This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33 @gmail.com.
As discussed often on My Next Buck before, collecting a substantial emergency fund is an essential component of financial responsibility, simply because we have no idea what life could throw our way. Two of the biggest reasons for using an emergency fund are job loss and serious illness. Except to do our best at work every single day, getting laid off can be beyond our control in many cases. So, too, can illness, but, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even though it can be difficult for young professionals especially those who have just left college, where healthy lifestyles are practically unheard of to see the immediate returns of preventative health, taking care of yourself is really one of the most important financial investments you can make. Here are a few tips for maintaining your body, mind, and–albeit indirectly–your bank account.
1. Take it easy.
Research has demonstrated a very strong connection between psychological and physical health. Stress can be just as harmful for your health as can being hit by a serious disease. In fact, being chronically stressed takes a heavy toll on your immune system. To keep your immune system up, remember to take the time to unwind.
You don’t have to be a gym rat to get some exercise in. Even if you simply walk around the block a few times every other day, some movement is better than no movement. Especially for those of us who spend over half our waking days sitting in an office chair, exercise is critical in maintaining energy and overall health.
As a welcome change to all the nutritionist quackery that’s out there, author Michael Pollan’s answer to the question, “What should we eat?” is the only diet you’ll ever need, if you want to maintain a healthy body. Sounds too simple to be true, but the best thing you can do for your diet is steer clear of (expensive) processed foods, don’t eat too much meat, and consume fruits and vegetables regularly. In other words, don’t consume anything that makes health claims, because that’s just slick marketing.
4. Sleep regularly.
For those of you who workaholics or late-night partiers, this one may be a little tough to swallow. But regular sleep is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy body and sound mind. While some people feel rested on 6 and others need 8 or more, whichever suits you best is optimal, as long you feel alert the next day. Sleeping regularly and soundly every day– is more important for your health than using the weekends to catch up on missed hours.
This one seems a little out of place in terms of maintaining your overall health, but a growing body of research shows that the more active our social lives, the less likely it is that we get sick.
Maintaining your overall health doesn’t have to be super complicated. The key is striving for balance. Not only will you simply feel better, but you’ll also avoid the financial disaster that poor health can potentially pose. Financial responsibility begins with taking care of yourself. Your body is the only one you have. Use it wisely.