Nurses Stand Strong – Part IV: Essentialism
Essentialism – Living an Extraordinary Life
Look – financial wellbeing is an integral part of our work as Nurse Coaches.
You see, I began my career at the outset of the Great Recession.
It was then that I saw firsthand how many people’s overall health was directly impacted by the health of their wealth.
As nurses, we make damn good money compared to much of the population.
Right now, there’s a lot of economic volatility, and with that comes fear.
But the best way to combat that fear is by taking ownership of what is in your locus of control.
So in this installment of Nurses Stand Strong, let’s talk about something that is usually taboo:
Money, Your Financial Wellbeing, and Essentialism
*Please note that this isn’t financial advice. It’s your life, and your circumstances and decisions are your own. I’m sensitive to the fact that millions suffer every day from unhealthy distributions of wealth. But as Nurse Coaches, we must take care of ourselves first so that we can help others. We must be willing to talk about things that aren’t always easy.
The past decade has been one of unprecedented economic expansion, both nationally and globally.
And during times of expansion, what inevitably happens to your lifestyle?
Far too often, it inflates in tandem.
When times are good, we spend more than we need to.
We neglect to explore ways to live fully, but without the excess.
However, as you’re seeing right now, there is always balance.
Expansion yields contraction.
Abundance yields scarcity.
So as our world begins to come to balance, I invite you to use this opportunity to make the choice to simplify.
Focus on the essentials – the things that make you truly happy.
Essentialism is a Choice
Alright – I’ll be the first to admit that I run my lifestyle pretty lean.
You probably don’t know these things about me, but I…
- Have a car from 2004.
- Ride my bike pretty much everywhere.
- Cook most of my meals at home.
- Don’t drink often, so when I do, my bar tab tops out at 3 drinks.
And this last one is a little vulnerable for me to share:
I still live with roommates.
In fact, there are many more areas where I choose simplicity over excess.
Can I afford to lease a new car or to park in a garage near my office? Can I afford to eat out whenever I want or to live only with my future wife in a condo downtown?
Resoundingly – Yes.
And I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to say that.
Yet, I choose to focus on living simply.
I make a choice to practice essentialism.
Because when I do that, something magical happens:
My energy and finances are freed up to make choices for the betterment of my health, happiness, and business.
I’m not drained by the negative effects of excess, so I can be creative and take risks when others run in fear.
Where Can You Live More Simply?
Now, I recognize that my lifestyle choices are my own.
Your life, choices, and circumstances are unique.
But there are general principles that apply to us all.
First off, look around you right now. Look at the …
- Clothes you wear.
- Car you own.
- House you live in.
- Things you’ve filled your space with.
Do those things bring you joy? Do they markedly improve your life?
It’s a simple Yes or No.
You must be honest with yourself and your situation.
Perhaps you have a shelf of books that take up a whole wall in your house that you’ve been wanting to get rid of for years.
Or even worse, maybe that shelf is filled with VHS movies.
You see, free space = freedom of energy.
When you have less clutter – whether it’s physical objects or financial excess – you’re free to maneuver in a healthier way.
How to Assess Your Financial Wellbeing
When we’re in the midst of an economic contraction and there are fewer transactions, it can be scary.
But now is the perfect time to strip your spending down to the essentials.
So, nurses, you can think of this as a head-to-toe assessment of your financial wellbeing.
You see, over the past few weeks, Heather and I have done a comprehensive financial review. We looked at the overall health of our finances, played out the worst and best-case scenarios, and made decisions that will allow us to rise above the storm.
So, I invite you to do the same.
Because if you’re proactive, you can take ownership of your finances from a place of calm.
Step 1: Take a deep breath.
A financial assessment can be daunting at first, but it shouldn’t feel overwhelming. Breathe deeply, let go of any stress. That way, you can have an objective handle on the figures you’re looking at.
Step 2: Know that this brings you health.
Your financial wellbeing is an integral part of your overall health. Reviews like this are as important as moving your body and sleeping well.
Your Money Mindset is everything.
Step 3: Look at all bank and credit card statements from the last year.
Login to all of your accounts, and download the statements. This goes for both personal and business accounts.
Step 4: Eliminate unnecessary expenses.
Then, line by line, go through your statements. Highlight any subscriptions or unnecessary expenses, and make a decision in the moment if you still want them or not.
If yes, move on.
If not, cancel your subscription immediately or make the choice to eliminate that expense in the future.
Time spent here can save hundreds of dollars a month and can eliminate so much financial clutter.
Step 5: Simplify towards freedom.
Look at patterns in how you spend your money.
Are you going out to eat at restaurants 5 nights a week?
Do you upgrade your wardrobe every month?
Do you always buy new tech?
See where you’re spending your money, and make a decision right then and there.
If it brings you joy to make that lifestyle choice, keep it.
If you’d have more freedom by eliminating if from your life, do it.
And equally important in this simplification process is to eliminate all unnecessary bank accounts.
You see, if you have 4 checking accounts, 6 savings accounts, and 20 credit cards, you have financial clutter. You’ll miss important metrics and make mistakes and wonder where the heck you’re money is going.
I’m not saying to go close all but one credit card, as that would wreck your line of credit.
But simpler = better with finances.
The reality is that no normal person has the time or willingness to go through a dozen or more accounts every month.
Get down to the essentials.
Essentialism Comes in Many Forms
We chose to focus on finances here, but the reality is that clutter shows up in every area of your life.
In your thinking, environment, relationships – everything.
And the more that you can practice essentialism, the more space you have in your life to focus on what truly matters.
Live An Extraordinary Life… Simply
Living an extraordinary life doesn’t have to translate into an extraordinarily high credit card bill every month or having the latest and greatest stuff.
It’s about knowing what matters most to you, and simply creating more of that.
If you follow the steps above while offering yourself patience and kindness, you’ll be actively improving your health.
You’ll be taking ownership of your financial wellbeing so you can live an extraordinary life, without the excess.
You’ll be eliminating the clutter so you can focus on what truly matters.
What are you doing to simplify your life? How are you practicing essentialism so you can create more of what you love?
Let us know in the comments below!