By Agnes Chikukwa Hove
I write a lot about personal finance. I am actually in the process of writing a book on personal finance. I am truly passionate about effective money management.
Knowing how to manage your money well is important, because let’s face it, we all want to be wealthy.
I want to be wealthy. I want you to become wealthy. Money and wealth is great. Or is it?
You see……. money is not the only important thing in life.
There are many other things that are a lot more important than money; these include meaningful relationships and emotional well-being. But today I want to discuss the one area that a lot of people neglect in their pursuit of wealth: their health.
Health is the Key to Enjoying the Richest Resource… Your life.
In life, most of us trade our time to get money and we hope that one day we will have enough money to get back our time when we retire.
I suppose the assumption is that having enough money represents freedom, and freedom really means being in control of your time. Then you’re at liberty to pursue all the projects that you have dreamed of pursuing ‘when you have money’, or you have time to spend with the people you love, or funds to devote to adventure and the pursuit of wonder.
Time is what we are ultimately after. Then, poor health robs us of valuable time.
The most obvious way that it does this is through an early death. When you look at the most common causes of death in South Africa, according to The Mortality and Causes of Death Report1 Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released in 2018, four of the top seven are directly related to chronic diseases. These include Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hypertension and other related illnesses. Health professionals sometimes refer to these as chronic diseases of lifestyle because healthy lifestyle choices can have a positive effect on these conditions.
The other way that health can rob you of your precious time is by preventing you from enjoying the time that you have. This could happen directly through long term illness and/ or hospitalisation.
Healthy Living in an Unhealthy World
The world around us seems to be becoming more and more unhealthy. Most of us spend our days working at a desk or sitting in front of a computer. We live a sedentary life, and we engage in little or no exercise. Obesity has become more common in all ages of our population, just look around you. In order to escape this trend, we need to adopt some uncommon habits. These include:
- Eat More Fibre. Fibre is interesting in the sense that it’s not a nutrient. In fact, by definition fibre can’t be digested.
This is not usually how we think of nutrition. Usually we look at food as fuel for the body (most of it is), but surprisingly the part that our body just disposes of is an essential component of the total package.
Fibre helps stabilise blood sugar levels, and having stable blood sugar levels is important for your long-term hormonal and metabolic health.
Oh, and it keeps you regular.
I like getting my fibre from beans, vegetables, and fruit.
Wherever you choose to look for your fibre, narrow your search to whole foods instead of something in a box that claims that fibre was added.
2. Exercise Daily. Did you know that daily exercise can reduce all of the biomarkers of aging? This includes improving eyesight, normalising blood pressure, improving lean muscle, lowering cholesterol, and improving bone density.
If you want to live healthy and live longer, you must exercise! Studies show that even ten minutes of exercise makes a difference — so do something! Crank up the beat and dance in your living room. Sign up for salsa dancing or ballroom dancing lessons (or my favourite, kizomba dancing). Walk to the park with your children or a neighbour you’d like to catch up with. Use a skipping rope and skip around the house. Maybe you can play social soccer. Work out to exercise videos on YouTube. Swim, if you can. Play volleyball. Go for a hike. Do something!
3. Get Some Sleep. Go to bed early. Wake up at the same time every day. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as meditation. Darken your room more and turn your clock away from you. Write down worries or stressful thoughts to get them out of your head and onto the page. This will help you put them into perspective so you can stop worrying about them.
4. Prioritise Your Mental Health. For us to perform at our best, to be the person that we want to be, we must understand that taking care of ourselves mentally is a must. Allowing room in our lives for self-care, relaxation, self-forgiveness and understanding means that you can avoid the burn-out that comes from life’s stressors. Another major part of mental health is forging deep relationships with people that spur you on to greater success rather than drag you down to their level.
5. Think positive and focus on gratitude. Make it a priority to actively and deliberately focus on the positive to avoid being overwhelmed by daily stressors. One way is to focus on the good things in your life by documenting positive thoughts and notes detailing what you are grateful for in a journal. Research shows a healthy, positive attitude helps build a healthier immune system and boosts overall health. Your body believes what you think, so focus on the positive.
The habits you may decide to adopt on your journey towards improving your health may be different to the ones that I’ve described, but the important thing is that you start something.
You won’t be able to adopt them all overnight, but slowly start integrating as many as you can into your routine and your health will see dramatic improvements.
“Health isn’t everything, but everything is nothing without health”, Arthur Schopenhauer
More and more research is showing that the key to lifelong good health is what experts call “lifestyle medicine” — making small, simple changes in diet, exercise, and stress management. If you feel better, your body is able to perform at its best, and you will be better in almost all areas of your life.
You will feel happier. You will be able to focus better, be more productive and, as a result, hopefully earn more money. You will have more energy and therefore you will be more motivated and confident. A lot of areas in our life depend on our health.
Your health is indeed your wealth.
Agnes Chikukwa Hove, Brief Profile
Agnes finds fulfilment in being a Financial Wellness Coach. She coaches individuals, couples and organisations on effective personal financial management, and has effectively done so for the past 8 years. Agnes is a seasoned strategist who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Sequor Consulting a Pan-African SME Development, Consulting and Advisory organization. She is also the Treasurer at African Women in Agriculture (AWiA) a women’s empowerment organization. She possesses a Master of Science (MSc) Degree in Strategic Management, a Business Management (BBA) Degree and a Diploma in Nursing.
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- Mortality and causes of death in South Africa: Findings from death notification, 2016. Report prepared by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). Publication date & time: 27 March 2018 @ 12:00. Access link http://www.statssa.gov.za/?page_id=1854&PPN=P0309.3&SCH=7308