This week we’re talking about something that is a big stress factor for many of us. Something that is meant to support us through our lifetime, but something that many spend their lifetime trying to sort out. Something that was definitely NOT covered in school between math, history, and science. This week we’re combining the dimensions of occupational and financial wellness. Seems fitting to pin these two together as they often go hand-in-hand; however, each on its own can be quite daunting as well.
Occupational wellness, of course, has to do with your occupation – your work. It involves the compatibility of your talents, interests, and aspirations with your employment/career, and the satisfaction you feel toward this. Focusing on occupational wellness may inspire one to search for work that will provide personal satisfaction and enrichment toward life. It may inspire one to highlight the aspects of work that brings satisfaction and make the most of those. Developing occupational satisfaction and learning what you want out of your own occupation, can also lead to improved communication of your values and needs with current and future employers. Wellness in this dimension can involve developing effective job search strategies and skills such as interviewing; as well as understanding how a job may affect other aspects of life including family, spouse, recreational activities, and friends. After all, we spend a large portion of our lives at work!
Now, of course it’s not that easy! Not as simple as ‘find what you love and make it your job’. Sometimes a job is needed simply for the sake of making ends meet! Especially now with unemployment skyrocketing, and work hours changing. But, even so, it’s important to reflect on the aspects of work you enjoy, and the aspects of work you loathe. It’s never all going to be rainbows and butterflies, but these things are important! If the ‘Rona has caused your hours to be cut, or your work life to be turned upside down, maybe it’s a good opportunity to reflect on what you truly want out of your occupation; and to make a move if you are able. If you’re currently working, but dread the sound of your alarm clock in the morning, maybe start each day saying ‘I get to work today’ vs. ‘I have to work today’ and find those aspects of your job that bring you satisfaction and gratification; they’re out there.
Your dream job, a decent job, no job, or an okay job – they all have that dreaded counterpart… money. Financial wellness involves developing a satisfying ability for self-management and providing for the needs of yourself and your loved ones; and also, the ability to acquire and apply knowledge regarding financial matters (pretty sure I learned how to write a check in 4th grade??). As you all know, money plays a critical role in all of life; and not having enough is known to impact health. 78% of adults lose sleep worrying about everyday expenses, saving for retirement, and healthcare costs. We’ve already learned about the vicious cycle that sleep and stress live in. Money stress is often the top choice for life stressor across all generations, well ahead of issues with jobs, relationships, and health.
So, what? Better get started on making more money then, huh? We know that’s not easy either. But financial wellness doesn’t necessarily equal more money. After all, mo’ money mo’ problems, am I right? It really comes down to managing money well. Which is much more than writing that check you learned about in 4th grade. It means keeping track of expenses, making a budget and sticking to it more often than not. It means not putting your finances off but making them a priority; and trying to address any financial problems before they start. Keep records of your finances and set budget goals. And (shout out to wellness!) balance your other dimensions, as they tie into your financial wellness by allowing you to work, to work hard, and to have a clear mind about what is realistic, necessary, or obtainable for you personally.
Finances are not simple, and they’re hardly ever easy to manage; and we are by no means your resource for financial advice. However, being more aware of how your financial and occupational wellness dimensions influence your well-being and your livelihood (outside of being able to pay your bills and have a little fun) is important. This will allow you more clarity in making financial and occupation decisions, as well understanding what is important for you not only now, but through the seasons of life.
Next week will be our final week of this wellness series! We’ll be finishing off with the physical dimension of wellness. Something we’re knee deep in every day as physical therapists. This dimension was chosen as our last to cover because as the other dimensions change – for better or for worse – the ramifications often manifest physically. So, stay tuned, and keep your eyes peeled! We’d love for you to join in as we wrap this series up!
If you’ve followed along for this entire series, THANK YOU. We very much appreciate it and hope that we’ve provided some helpful information!
Elle and Taylor