We have a problem with priorities – especially the vital priority of budgeting for self care. The problem is that we don’t consider it a priority in the first place. When it comes to budgeting, self care activities end up in “recreation” or “extras,” rather than in the “necessities” section.
I would say that self care is just as vital to your wellbeing as paying for food or doctor’s appointments. I don’t believe that this should be a radical – or rare – view to have.
Self care deserves a place at the heart of your budget – and here’s why.
Self Care Has a Broad Definition – And Impact.
Self care is a term that can mean almost anything, depending on who you ask. The dictionary definition sums it up quite well, if you ask me. It is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Life is full of stressors. Even for the most well-adjusted or the most fortunate among us, stress is simply part of the human experience! This is also where the impact of self care is felt most deeply, because the consequences of stress are dire.
Self care is, in a sense, your shield and armor against these effects. I’m not talking about waiting until you’re super stressed to slap on a face mask as an emergency measure. True self care is long term and sustainable. It’s a set of practices and habits, not just one or two activities you do once in a while.
Over time, good self care can prevent a slew of stress-based health impacts. It means prioritizing your well-being above the passing urgencies of daily life. That even includes enjoyable but unbalanced habits such as watching hours of Netflix in one sitting.
Self care and pleasure go together a lot of the time, but not always. Some forms of self care require discipline and dedication, and should be planned for in advance. This includes financially! By setting aside a dedicated amount of money to go toward self care, you are protecting yourself in the long run.
Caring For Your Self Makes You More Productive.
In most cases, productivity is synonymous with profit. This is why self care is not an expense, but rather an investment that pays you back over time.
True productivity is often found at the intersection of good health, plenty of creativity, and a sense of fulfillment. Self care enhances all of these aspects of productivity in a deep and abiding way. By slowing down and prioritizing yourself, you are essentially “filling the tank” of energy and mental acumen it takes to be a productive person in all areas of life.
At work, self care means making a concerted effort to find and sustain work-life balance and avoid burnout. It helps you to bring your best to the office each day. In your relationships, self care is the ability to look out for yourself and express your needs confidently. This mens that you and your loved ones can enjoy deeper, more powerful bonds. Physically self care brings you an abundance of strength, motivation, and discipline, resulting in both bodily and mental fortitude.
To neglect self care is to sacrifice overall productivity for minor, short term illusions of urgency. That usually translates to wasting time, effort, and money. It’s therefore in your best interest to put self care in the “necessary expense” category.
It Prevents Impulse Spending.
We all know what it’s like to impulse buy something to “treat ourselves” with. This impulse is born out of what can realistically be labeled desperation. We are desperate for stimulus, desperate for pleasure, and desperate for release of our stress and dissatisfactions. So, we whip out our credit cards and spend money on things that seem to alleviate those needs… For a short while.
Then it’s back to square one.
There are no short term secrets to happiness. Self care – as I stated before – isn’t a stopgap measure to make you feel better about something. Neglecting self care, however, can make you extremely susceptible to those stopgap measures. Many of them are serious money-drains.
The illness known as “shopping addiction” is real and documented – and on the rise all over the world. This disorder reflects our desperation for short term gratification. Impulse spending provides stimulation and some semblance of pleasure to our overburdened lives. Since well-being isn’t short term, however, the compulsions become a vicious cycle of overspending, depression, and then further impulse buys.
Self care as a practice helps to bring balance in both our mental health and our spending habits. It means seeking therapy when necessary (and doing the research to find out how to find or afford a therapist). It is cultivating good habits and rooting out bad ones, and remaining self-aware and mindful of our needs.
This results in greater life-satisfaction and, consequently, less spending on quick-fixes to our perennial stress and self-neglect. I’ll say it again: budgeting for self care is not an expense, it is an investment.
Conclusion – Budgeting For Self Care Is Non-Negotiable If You Want Long-Term Success.
The idea of classifying self care as an “extra” expense is an example of how disordered our priorities are in the modern era. If your own well being isn’t a necessary investment, then what is?
It’s high time we began to question the manifold ways we are encouraged to spend our money. Who is deciding what’s important and what isn’t? Why aren’t you the one truly making that distinction? When we don’t know our priorities, we put them in the power of outside interests. This is a dangerous thing to do.
By budgeting for self care in a dedicated way, you’re taking back the reins and determining your future for yourself. And that, of all things, is truly the best use your money could ever have. So be intentional and be proactive! Don’t let self care become an afterthought in your budget – make it a priority.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll comment if you have any thoughts or insights to share with the community! Don’t forget to subscribe and share if you enjoyed this post – I’ll see you soon, beautiful!