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Journal of Inspired living

5 ways to make managing your money an act of self-love


5 ways to make managing your money an act of self-love

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Most of us will be familiar with many of the self-care practices professed by wellbeing experts around the world, like meditating, journalling and eating nourishing superfoods. But there is an essential self-care element we often forget about and that’s the practice of managing our money.

So many of us are rushing through life, doing jobs we don’t enjoy, buying things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like, that we forget to consider what we value and what role we choose for money to have in our lives. Is it any wonder that we (and our purses) are feeling burnt out? Thankfully, the self-care movement has emerged to remind us that it’s OK to slow down and give our minds, bodies, spirits and finances the attention they need.

Like all self-care practices, those centred on money can help us to reconnect with our true selves. From this place we realise there’s a deep source of energy and wisdom within us that can help to guide our decisions and increase our clarity and confidence with how we manage our money on a daily basis. When it comes to loving and caring for yourself, having a healthy and proactive relationship with money needs to be at the top of the list.

Why money is essential to self-care

Research has found that money is the biggest consistent source of stress in our lives, commonly affecting our mental and physical health and creating tension in our relationships. We are all affected by money whether we acknowledge it or not. There’s no denying that money is a powerful resource and an unavoidable part of our everyday lives.

Rather than seek hard and fast rules about how to manage your money from external sources, first give yourself an opportunity to understand how you currently relate to money, what triggers uneasiness, and consider how you can bring more peace to your financial life.

Every day we make a multitude of choices and decisions about money. How we earn it, spend it, save it, share it and invest it. These decisions are all linked to our financial fears, dreams, childhood histories and relationship dynamics. No one has a straightforward relationship with money. This is because money is never just about money. However, Western countries still treat talking about money as taboo, which just makes the topic even more complicated and an even greater source of stress.

But, instead of feeling overwhelmed by money’s ability to entangle itself into just about every aspect of our lives, why not integrate it into your self-care regimen and see it as an opportunity for great personal healing? As with exercise and healthy eating, we need to make space for money wellness. It’s time to start your own financial revolution and fuel it with self-care and self-love.

Financial self-love

If you exercise or meditate regularly, or treat yourself to a relaxing bath or massage when you need restoration, you are already familiar with the benefits of self-care. In Bari Tessler’s book The Art of Money, she suggests giving your fiscal wellbeing the same kind of mindful attention. This can transform financial drudgery into a personal practice that sustains you.

The key to any self-care practice is you, your precious self. You know yourself better than anyone else does and you are the best source of wisdom for setting up your own financial self-care rituals.

Understanding how we relate to money is an ongoing, evolving and lifelong journey.

Why not start each day by simply asking yourself, “What can I do today that will support my financial wellbeing?” It’s intentional and nurturing habits like this that will “bring more mindfulness into daily life”, Tessler explains.

Rather than seek hard and fast rules about how to manage your money from external sources, first give yourself an opportunity to understand how you currently relate to money, what triggers uneasiness, and consider how you can bring more peace to your financial life.

Remember that money is not something we learn and then are done with. Understanding how we relate to money is an ongoing, evolving and lifelong journey. These practices can help you establish a healthier relationship with money. Explore them and see what works for you. Remember, practices take time, so experiment for a while.

  1. Acknowledge your negative emotions and associations with money

For many of us, money can stir up a gamut of emotions. Nearly everyone has money-related baggage and, as with all emotional baggage, ignoring it makes it worse. Journalling or talking to a close friend about your beliefs around money will help you identify and, more importantly, question whether they serve you or stir you up. Once you are more aware of your negative associations with money and where they came from, you can then start to reshape and heal them.

We all know that money is just a resource, but we’re often conditioned to associate having lots of money with unenjoyable or unfulfilling things like working long hours, compromising our values or having a really skewed sense of what is truly important in life. We only need to look back to some of the childhood stories we all grew up with to see that many villains were portrayed as rich and selfish.

Instead of allowing these roles to act as universal truths, start by challenging these associations. Choose to focus on people who have positive associations with money and decide what role you would like money to play in your life.

  1. Check in with your body

Our bodies are among our greatest sources of wisdom. The sensations we experience can help us navigate towards a greater state of inner and outer health and harmony. By using the chakra system we can further understand our relationships with money and financial patterns. This practice works by being aware of any discomfort you may experience when you are performing any money-related activities, or thinking or talking about money-related issues.

