep is tied intimately with both physical and mental health.
Joyful movement releases those feel-good chemicals that help our mood.
Intuitive eating can be better for your mental health than rigid, inflexible diets.
In the fourth part of this series, we’re talking about money.
The link between money and mental health is a topic that affects many people in different ways. It's no secret that financial stress can take a toll on our well-being. When we're constantly worried about making ends meet, paying bills, or dealing with debt, it can be incredibly overwhelming. The pressure to meet societal expectations and maintain a certain standard of living can also contribute to feelings of anxiety and inadequacy.
Money is so tied to our mental health, there’s a whole field in therapy dedicated to it: financial trauma. Financial trauma refers to the emotional and psychological impact that financial experiences and beliefs can have on individuals. It recognizes that our relationship with money is deeply intertwined with our overall well-being.
How can finances impact both our physical and mental wellness, and what can you do about it? We’re glad you asked!
The Impacts of Finances on Physical Health:
Finances can have a significant impact on physical health, as financial well-being is closely intertwined with overall well-being. Consider the following ways in which finances can influence physical health:
Access to healthcare: Financial constraints can limit individuals' ability to access quality healthcare services, including regular check-ups, preventive care, and necessary treatments. Lack of health insurance or high medical costs may deter people from seeking timely medical attention, leading to delayed diagnoses and worsening health conditions.
Lifestyle choices: Financial limitations can affect the ability to make healthy lifestyle choices. Healthy foods, gym memberships, and recreational activities often come with expenses. Limited financial resources may lead to a reliance on cheaper, less nutritious food options and a lack of access to exercise facilities, potentially contributing to weight gain, obesity, and related health issues.
Housing and living conditions: Financial struggles can result in inadequate housing conditions, such as overcrowding, substandard living environments, or homelessness. These conditions increase the risk of exposure to pollutants, infectious diseases, and mental health challenges, all of which can negatively impact physical well-being.
The Impacts of Intuitive Eating on Mental Health:
Finances can have a profound impact on mental health, influencing various aspects of well-being. Here are several ways in which finances can affect mental health:
Stress and anxiety: Financial difficulties, such as debt, unemployment, or the inability to meet basic needs, can lead to chronic stress and anxiety. Constant worry about financial obligations and the future can contribute to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and overall mental distress.
Depression and mood disorders: The strain of financial hardship can increase the risk of developing or exacerbating depression and other mood disorders. The feelings of inadequacy, shame, or failure associated with financial struggles can significantly impact self-esteem and overall emotional well-being.
Limited access to mental healthcare: Financial constraints can limit individuals' access to mental healthcare services, including therapy, counseling, and medication. The cost of treatment and lack of insurance coverage may prevent people from seeking the help they need, prolonging and worsening mental health conditions.
How to Cultivate Financial Wellness:
Cultivating financial wellness involves developing healthy financial habits and attitudes to achieve a sense of stability, security, and peace of mind. Here are some steps you can take to promote financial well-being:
Create a budget: Start by creating a realistic budget that outlines your income, expenses, and savings goals. Track your spending and identify areas where you can cut back or make adjustments to align with your financial priorities.
Build an emergency fund: Establishing an emergency fund is crucial for unexpected expenses or financial setbacks. Aim to save three to six months' worth of living expenses in a separate account that is easily accessible.
Manage debt: Develop a plan to manage and reduce any existing debt. Prioritize high-interest debts and consider strategies such as debt consolidation or negotiating lower interest rates. Make consistent payments to gradually pay off debts and avoid accumulating more debt.
Seek financial education: Take advantage of educational resources, workshops, or online courses to improve your financial literacy. Understand concepts like investing, managing credit, and financial planning to make informed decisions and increase your financial confidence.
Practice mindful spending: Before making purchases, assess whether they align with your values and long-term goals. Differentiate between needs and wants, and be intentional about your spending choices. Avoid impulsive buying and take time to research and compare prices and options.
We hope this blog post helped inform you about holistic health, and just one element of it: financial wellness! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life - including financial wellness and trauma. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!