We all want to be the best person we can be. We want to be healthy and happy. Health plays an integral part in striving to be the best we can be, but being healthy doesn’t refer to a healthy body only. For you to be the best you, it is important to take care of your overall wellbeing.
According to Wikipedia the definition of wellness is: ‘a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of wellbeing’. Wellness is much more than meeting the basic needs of food, a place to live and the absence of illness. It is a dynamic process of change and personal growth; an active process of becoming aware of the importance of wellbeing. Wellness is not a one-dimensional concept but consist of the following dimensions that all require similar focus and attention:
Physical Wellness: maintaining a healthy body.
Emotional Wellness: understanding and acknowledging your feelings and emotions, as well as coping effectively with life challenges such as stress, anger, fear, etc. For purposes of this article, emotional wellness also includes: spiritual wellness (set of values and beliefs that give meaning and purpose to your life in the form of religion, yoga or meditation), social wellness (positive relationships with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances), intellectual wellness (developing an open mind when encountering new ideas and life-long learning), occupational wellness (personal fulfillment through your job and career) and environmental wellness (respecting the environment that you live in and making a positive contribution towards conserving the environment).
Financial Wellness: managing your financial status in an effective way to create wealth and become financially independent.
Taking care of your wellness and becoming the best you, starts with a choice. Choose to live a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle and take action to actively live it. We all know to maintain a healthy body we need to exercise regularly; eat a healthy balanced diet; go for regular medical check-ups and get sufficient sleep. But what action steps can we implement to enhance our financial and emotional wellness?
Although the saying “money cannot buy you happiness” is true, we cannot ignore the role money plays in society and our daily lives. We need money to pay for our daily living costs like food, accommodation, electricity, transport and school fees. Financial independence has become a necessity especially in these days where retrenchment is a cruel reality that can happen to anybody no matter who you are or what your qualifications are. Also do not rely on your partner to take care of your financial needs, especially when you take into account the high divorce rates and people dying at a young age due to life threatening diseases.
Important action steps to improve your financial wellness:
- Keep a budget to effectively control and monitor your expenses. Divide your budget into the following categories: income; savings (i.e. investments, saving for a holiday etc.); ‘cannot live without expenses’ (i.e. bond instalments, water and electricity, groceries etc.); ‘nice to have expenses’ (i.e. hairdresser, DSTV, entertainment etc.) and emergency expenses (i.e. maintenance on your car which is not covered by the motor plan, medical expenses which are not covered by the medical aid etc.).
- Save, save, save! The general rule of thumb is that you need to save at least 10% of your monthly income after deducting tax, pension fund contributions and medical aid contributions. If you do not have any debt to repay, increase your savings to at least 30% of your monthly income.
- Become debt free and stay debt free as far as possible. If you cannot buy it cash, do not buy it. Always repay your more expensive debt like car instalments, credit cards, personal loans and clothing accounts first.
- Whenever you have additional cash, use it to repay your bond.
Build up an emergency fund that you can use for unforeseen big expenses. Use it only for emergencies and don’t be tempted to use the money for that big-screen TV or that trip to the Greek Islands.
- Retirement planning is crucial. The younger you start planning and saving for your retirement the better.
- Ensure that you have a will and that you keep it up to date. Unfortunately death is a reality for all of us and you don’t want to leave chaos to your loved ones when you die.
- Furthermore, don’t neglect your emotional wellness. Your state of mind has a direct impact on your health, your energy levels, your appetite, your relationships, your productivity and what you achieve in life. Your partner, children, boss, job or hobbies cannot make you happy. Happiness comes from within yourself. To become the best person you can be, you need to be positive and believe in yourself and your abilities. A few important action steps to enhance your emotional wellness:
- Surround yourself with positive people who will support and uplift you.
- Schedule time in your diary to do things that you enjoy.
- Spend time with your loved ones. Tomorrow might be too late.
- Continuously look for opportunities where you can expand your knowledge.
- Give and you shall receive. Learn to give without expecting anything in return. That feeling when you know you made a difference in somebody’s life is priceless.
- Spend a few minutes every day writing down all the things you are grateful for. It will teach you to appreciate the smaller things in life.
- Create a vision board of your life goals and put it up where you can see it every day. Believe that you will achieve all of that and much more. Have a plan and take action to achieve your goals in life.
- Pray more, laugh more and love more.
In conclusion: your wellbeing is your most valuable asset and only you can take care of it. Choose to live a healthy, happy and wealthy lifestyle and take action to achieve it. Become the best you, you can be. You deserve it and owe it to yourself!
By Ronel Jooste
CA(SA) and Financial Wellness Coach