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Mental health and money: Why you should budget for self-care

Mental health and money: Why you should budget for self-care, with Money Bites
It’s time to dedicate space for self-care in your budget.

Money Bite-Size Read:

  • Many of us see self-care as something we can compromise on.
  • Mental health and money are linked and you need to look after your wellbeing.
  • Here’s why you should budget for self-care and what self-care could look like in your budget.

The Money Bites Take:

It’s important to define what self-care looks like in your personalised budget and prioritise self-care spending to protect your number one asset: you.


Mental health and money are linked.

Research suggests that mental health problems can make a financial situation worse and vice versa. When you’re going through a tough mental health period, taking action on your finances can then become even more difficult. Mental health and money are linked and this can affect your day-to-day life, including your ability to earn money.

So, what is self-care and why does it matter?

It’s the ability to maintain your health, through activities that will enhance your wellbeing and reduce stress in your life. Taking the time for self-care can help manage stress, increasing your resilience in order to support your mental health.

However, self-care can be one of the first things we compromise on.

It can be difficult to prioritise self-care in your budget when you’re under financial stress. When it’s a choice between self-care expenses and paying your rent, the rent is non-negotiable. The definition of self-care is unique and personal to you and will likely change over time. You need to look at all aspects of self-care and what you need to budget for when drafting your budget.




Here’s what self-care could look like in your budget:




1. Mental health

Mental health affects our decision making and how we feel about ourselves. Self-care could be making time for the things you love like reading books, even when life seems busy. You could also set boundaries at work, such as working fewer hours to make more time for the things you love. This may cost you additional income but means you don’t compromise your mental health for money.




2. Physical health

If you don’t feel healthy, you may need to take additional sick leave, which can affect your income. But taking preventive action to improve or maintain your physical health doesn’t have to be expensive. You can get fit without a gym membership, and what’s most important is finding exercise you’ll enjoy doing. The definition of self-care for you could also mean taking out private health insurance to have more choice in your healthcare options.




3. Social connections

Spending time with others is incredibly important. If you’re not working, give your time to a good cause by volunteering with others who share your interests. If you are working, find a team you enjoy spending time with. And outside work, make sure you find and build a network of friends and family with whom you enjoy spending time and can build strong relationships.




4. Emotional health

Making the time to process and speak about your emotions is incredibly important. When it comes to money, make time to talk to your friends about money, including supporting them with their financial goals. It’s also important for your relationships to talk to your partner about money, particularly before before you start combining finances.




5. Spiritual connectedness

Spirituality is incredibly personal. It can incorporate religious practices that ground you, such as taking time off for religious holidays. Practically, this could mean having a dedicated budget for cultural practices that are important to you, such as the funds to maintain a kosher diet or travel to see extended family during religious holidays.

You should budget for self-care because it protects your number one asset in life: you.

If you don’t put on your own life jacket or mask on first, you cannot help anyone else. Choose to put your mental health first and prioritise funding your self-care to support future you to afford your dreams.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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