When most of us think of budgeting, we immediately associate it with: Save. Sacrifice. Save some more. Sacrifice what’s left after saving. Then save even more. And it’s true; saving and sacrifice (as well as investing) for a period of time are crucial building blocks for achieving financial wealth. But when all is said and done, remember that you are your greatest asset. You are the asset that makes attaining any other asset possible, and you need to take of you.
See, not only do you need balance sheets, you also need to balance being frugal and maintaining your mental ‘wealth’. Think about it: if after years of budgeting, saving and sacrificing you become the most financially successful person you know, but your physical and emotional health are suffering… Would it have been worth it? Absolutely not. Nothing that jeopardizes your physical or mental health is ever worth it. Nothing you pursue should ever be at the expense of maintaining your overall well-being.
So, how exactly do you balance the books with your need for self care? Here are 3 tips:
1. Identify What Your Self Care Needs Are
Each of us require a different level and type of self care; start by identifying what your specific needs are. Do you need decadence, or do you need community? Do you need time alone to decompress and recharge, or do you need professional help? Do you need travel and leisure, or do you finally need to start working on something you’ve been putting off for a while?
Maybe you’ve been stuck in a rut and need to indulge in your favorite dessert to lift your mood. Maybe you need some quality time with your loved ones. Maybe you need time away from everyone and everything to center and re-energize yourself. Life affects all of us in different ways; maybe you need to discuss some of the challenges you’re facing with a professional in a non-judgmental space. What will make you feel more at peace and your life more harmonious?
You also need to be mindful that your self care needs will vary. While you may want time alone today, you need community tomorrow. Be honest with yourself about what it is that you need, when you need it.
2. Identify What Your Resources Are
After identifying your needs, identify the resources you have available to provide for those needs. How much of your salary can you realistically dedicate to providing for your emotional and physical care? If you don’t have as significant a sum available that you would like, make a plan to accumulate what you need over a specific period.
For example, you may need a therapy/coaching session with a professional but don’t yet have all the money required. Instead of stressing about not being able to pay for your session all at once, make a plan to save the money over 2-3 months.
In addition to this, while there’s no doubt that checking your own pockets is the absolute best place to begin, remain open to the idea that your available resources aren’t solely limited to your financial resources. Can you barter? Maybe your therapist/coach needs help in a particular area that you’re great at. Reach out, ask them what their needs are, then offer your services to them in exchange for what you need.
Finally, self care also includes eliminating destructive habits. Are you spending money or time on things that ultimately end up affecting your overall health? Is procrastination contributing to your anxiety? It’s not easy, but avoid investing in things that will only leave you feeling guilty or make you ill afterwards.
3. Be Consistent
If you wouldn’t wait until you get into a car accident before getting car insurance, then don’t wait until your physical and emotional health deteriorates before you start caring for yourself. It’s far more beneficial to maintain the health you already have than to try restoring it when it declines.
Instant gratification is more destructive than helpful, and delayed gratification is praiseworthy; however, you need to make a habit of budgeting your gratifications instead. This simply means that you need to dedicate a portion of your total income to your self-maintenance and self care.
Always save towards something you want, even if it is the most non-essential item ever in the history of existence! Not only does doing this give you a burst of happiness, it also ensures that you will always have something to look forward to from yourself, for yourself. Another huge benefit is that you will be more motivated to maintain your upward momentum and habit of saving.
What are some of the ways that you balance indulging in self care with sticking to the budget?