During these financially trying times, you may find that you are forced to review your monthly expenses. Certainly, the cost of living has increased in all areas, so some adjustments have likely been necessary. As a small business owner, my own costs have steadily increased in all areas over the past few years. So, the challenge becomes sustaining your wellness goals during fiscally turbulent times.

Employee health insurance benefits help to meet your personal wellness goals. Full or partial coverage for services such as massage therapy, physiotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy ensures that your wellness goals are supported in holistic ways. Progressive employers understand the profound merit of supporting employee health and wellness through comprehensive benefit plans. This support can continue after retirement for those people who opt to continue to purchase them. Your family doctor is also likely to support your needs for referral to services that help to address physical, emotional, and mental ailments.

So, explore what your employer has co-purchased with you, and make sure that you are utilizing your benefit coverage. Finding a therapist to meet with on a bi-weekly basis will help you to gain clarity on your emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness goals that can, in turn, help you to mobilize into action. Two sessions per month can really make a difference in your overall mental, physical, and environmental health and wellness. Improving your mood, confidence levels, and self-esteem are generally fundamental to feeling well. Research also shows that moderate regular exercise including walking has positive impacts on overall health and wellness.

You may find adding “wellness” to your monthly budget a helpful exercise. Costs associated with your gym membership, paramedical health services, and monthly beauty-care can be organized under wellness. Some of you may wish to include your costs of food under this section as well. For many, the quality of food is not compromised by increases in costs even though there may be a significant change in the budget allotted for food. Where your food costs have increased significantly, what remains in your wellness budget may be strained also.

So, you may decide to forgo your regular monthly facial or similar beauty service to ensure that your food quality remains intact. Another strategy may be to prolong time between services, so that you can afford everything in your budget. In this example, your facial or beauty service happens every other month rather than monthly. In a similar way, you can also stretch your health insurance coverage by engaging in monthly counselling or massage services rather than bi-weekly sessions. Talk to your therapist about ways to sustain your counselling sessions without negative financial impact. Many therapists offer subsidies and will adjust your fee or schedule of interventions accordingly.

Readjusting your budget when costs are rising is always challenging for everybody. It calls for you to clarify what items in your budget are priorities and the reasons that you prioritize them. Including your “wellness” goals in your monthly budgeting will help to ensure that you remain healthy during financially trying times. Remember that your health and wellness is important and that you deserve to be well!

Lisa Romano-Dwyer BSc, MSW, PhD, RSW

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