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health and finances

Does Balancing Your Health and Finances = Wellness?

Wellness is a Daily Journey

Your physical and financial well-being add up when you have good nutrition, proper rest and adequate exercise. In fact, study results conducted by researchers at Duke found that low credit scores could be used to predict an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Many people may wonder why this is so, but the correlation between your health and finances is fairly simple: Salmon Israel (co-author of the Duke study) explained in Forbes that, “A person who possesses skills to better manage their health is more likely to possess the skills to better manage their finances.”

You may also be interested in, “Military Spouses Can Break Free from Unemployment and Depression.

Discipline and self-control are key to balancing your health and finances, but when things don’t add up, much could be at risk. Did you know that what you eat and how often you exercise impact how you manage stress and help reduce your risk of slipping into depression?

Balancing Real Nutrition With Real Life

Eating too many restaurant meals leads to higher levels of obesity, increased body fat and a higher BMI. Additionally, eating out can also cost almost double the price when compared to eating at home. This can wreak havoc on both your body and your wallet.

A person who possesses skills to better manage their health is more likely to possess the skills to better manage their finances.

The common factor between good eating habits and good financial health is self-control. Jeff Reeves, author of “The Frugal Investors Guide to Finding Great Stocks,” said in Forbes, “If you don’t have the discipline to say “no” to junk food or count calories, you probably make a lot of impulse buys and have trouble balancing your checkbook.” Funny how that adds up, right?

So, what can you do? Try planning your meals ahead of trips to the grocery store, and plan when you will be eating out. If the ingredients for a fresh meal are sitting at home waiting for you, you will be less likely to stop at a restaurant for dinner.

While some may argue that healthy choices cost more, what you get back in energy and mental clarity are well worth the slight increase in cost, and you will still save money over going out. Good nutrition will also help you look and feel better. You’ll have more energy to work hard and play hard and that can benefit your finances in the long term.

Exercise Helps You and Your Wallet Stay Fit

Most people with families and careers find it hard to fit in a daily workout, but skipping this healthy habit can cost you much more in the long run. Regular exercise gives your brain more energy to work and boosts cognitive performance which can keep your health and finances in a state of well being.

Are you being outperformed by coworkers who make the time for daily runs or cycling classes? Do they have the energy to work late when up against deadlines, and you don’t?

People who exercise tend to eat and sleep better, which in turn promotes other important healthy habits.

Try incorporating 2-½ hours of exercise per week to see meaningful results in both your waistline and energy levels. Fitting in exercise does not have to mean joining an expensive gym. You can try biking or walking to work. Consider adopting a dog to exercise together. Use the weekends to explore your city on foot or take a hike through a local park, or try an exercise class with a friend.

Long-term financial health requires discipline and planning, just like a long-term exercise plan. Start slowly and build up. Make plans and stick to them. You will be rewarded with more energy and a trimmer waistline.

Can you Sleep Your Troubles Away?

Research on sleep deprivation from the University of New South Wales shows that cognitive and motor performance after 24 hours with no sleep is similar to that of drunken drivers. You say you’re getting four to five hours of sleep a night, so you’re “OK.” Think again. That lack of sleep still means your decision-making is not as clear as it should be.

Are you impulse buying? Are you paying too much for big purchases like homes or cars? Are your performance evaluations at work on par with those of your better-rested coworkers?

A few more hours of sleep on a regular basis can put you back on track. Think of it as good sleep hygiene:

  • Turn electronics off or keep them out of your bedroom.
  • Avoid screen-time 30 minutes before bed.
  • Take a power nap when you can.
  • Invest in room-darkening shades.

It sounds simple; however, despite most American adults reporting they would like to get more sleep, many are not willing to make these small adjustments to ensure they tackle every day well-rested.

You may also be interested in, “The Relationship Between Sleep and Finances is Stronger than You Thought.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Many people do not realize there is positive and negative stress and how each can affect the balance of your health and finances. While positive stress helps you stay focused and on-task, negative stress leaves you feeling overwhelmed and disengaged. It can also lead to burnout. Stressed-out workers miss work more often and the toll stress takes on your immune system leads to even more missed days.

In addition to missed work days and disengaged employees, many experiencing stress turn to retail therapy as a temporary stress reliever. Unfortunately, like stress-eating, stress-shopping can result in more problems once the initial buying high goes away. You’ll rack up bills, and you may feel some buyer’s remorse.

Many people do not realize there is positive and negative stress and how each can affect the balance of your health and finances.

De-stressing your life can initially appear to be a lot of hard work, but the payoff is worth it. Develop your own healthy stress coping mechanisms, like reading a book, or going on a run with a friend. Incorporating some of the other healthy habits in to your coping routines can have huge impacts on reducing negative stress in your life.

  • Plan and cook a healthy meal with your loved ones;
  • Spend a family day in the park;
  • Turn off your cell phone or work email for a few hours.

Disconnecting from work stress and reconnecting with nature and your family will help you better create work-life balance and result in less overall stress. When you reconnect, your work time will be more focused and productive.

Depression Takes it Toll

The unfortunate reality that is depression reaches levels that impact every aspect of the sufferer’s life. People who struggle with debt are eight times more likely to report dealing with sadness and depression. People who struggle with depression are also more likely to face dire financial consequences as a result of overspending.

Sometimes the overspending is a coping mechanism, just like those coping with stress; other times, overspending is a result of not having access to proper health care through insurance plans that cover mental health issues. Before the Affordable Care Act, many patients were left to struggle, and those struggles often resulted in negative financial outcomes.

Celebrate when you reach goals in paying down debt and track your progress.

While seeking medical attention is certainly necessary to help alleviate depression, addressing the sources of depression is also necessary. Make a plan to pay off debt and stick to it. When you build in delay tactics, like leaving your credit card at home when you go out, you avoid impulse purchases. By doing this, you’ll avoid the guilt and sadness that accompany impulse shopping. Celebrate when you reach goals in paying down debt and track your progress. Your health and finances are directly related and as you approach balance in one, the other will start to move in that direction as well.

You may also be interested in, “How to Stay Afloat When You’re Swimming in Financial Debt.

Feeling Out of Balance? Address Your Health and Finances, First

While at first glance, the symbiotic relationship between your waistline and your wallet is not obvious, using self-discipline to keep them both in check will lead to a healthier, happier life and a more prosperous future. Get proper exercise, nutrition and rest so you have more energy and mental clarity to handle life’s stress in more healthful ways. Don’t let excuses like “I don’t have the time” or “It’s too expensive” derail you from a healthy, long life and happy financial future.

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About Mercedes Holmen

Mercedes is a business owner and Executive Consultant with Rodan + Fields. In addition, she works in the field of behavior analysis for children with autism and their families, specializing in preschool aged children. She also has her Masters in Science from University of California at Davis.

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