We’re sure all you “Friends” fans recognize that famous line from the popular 90’s TV show. But in all seriousness, how you doin’? There is a lot going on in the world right now: a global pandemic, social isolation, record high unemployment, unpredictable stock market, more people working from home, parenting while working, the list goes on and on. It’s a lot to take in and juggle, so it’s timely that June is National Employee Wellness Month. That wellness includes your physical, mental, emotional, and financial health – what you do in one area impacts the others.
You may be financially stressed for lots of reasons: credit card debt, student loans, childcare costs, etc. Research shows that people who are financially stressed are more likely to develop health issues (blood pressure, heart issues, depression, anxiety, etc), skip healthcare visits, ignore small symptoms that could develop into more complicated issues, and not adhere to medication regimens for chronic conditions due to cost. As you can see, your health and your finances are seriously intertwined. The #1 source of stress in America is personal finances and the #1 reason for personal bankruptcy is medical debt. The health issues we’ve mentioned can quickly lead to significant medical bills, creating a cycle of financial and health problems. All of this can take a serious toll on your overall well-being.
It is important to take care of your whole self, physical, mental, emotional and financial. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Schedule breaks from work throughout the day. Put them on your calendar as a meeting with yourself. Take a short walk. Eat lunch outside and get some fresh air. These breaks can help you relax and reset.
2. Get your annual physicals and well-being exams. These are a check in on your health (physical and mental/emotional). Most health plans must cover a set of preventive services at no cost to you. So check with your plan for details and get them scheduled. Prevention is cheap compared to treatment.
3. Create a plan for your money – aka a budget. Having a plan helps you feel in control of your money when so much of it is out of your control. Retailers spend millions of dollars a year in advertising making sure you think you need their product. Apple Pay, Venmo, and every other payment provider is working to make it easier and easier for you to spend money. But if you have goals and a budget, your money will already have a plan – a goal that’s meaningful to you – making it easier to say no to frivolous spending. And best of all, you’ll feel less stressed and more in control.
4. Keep moving. Exercise is good for your mental and physical health. It can lower your risk for many chronic conditions and improve your mood. Find something you enjoy, whether it’s walking, yoga, hiking, biking etc. And even better, find someone to exercise with. It will keep you accountable and give you some social interaction, improving your mood.
5. Eat a balanced diet. Meal planning and cooking at home is certainly the best way to accomplish this. If you do eat meals out, look for the healthier options (grilled or baked vs. fried), vegetables, salads and drink lots of water. Eating in can also help your budget!
If you need help with any of these, reach out to BrightDime for a financial check-up, or your employer health plan for assistance. If you feel your overall wellness is already in good shape, share your success and what motivates you with others. Become a wellness champion for your company, your friend group, church, school, neighborhood, etc. Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy for everyone, but encouragement from others goes a long way.