With a new year often comes new resolutions – the most popular being saving more money and shedding extra pounds. Most of us assume the two are mutually exclusive, completely unrelated aspects of our lives.
According to an October 2018 survey by Everyday Health, the most common source of stress for both men and women are finances, and managing this stress can have real benefits for a person’s health. The survey reported 52 percent of respondents said financial issues regularly stress them out, while 47 percent of all respondents — with women and men almost evenly matched — said their response to stress is to put more pressure on themselves.
Here are five tips to tackle both your financial and health goals, helping you reduce stress.
A place to start is to closely and regularly monitor your health and finances. This will help you see where you are, set your goals, check your progress, analyze helpful or unhelpful behavioral patterns and make changes. Keeping a journal is one way to do this.
Some common responses to stress triggers are overeating and going on shopping sprees. You can swap those habits out with healthy choices, such as going for a walk or trying yoga instead of binging on junk food. If you’re feeling bored and are tempted to do too much online shopping, redirect yourself by learning a new skill or nurturing a hobby instead.
Being mindful of how you feel when you eat, exercise or buy something is challenging but becomes easier with practice. Some ways to accomplish this are to savor each bite of nutritious food, get adequate sleep and practice meditation. When it comes to your financial well-being, setting up a budget and sticking to it, as well as establishing an emergency fund to cover unplanned expenses, can help reduce stress.
This can be both effective and empowering. Replace unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats and healthy snacks. To clean up your finances, organize your financial information, automate bill payments and set up a schedule to pay off your debt.
Moderation seems to work best; it is normally easier to stay focused and motivated if you treat yourself occasionally without overindulging. For example, if you go on a shopping spree, put the same amount of money you spent into your savings account. If you’re eating out, try healthier food options and stop eating when you feel full.
Resources are available to help you get started on your financial and health goals. Many financial institutions also offer ways to help you monitor you finances with mobile apps, digital account statements and access to credit reports.
Michigan State University Federal Credit Union offers products and services to help you achieve your financial goals, which can help reduce your stress and improve your health. The MSUFCU mobile app is free and allows you to view real-time account balances and transaction history, pay bills, and receive alerts on transactions or low funds, set up fraud protection with security features such as Visa Card Lock and Mobile Location Confirmation, and more. Members who have checking accounts or loans with the credit union also receive quarterly credit reports at no cost. For more information, visit msufcu.org today.