At the beginning of the pandemic, like millions of others across the world, my financial security was epically impacted.  At the time, I lived with my 21-year-old daughter in a house that I owned.  I had just closed my yoga studio, and overnight my income dropped exponentially.   

Sadly, I was used to the financial freak.  The overhead at the studio was insane, and there were many months when things were beyond tight.  But going into lockdown made my earning capacity take a fast nosedive, and I didn’t have any savings to speak of.  I had to get creative and quick.

I called all of my creditors – my mortgage company, car loan people, credit cards, you name it – and let them know what had happened.  Fortunately/unfortunately, I wasn’t alone in the financial upheaval that was early covid, and I was able to pause much of my debt for several months.  Once that got handed, I exhaled for the first time in honestly a few years.

It was at that point that I realized just how negatively my health was being impacted by my financial stressors.  Intellectually I’d connected the dots, but in mid-March of 2020, I could feel in my body just how good it felt to not have the financial freak residing inside my body.  I was able to receive government loans and grants to help rebuild my business, and eventually I began earning money again.

Now, I’m not going to get into how the pandemic has impacted lower-income people in greater numbers, or how lack of access to affordable healthcare is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., or even how the jobs deemed “essential” during lockdown pay the workers a non-living wage.  That can be left for another time.  

Instead, I’ll share with you some examples of ways you can help boost your financial wellness, which, in turn, boosts your overall health and wellbeing.

One of the biggest things you can do today to set your future self up is to take care of your health NOW.  Don’t wait until Monday, or when you’re back from your vacation, or when your life slows down.  

There are many ways you can improve your overall health:

*Get your buns off of the couch and move every day

*Eat more vegetables (especially the green ones) and fruit (especially the dark ones)

*Drink more water

*Get more sleep

*Cut back on booze and drugs

This isn’t rocket science.  In all likelihood, you probably even knew this list before you read it.  The point is to actually do it.  Because when you don’t, you’re more likely to get sick.  Be it high blood pressure/cholesterol/blood sugar, chronic inflammation, or cancer, it all comes back to you going to the doctors’ offices more often, needing meds, maybe surgery – and that’s if you’re lucky.  No matter how good your insurance is now, there are no guarantees it will stay that way, especially as you get older and will need it more.  Prevention is the key.

The next obvious piece to financial wellness is spending less than you earn.  Again, not rocket science, but also this can be easier said than done.  If you don’t bring in enough money, then it’s hard to pay the bills.  If you’re able to pay your bills on time and not rack up big-time credit card debt, then saving money when possible will help your future self.  We know that shit happens – a flat tire, a plumbing issue, a pet who needs medical attention.  These unexpected events are made all the worse when you have no idea how you’ll pay for them.  Putting aside money – even a few bucks a week – can help give your future self a cushion.

Because we’re still in a pandemic (contrary to what the news talking heads are saying), supply chain issues are an occasional issue.  I remember right before lockdown going into the grocery store to find next to nothing on the shelves.  This reminded me of how nice it is to grow your own food.  Whether you start from seeds or buy some baby plants, growing your own food is a great way to boost your financial wellness.  You know where it came from, you can give your little veggies some love as they’re growing, and you don’t have to rely on shipped-in foods from faraway lands.  There are plenty of ways to effectively grow your own food, even in tiny spaces.  A quick Google search will hook you up.  Just remember that organic, non-GMO varieties are always preferred.

Another way to keep more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket is to shop at thrift stores.  I’ve found a ton of great things at various shops through the years.  Gone are the days of stinky, stained clothing.  

Along those same lines, buy used anything.  Need a car?  Ditch the depreciation factor and get a used one.  Need a new TV?  Go to Facebook Marketplace and you’ll find a ton.  Enjoy the treasure-hunting process, avoid supply chain issues, and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

Lastly, try using visualizations to help with your financial status.  I’m gonna get a bit woo woo here, but stick with me.  Sit quietly with your eyes closed and envision yourself as someone who has an abundance of money in the bank.  How does it feel to not have to worry about money ever again?  How has your life changed because you have unlimited access to money?  Work with this visualization daily, including feeling the feelings, to help you move beyond any energetic money blocks that might be rooted deep inside you.

Financial wellness isn’t just a matter of always eating at home or clipping coupons (but, yes, do those things too!).  It’s taking care of all the things now so that you can live a longer, stress-free life.