At Christmas time there is so much temptation to have the perfect day with family and friends that often overstretch the financial side of things. Worrying about finances at Christmas is at the forefront of your mind because you have the dilemma of wanting to satisfy everyone’s needs. You know this is unachievable but you get caught up in the excitement and expectation in society of what Christmas should be – rather than what it means for you.
Financial self care is key to balancing your holistic wellbeing. If you need to seek advice of a financial adviser or planner to keep you on schedule that is fine. Financial self care is about doing what feels right for you to achieve your goals.
However, with a little awareness of your money habits and understanding what you value means that you are in a better position than you think to set up some self care rituals for financial health.
Here are four strategies to start you on your journey to financial health to take you into the New Year.
Acknowledge the emotions you associate with money
Before you can move forward you need to acknowledge the way you feel about money. Do you see it as just a resource to buy things that leave you unfulfilled? Or do you see it as a way of adding value and happiness to your life? Next time you hear yourself ask `can I afford this’? Instead turn it around and ask if it is your money plan and are you giving up anything that brings you value in order to purchase that item.
Check in with your body
Your body is a great tool in recognising when you feel tension and negative emotions. So it is important that you learn to recognise the signs it send you. Recognise how money makes you feel and be aware of where you feel tension in your body. For example, when you pay a bill, notice any reaction your body has and most importantly where in your body that tension is. Then take note of your body’s signals when you pay for something that brings you pleasure. Money tensions are generally found in the lower back region so if you become aware of the location of physical sensations during your financial transactions, it can help to guide you in determining the root cause of your emotions.
Understand your financial start point
Honestly assess where you are financially and where you want to be. Look at everything you own and what you owe. How does money flow in and out of your life.
Income – expenses = money habits.
You may be surprised – or not – to learn where your money goes. It may be helpful to acknowledge the worry and anxiety you feel which can make you less resourceful. But don’t get stuck in the worry, instead make conscious choices to focus on actions to find solutions.
Know your values and how they align to your financial goals
What do you value and what does success mean to you. Do your current financial management practices show you care about you. Is your spending, earning, saving, investing in line with your values. To understand what you value most it is helpful to think about what you want to experience in life. This way you can focus your financial goals and resources that will bring you happiness and enjoyment in life.
Remember – take it slow and steady – and don’t forget to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small.
No-one is an expert at money, it is something you continue to learn along your life journey. Understanding how you relate to money is the first step in an ongoing practice to establish and explore strategies for a healthy outlook on your finances.