You might be paying bills and notice an ache in your lower back or lower abdomen. This is commonplace for those who worry about money. The location of the physical sensation can help to guide you to which chakra is being affected, which will help you to determine the underlying root cause.

Make it a habit to notice your emotions before you begin any financial task; it may help you relax a bit more. As you move forward in your journey, you’ll notice how your response evolves.

  1. Figure out your financial starting line

Start with an honest assessment of where you are and where you would like to go. To establish where you are financially, look at what you own and what you owe, how money flows in and out of your life (your income and expenses) and your current money habits.

Some of us will have challenging realities to face but, instead of allowing our realities to prevent us from feeling a sense of control, we need to learn to honour our challenges. Remember that success is not about our circumstances; it’s about who we are being.

It can also be helpful to acknowledge that worry and anxiety can make us less resourceful. So, instead of getting stuck worrying about how you are going to pay a particular bill, consciously make the choice to focus on taking actions that will find solutions.

  1. Get clear about your values and money-related goals

In order to inspire ourselves to have peaceful relationships with money, we need to be clear about what we value and what money success means to us. Are your current money-management rituals showing that you care for yourself? Is your spending, earning, saving, sharing and investing in line with your values?

To find out what you value it can be helpful to consider what you want to experience most in your life and rank these experiences. This can then give you an opportunity to focus financial resources and money-related goals on things that really bring joy and fulfilment into your life.

  1. Celebrate your achievements

Allow yourself to feel pride and pleasure in your financial achievements — no matter how small. This will help you enjoy engaging with your money and allow you to face your financial reality with more confidence.

Create your own financial self-care rituals

The key to creating self-care rituals that really work is that they must feel like “yours”. You need to define what financial self-care looks and feels like for you. Start by considering how you can intentionally tend to the financial aspects of your wellbeing. What rituals can you incorporate daily, weekly, monthly and yearly that bring a greater peace of mind to how you relate to your money?

Consider:

  • What do you feel it means to be financially selfish vs practising self-love?
  • How often do you feel it’s important to practise financial self-care?
  • How are you going to create practical boundaries around how you use your money — buy presents, donate, buy food etc?
  • Are there other words or phrases you can use instead of “money” and “budgeting” that resonate better with you? Even try using silly words to take the negative association away when you are talking and thinking about money.
  • When you are trying to decide whether or not to buy something, instead of asking yourself, “Can I afford this?”, try checking in with yourself and asking, “Is this in my money plan?” If it isn’t, then ask yourself, “What do I need to give up so I can buy this?”

Is financial self-care really just about you?

During the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009 the Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” We have the education, freedom, business acumen, intuition and nurturing ways that this planet and all its creatures so desperately need. But we can’t make a positive mark on the world if we are overwhelmed and waking up from nightmares about our credit card debts. Fostering a healthy relationship with money rids you of constant stress and can have a significant impact on you, your family, friends and the community.

You don’t need to do it alone

If you do find yourself struggling to create harmony with a particular aspect of your financial self-care practices, there are people who can help you. A financial coach can help you create a money plan and stick to it, while a counsellor or money mindfulness expert can help you explore the emotional challenges at play when you try to heal your relationship with money. In addition, bookkeepers can show you how to build a system for keeping track of the flow of money in your life.

Regardless of where we sit on the economic spectrum, we could all do with reflecting on our money beliefs and checking whether our spending is congruent with our values.

Three tips for flexing your magnificent money muscles and integrating money rituals into your self-care regimen:

  1. Slow and steady: Take your time when making money decisions. Acknowledge that whenever you are doing something new you will have resistance, but the effort is worth the outcome.
  2. Start where you are: By knowing where you are financially you can then choose to move forward; you can prioritise and reshape your relationship with money.
  3. Define your own success: Don’t let others define what money success means to you. Take time to tune in to yourself and what truly makes your life joyful. Never treat the things that really matter to you as a luxury.


 

Liz McLardy

Liz McLardy is an accountant, money mindfulness expert and mama of two. She runs consultations and courses to inspire and empower women to be the masters of managing their money. She combines her business, money management and healing expertise to make money sacred and practical.