On Monday 10th October it is World Mental Health Day so we thought it would be fitting to talk about wellbeing; what elements contribute to your wellbeing and some ways it can be improved.
At FMB, we often talk about wellbeing, both with our clients and our staff and most of our events are linked with improving our wellbeing in one way or another:-
- Interior Design Masterclass helping you to love your home
- Annual activities for our team during Mental Health Awareness Week
- Nordic Walking taster classes
- ‘The Psychology of Retirement’ seminar with Psychologist, Shelly Rubenstein
- ‘The Art of Looking Good’ workshop with Image Consultant, Jasmin Hall
- Regular Conversation and Coffee social events
- ‘Be Inspired’ seminar with Tim Luke on how to inspire us to look for a little more adventure in our lives
The list could go on…
So what is wellbeing and how can we improve it? The Oxford English Dictionary defines wellbeing as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy” and scientists and psychologists have determined that there are five essential elements that contribute to overall wellbeing:
- Financial Wellbeing - How effectively you manage your finances so that you have enough money to meet your needs and having security for you and your family.
- Career Wellbeing - How you spend your time each day and whether you enjoy what you do.
- Social Wellbeing - The strength of the relationships and level of love you have in your life.
- Physical Wellbeing - Whether you have the energy and good enough physical and mental health to complete the things you do day-to-day.
- Community Wellbeing - The sense of engagement and involvement you have with the area in which you live.
Although the elements are addressed individually, they are all interdependent. So the phrase, “money can’t buy you happiness”, is undeniably true, as you wouldn’t ever be able to achieve overall wellbeing if you don’t have some fulfilment in all areas (although I'm sure most people would be happier with £1million in the bank!).
So what can you do to increase your wellbeing? We will look at the five individual elements in turn...
- Understand your current financial position – do you know how much you earn and what you spend each month? Analysing bank statements and filling in a budget planner can sometimes bring to light some areas where you may be overspending or subscriptions you may be paying for and not using.
- Make sense of what you have - make a list of all assets you have with up-to-date valuations for them. It is easy to misplace old investments and savings accounts, especially when the administrators might have changed multiple times over the years. Policy Detective is a free to use website which can help you track down the new administrators for any old policies you might have easily (don't worry, you don't need to give any details other than the company name). Do the same for all your liabilities (debts).
- Calculate your net worth - your net worth is quite simply the value of your assets minus all liabilities. If your assets exceed your liabilities, you will have a positive net worth.
- Set goals – what are your current worries and concerns and what do you hope to achieve in the future?
- Spend less – are there any non-essential things you can afford to cut back on without compromising on any other areas of your wellbeing?
- Pay off debt – one of the many money worries comes from debt. Whether you can pay credit off immediately or over a period of time, make sure you maintain a positive credit history by making payments in full and on time and use credit responsibly. When paying off debt, focus on the credit charging the highest interest rates and if you can afford to cut back unnecessary spending in some areas and pay debts off faster, then do.
- Seek help from a professional - wondering whether you will have enough money to provide you with a comfortable future can provide many sleepless nights. An Independent Financial Planner will take a look at your whole financial picture; they will gain an understanding of your current situation as well as your goals and objectives for the future and put the necessary plans in place to help you achieve them. We use specialist cashflow modelling software with our clients to stress test their finances to show them visually how different scenarios could affect them over the long term and provide some reassurance when faced with significant financial decisions; such as retiring early or gifting money to a loved one.
- Understand why you are at work - for the vast majority, working keeps a roof over your head, pays the bills and funds your way of life. Remembering the purpose of why we work can help motivate you in your job.
- Connect - make sure that even in small work environments, you try and regularly connect with people you like to provide some social fulfilment. Social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn might be able to help those who don’t have regular face-to-face contact with others in their day-to-day jobs. Local networking groups are also a great way to interact with others and can be a great way to promote your business too!
- Do what you enjoy - choose careers, education programmes, and activities that match your personality and interests.
- Explore options for personal development within your job - whether this involves taking more training, taking on more responsibilities in your role or undertaking further qualifications. Speak with a line manager to discuss the options available to you and make them aware that it is something you are interested in.
- Look elsewhere - if you are seriously unhappy in your job and feel that there is no way to enhance your career wellbeing, have you considered looking for another job?
- Build healthy and meaningful relationships – remember, think quality over quantity; it’s not about the number of friends you have but the quality of the relationships you have with them. Evidence shows that having good-quality relationships can you live a longer and happier life with fewer mental health problems¹.
- Meet new people - if you want to meet new people, have you thought about starting a new hobby or local networking group? These can be a great way to strike up new friendships and meet likeminded people.
- Give something back - have you ever thought about volunteering? Being a volunteer can be very rewarding and can also bring about a great social aspect. There will be many charities in your local area who will be glad of some help and there are also some websites that list volunteering opportunities, such as -
- Eat healthier – this isn’t about ‘dieting’ and most certainly doesn’t have to be boring, it is more about having a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Swap the processed foods for fresh and healthy alternatives and cut down on foods high in sugar and saturated fats. What we put into our bodies can play a major part on how we feel.
- Get active – being more active can make you feel less sluggish and more alert. Try and make small changes in your day-to-day routine such as leaving the car at home and walking when possible and ditching the lift and taking the stairs.
- Stay hydrated – about 70% of our body weight is made up of water, so it’s essential that we drink enough fluids to maintain these levels to ensure that our vital organs can work properly all day, every day. The NHS advise² that in climates such as the UK's, we should drink about 1.2 litres (6 to 8 glasses) of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated.
- Get a good night’s sleep – it isn’t a surprise that not getting enough sleep can impact on your wellbeing.
- What's going on? Why not have a look for what’s going on in the local area; events and fundraisers can be a great way to feel part of the community.
- Volunteering - see social wellbeing above.
- Try something new - start a new hobby or networking group in your local area (see social wellbeing)
- Support local - why not see if there is any scope at your workplace to support the local community through fundraising or awareness projects. At FMB, we have a charity focus group who are responsible for organising charity events and choosing which causes to support members change annually to allow more members of the team to get involved.
If you want to improve your financial wellbeing and would like a free, no-obligation chat with a financial planner, get in touch with us today.
¹ mentalhealth.org.uk, 2022
² NHS. 2022