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  • Writer's pictureCathleen Winter

Budgeting Wellness?

What do you think when you hear the word budget? Most think about money. In simple terms a budget is a plan to take your total income and break it up into parts. Distributing into savings, debts, and every day expenses such as food. Financial advisors encourage a surplus or savings and avoiding a deficit. Budget planning and implementing a budget can be disconnected. It is easy to plan a budget and much harder to implement. There is often a positive or negative thought attached to the word "budget" depending on your view point.

Have you ever thought about a budget not as a financial plan, but as a wellness plan? It is easy to plan to make lifestyle changes and much more difficult to implement the plan. Our emotions play a large part in our view of money, just as our emotions drive lifestyle choices or elements of wellness. For this discussion elements of wellness focus on finances, sleep, nutrition, managing stress, and physical activity. How we balance our emotions through lifestyle choices circles back to how we handle stress. This all can be tied to finances and visa versa. One could view this as a type of budget. Instead of total income replace that with looking at yourself as a whole person and instead of distributing money into savings, debts, and every day expenses look at distributing all the parts or elements that make up you. This begins the connection between the material, physical, and emotional aspect of your life.

To illustrate this point further when you are stressed one may become sleep deprived, make poor nutrition choices, over eat, not eat, or not exercise for a period of time. You may begin feeling anxious, depressed, have headaches, start noticing changes in your heart rate or blood pressure, develop stomach issues, feel drained, and may even experience an increase in aches and pains. These are parts of you that are effecting your well being. You are no longer balanced and whole. You may not even notice these physical or emotional changes happening until you are in a physician's office complaining of your symptoms. Many individuals are unaware that they are living with chronic stress.

Stress is effected by neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters or chemical messengers cause the brain to be calm or stimulated. When these chemical messengers get out of balance the body feels the effects of this over-drive sometimes referred to as the "fight or flight reaction". In chronic stress this reaction rarely decreases. The production of these high powered chemical messengers begin to cause a wellness deficit and further effect our lifestyle choices. The cycle begins. Over time this deficit moves you away from wellness into poor health on the health and wellness spectrum. Lifestyle choices now directly impact your financial plan especially if this wellness deficit continues. Having health issues is costly.

Lets now view a budge in terms of wellness. Building a budget plan with the wellness elements of finances, stress, sleep, nutrition, and exercise are movements towards obtaining better health and wealth. This now is empowering! Begin building a financial budget to control your money, a food and nutritional budget to provide the nutrients the body and brain require, and a time budget to increase exercise and improve sleep. When implemented all of these will promote a decrease in stress or the "fight or flight reaction" of the neurotransmitters. These chemical messages can now be produced to keep your brains calm. You are now being a whole person.

Managing stress is powerful and this in turn helps regulate the mind and body connection to keep you well. Appreciating the cycles that exist in your life between material, physical, and emotional elements will keep you well. Thinking positive about taking the control to follow a budget in all these aspects of your life leads to a life surplus. Get started implementing a budget to promote wellness now!

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