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Tax season has come and gone (phew!), and while many Americans find themselves rolling in a refund, others will owe money. Whether you have a “windfall of funds”—extra money—or are reluctantly reaching into some savings to pay your taxes, these actions can create an attitude of “What am I going to do?” Save or spend?
According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, more than 60 percent of Americans stress about money. Yep, you read that right. 60 percent! It’s important to remember that your health includes your wealth. If your finances are out of whack, so are you. And if you’re constantly worried about how you’re going to pay bills, this can take a toll on your emotional, mental and physical health.
Looking to push the reset button on your cash flow? Follow these three tips to find balance in your financial life and get your overall wellness in check!
Getting money back? It can be easy to spend it on something big, but maybe it’s time to rethink your refund. Take your tax return and apply the majority of what you get back from the government to any credit card debt you have. Start with the ones with the highest interest rate. Next, add some money—even if it’s not a huge amount!—to an emergency savings fund. Finally, don’t forget to spend a little on you! You worked hard, and you deserve to treat yo’ self.
The first step to finding financial balance is through creating a personal financial statement at least twice a year. The simple way to accomplish this is to take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left side, list all your assets—funds in checking/savings, value of cars, home, and any property or investments that you may have. On the right, list the balances of all the debt (liabilities) that you have—what you owe on credit cards, loans, home loan, car loans, etc. At the bottom of the page, subtract the difference between your assets and liabilities—that’s your net worth. This practice will help you see your big financial picture.
Now it’s time to establish a monthly financial statement. Again, the easiest way is to get a sheet of paper and list your total monthly income (take-home pay) at the top. Under this list, write down your monthly payments of all bills including house, car, credit cards, etc. Don’t forget to include things like daycare, cell phone bills, utilities, insurance, gym memberships, manicures—all monthly expenses. Need a little extra help? Consumer.gov has a few handy worksheets to use. Lastly, take a long, hard look at your monthly expenses and see if there are any items that you can live without. Are you spending $5 per day at Starbucks? Going out to too many work lunches? Can you make that $9 smoothie at home? It adds up! Trade dinners and drinks out for hitting the gym or going for a run. Slash those expenses and try to pay down some of the debt you owe.
Breaking down your finances so you can see where you are and where you are going is a real eye-opening experience. Bestselling author and finance guru, Jean Chatzky, says her money philosophy is to “spend less than you earn.” It sounds easy, but dealing with your dollars can be a challenge. Just like eating clean or exercising, be mindful of your spending and work on practicing financial balance daily to get ahead. It’s never too late to start!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.