Productivity Self-Care Tips for Your Money, Mind and Home

by Kara Stevens | July 13, 2020

The phrase “self-care” is heard everywhere, making it easy to overlook, but it should definitely be a point of focus in your life.

Attending to our emotional, physical and mental needs serves as the foundation of self-care. But it doesn’t stop there; managing our home and finances are integral in the self-care equation, too.

Focusing on one’s well-being is often mislabeled as selfish, but it's more akin to the aphorism, "A rising tide lifts all boats." When a person is able to prioritize and meet their needs first, it becomes easier to dedicate their surplus of energy, focus and time to support others, too.

Another common misconception: self-care is synonymous with indulgence and luxury. Big-ticket splurges are by no means essential to an effective self-care practice; most routines and rituals are free or low-cost.

Ready to create a holistic self-care plan? Consider incorporating some of the following fundamentals.

Financial wellness

Start by taking on one of everyone’s biggest source of stress: finances. Any money move that focuses on increasing income, paying down debt, building wealth or protecting your assets is a form of self-care.

By creating a strong financial foundation, you can avoid feelings of stress and worry that surface when you’re unable to keep your finances balanced.

Know (and grow) your net worth

Your net worth is an accurate measure of your wealth. You can calculate your net worth by subtracting your liabilities (what you owe) from your assets (what you own). Once you have this number, calculate it quarterly or every six months. Seeing how this figure increases or decreases will help you determine your next financial steps. 

By creating a strong financial foundation, you can avoid feelings of stress and worry that surface when you’re unable to keep your finances balanced.
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Protect your data

Your laptop houses and offers access to a lot of your sensitive and important personal data. Commit to protecting your online profile by changing your password regularly to limit breaches to multiple accounts and prevent the use of previously saved passwords. Password management sites can help you safely store and organize your logins and usernames.

Pull your credit report

Your annual credit report compiles your history of managing credit and paying off debt. It includes information such as how much debt you've accumulated, how you pay your bills — on time, partial payment, whether you've filed bankruptcy, whether you've had a home foreclosed or vehicle repossessed, or if you have a lawsuit judgment entered against you.

An element of financial self-care is being able to verify the information or dispute inaccurate data. This is key because banks, retailers, potential employers and landlords may review your credit report and score to evaluate your creditworthiness before they do business with you.

Create an estate planning team

To protect your wealth, create a plan and an estate planning team. You’ll need at least three team members:

  • A financial advisor will manage your estate’s finances — making recommendations and funding investment, retirement and trust accounts.
  • An estate-planning attorney will guide you to choose the best options for maintaining your estate after death or in the event of incapacity.
  • A tax professional will support the personal representative or executor of an estate with closing responsibilities setting up an estate account, tax filings, and paying the final distributions to beneficiaries.

Mind, body and home connection

Our physical and mental health work together to create alignment and equilibrium in our lives.

And, when it comes to your home, shift your thinking about your space beyond its function to create a vibrant reflection of how you live.

Here are some easy ways to ensure that your self-care plan includes a focus on the mind, body and a nourishing living space. 

Get your vitamins — outside

It’s no secret that lacing-up your sneakers for a 30-minute walk outdoors costs nothing and is a simple way to usher in healthy living, but there’s a bonus: a daily dose of Vitamin D.

Sunlight can be a good source of this important vitamin, which “promotes and regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus; it helps reduce inflammation in the body and is necessary for neuromuscular function and health. It allows children’s bones to grow and helps adults maintain normal bone density,” says Dr. Calvin L. Barnes, a Georgia-based musculoskeletal radiologist.

Plug into family and friends

As social beings, we need to connect with a community, otherwise it can lead to a sense of social isolation and loneliness. Loneliness causes the levels of the stress hormone cortisol to increase and negatively affects the mind and body. “Elevated levels of cortisol in your system can increase tissue inflammation which can lead to processes such as weight gain, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease,” Dr. Barnes advises.

So, reaching out to others isn’t just for fun. And, when in-person meet-ups are not possible, make time for virtual connections — your health depends on it.

Close-up portrait of woman looking thoughtful

Level up online

Building on your strengths, exploring your creativity or learning a new skill can boost your confidence and change your worldview. Leading universities offer free access to hundreds of lectures and classes. And, there are many cost effective online classes on offer that have been a game changer for sharpening professional skills or switching career paths.

Or, spin the globe and take a virtual trip to national parks, museums, historic homes and world-class theaters — for free, right from your couch.

Tweak your interior design

A fresh coat of paint or a new piece of accent furniture can be an easy, wallet-friendly way to give your home — and your mood — a boost. Color psychology has shown that the shades we choose in our homes impact our emotions, feelings and actions, so be strategic.

Need an expert opinion? Virtual consultations or color and interior design services such as Havenly and Spacejoy can connect you with expert designers to help transform your space.

Become a plant parent

Houseplants not only beautify our spaces, but also offer us some amazing health benefits. The presence of ornamental plants at work and home boost productivity and increases memory retention and concentration.

The Sill offers an online plant parent club (yes, it’s a thing) to help members unleash their inner green thumb. And a subscription to The House Plant Box will have a new plant coming your way monthly.

Declutter your closets

Cleaning closets also allows you to return borrowed items to owners, create impromptu care packages for friends, donate to charity or make extra money by listing on popular peer-to-peer selling platforms. These acts deepen social bonds, strengthen civic engagement and boost our bottom lines.

A young woman taking a break from technology

Build a pre-bed routine

One way to improve your overall health that’s completely free is to hit the hay. When you deprive your body of quality sleep, you increase the chances of doing damage to your cardiovascular system. Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global, says that sleep affords us energy and time, making it important for us to learn good sleep hygiene.

So set a routine — turn your phone to silent mode, read a book, scribble down the day’s notes — whatever works for you, but stick to it so you can fully power down and recharge, too.

Remember, when you prioritize self-care, you make space for happiness, wealth and health in your life. And you could inspire others to do the same — especially when it becomes evident that self-care is responsible for positive and noticeable change.

Kara Stevens

is the New York City-based founder of The Frugal Feminista, author of heal your relationship with money and creator of The 60 Days to Slay Sallie Mae course.