Michelle Summerfield • Mar 20, 2019
Self-love and appreciation: they are on all our lists but they rarely get ticked off. We get caught up in a state of busyness, demanding careers, taking care of kids or ailing parents and end up putting ourselves last. If we’re lucky, we make it through all this busyness no worse for wear. But, on the odd occasion, our bodies, minds, or both stop us in our tracks.
So why not show yourself some love and appreciation – especially when it comes to your personal finances? After all, you are important and deserve some of your own time!
Be kind to yourself. Learning to accept yourself exactly as you are, forgive yourself and others, and letting things go are all essential to loving yourself.
For me, divorce and losing a job were two big life lessons in learning acceptance and forgiveness. I had to accept that I’d made some mistakes in both situations and forgive myself for them. Divorce and losing a job are both very hard on your finances. It’s painful and confusing digging out from separating finances from your ex-spouse, starting over financially, and emptying your emergency fund to survive.
If you’re dealing with the tough financial stuff like missing a credit card payment, maxing out a credit card, or something as serious as filing for bankruptcy – let go of what you can’t change and focus on what you can control. When you let go of worrying and beating yourself up for what you can’t change, you’ll focus your energy on improving life and getting past your current financial situation.
Letting go means stepping up and taking control of your current situation. For me, that looked like checking my credit report and score so I could create a plan, take back control of my finances, and create the life I wanted.
Taking time to care for yourself isn’t being selfish, yet many of us struggle to make time for ourselves. We dedicate ourselves to others constantly.
Being burnt out and frazzled hurts not only your well-being but it also affects your productivity. If you’re always running on empty, then you’re not giving your complete self to those around you. A few minutes of meditation, reading, or just sitting by a window can do wonders. Remember, to take care of others you need to take care of yourself first.
It’s important to remember that wealth comes in many non-material forms like love, connection, community and so on. During my corporate days, I measured my self-worth by how much I earned, the car I drove, and how successful I was. It was a tough yardstick to measure my life by.
When I lost my job, I struggled with the lifestyle change because I spent years spending wildly and living a life beyond my means. Comparing my lifestyle to others was the norm. But keeping up with others was close to impossible.
When I found a part-time job, at first, I felt as if earning minimum wage to follow my dream as a writer was a punishment and somehow beneath me. But it’s not a punishment. And having a job is better than no job. It helps me pay my bills while I work on the life I desire.
It was a wake-up call. I realized that there was no need to spend wildly and live a life of excess. So I set a plan in motion to take control of my finances, pay off my credit cards, and start living within my means. Did it take some getting used to? Of course! Were there moments of struggle? You bet. But when you’re working on improving your credit score on a limited income, you do whatever it takes to take back control.
It was a humbling lesson in self-love and that a paycheck does not define my worth as a person.
Money shouldn’t be the end all be all, but it does have the power to seriously affect your mental well-being. A recent study by the Credit Counselling Society (CSS) asked people how their finances affected their lives prior to seeking help. The answers were shocking:
That’s why, no matter your financial situation, I believe in paying yourself first — you should do whatever you can to put money into savings before spending on anything else. It’s the first thing I do — even on my limited income. I’ll take twenty dollars and put it into retirement savings or my emergency fund.
Another great place to start when making a plan to take control of your finances? Checking your credit score and report for mistakes or people trying to hijack your credit. A good credit score can open the door to the best financial products and services and even help you get better rates on your mortgage and insurance. Consider getting your free credit score and report with Borrowell to get started.
When I lost my job and started feeling down, I did something so simple yet super helpful. I wrote myself little gratitude notes or positive affirmations to keep my spirits up and help me focus on all the great things in my life.
Soon after, I expanded my little notes into daily practice and then a yearly letter. The yearly letter lives on as a reminder to how much I’ve grown from year to year.
Try writing positive notes or affirmations for yourself and putting them around your home where you’ll see them. A positivity boost first thing in the morning will help you start the day from a good mental space.
Taking care of your body and nourishing it shows you have respect for the body you were born with. It’s true when they say you are what you consume and think – so you need to be careful with what you feed your mind, too!
For me, self-care is at the top of my list. Every day, I have a mini digital detox and shut my phone off at least an hour before bed. Instead of scrolling, I’ll spend twenty to thirty minutes doing yoga followed by a deep relaxation to calm my mind. And my phone stays out of the bedroom!
We’re all under a lot of pressure these days, and simple things like having a hot bath with Epsom salts or journaling your daily worries can help relieve the stress.
I know it’s hard – but don’t forget about yourself! Practicing self-love for yourself and your personal finances can transform your life without a significant time investment.
About The Author
Michelle Summerfield is a professional blogger and the creative director of The Classy Simple Life, a lifestyle design blog aimed at the 40+ woman. The blog started in 2012 and developed into a professional blog in 2017. In addition to documenting her journey to a simpler life, she covers topics such as money management, health + wellness, beauty, solo travel and thoughts on being a creative entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, and the CBC. To learn more about Michelle, visit her website here.
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