November 11, 2021
Okay, now that the headline got you to keep reading, I want to be clear that there will be no financial advice forthcoming from me.
I want to talk to you about something I believe is more important, and more consequential to your well-being.
Your best investment in 2022 is in taking the best possible care of you.
You and I both know that stress levels are off the charts right now. Work-life balance is a mess for many. Juggling caregiving with work has never been easy, and the physical and emotional toll has only increased as both work and home life has been transformed due to Covid.
For those of you working, please carefully review your workplace benefits package for 2022. Some employers offer access to mental health services. Yet only half of the people with access to free or subsidized support last year reported using the benefit, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute survey.
The same pattern is true of a gym benefit. Only around half of people with subsidized or complimentary access to a gym or wellness program used the benefit.
If you have access to these benefits, please consider using them. I know it may feel like you don’t have the time. Or you don’t think you can afford your share (if any) of the cost. I understand both impulses. But I want you to dig deep and know taking better care of yourself is always essential. If you need to tighten the budget elsewhere, that’s fine. Take care of you, because you deserve it. And because when you take care of yourself you will be in a better state to support your loved ones.
Ask for More Support
And every one of us can—and should—ask for more help. Which I realize for many is about asking for more (some!) free time. Again, this is not indulgent, it is crucial to your well-being.
I want to make sure the Moms with young kids hear me loud and clear: You must have alone time. This is a need, not a want. Every day you must carve out that time to just do nothing. The key is to put it on the schedule. If you don’t clearly cordon off time for yourself, it will never happen.
Hopefully, there is a partner who just needs to be told how he or she can help by giving you that hour a day to focus on you. Maybe it’s the trip to the gym or an online exercise class. Or a walk with a friend, the dog, or just alone. Whatever brings you time to breathe.
Or hire someone to take over the home for an hour or two a few times a week. Whether it’s caring for young children or an elderly parent, caregivers must appreciate the necessity of giving themselves a break.
If your budget is tight, and you can’t imagine hiring help, I am going to ask you to stand tall in your truth. I don’t want you spending a penny on gifts for friends and adult family this holiday season. That is money I want you to use to hire help in the coming year. Don’t you dare tell me this is tacky or indulgent. Investing in your well-being, especially in today’s stressful world, is essential.
If you typically receive gifts from loved ones during the holidays, tell them what you really would love: some me time. In lieu of a gift, ask instead for money that you will use to buy some free time. I think anyone who loves you will be thrilled to gift you that.