“I realised that when you feel good from within, when you’re content with your own wellbeing, you show up as a better version of yourself. You perform better in your career or business; you become a better wife, mum and daughter.”—Cindy Excell, Senior Financial Adviser at Australian Unity.
- Real Wellbeing is seeing ourselves as a whole person and looking after all areas of our wellbeing.
- Financial literacy has improved in the broader community in the past two years.
- Making time for your own personal wellbeing is crucial.
As a Senior Financial Adviser at Australian Unity, with a fitness and nutrition coaching business on the side, Cindy Excell knows there’s a whole lot more to wellbeing than just having a gym membership. Here she explains why Real Wellbeing is about taking care of yourself as a whole.
Wellbeing isn’t just about being in physical shape: you can be as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his prime, but if the work it takes to have that type of body doesn’t give you a sense of happiness, then it won’t contribute to your wellbeing.
Your vision for your own physical health will be different to Arnold’s and different to mine. Discovering what that is for you comes down to having a deep connection with yourself.
You can be as fit as ever, or eat healthily every day, but if these other areas of wellbeing are not taken care of you will not feel well or happy. Not only do each of these components support the other, but how you feel in these areas is also reflected in other aspects of your life.
For example, when your energy is low, it’s likely you won’t perform well at work.
Then if you’re stressed because you haven’t been as productive at work and you’re worried about money, your sleep might be disrupted too.
And we all know how feeling tired and stressed can leave us with little energy to invest in our most important relationships. It’s all interrelated.
To me, that’s the key to Real Wellbeing: seeing ourselves as a whole person and looking after all areas of our wellness or wellbeing.
Showing up as a better version of yourself
I became really aware of looking after myself after I had my second daughter.
It wasn’t that I looked out of shape but I was always tired and grumpy. I didn’t feel strong—even if I was working out regularly back then—and I wasn’t feeling confident either.
So I decided to cancel my gym membership—because as a working mum of two, I didn’t have time to go to the gym—and instead I started exercising at home six days a week.
After doing this for six months, I noticed real physical changes, and my mindset towards self-care changed too.
I realised that when you feel good from within, when you’re content with your own wellbeing, you show up as a better version of yourself. You perform better in your career or business; you become a better wife, mum and daughter.
From then on, I kept up my exercise routine and committed to other habits to look after my wellbeing. I never really believed meditation would work, but I now meditate regularly and incorporate yoga into my weekly routine to help minimise stress.
I also decided to become a Certified Personal Trainer and a Nutrition Coach, so that I could coach women just like me who want to make sustainable healthy changes to their lives.
Passing on the knowledge that I’ve learnt through my online coaching business has the added bonus of contributing to my sense of purpose and community too.
Getting the foundations right
I also pay attention to our family’s financial wellbeing. I see money as energy, it is a resource that can give you options and, if you manage it well, it can contribute to how you feel about yourself and your life.
For example, knowing that you’re financially solid means you don’t have to worry if a nasty bill comes up.
That’s why I create a family budget and track our expenses to check if there are any big gaps.
Budgeting is “financial planning 101”, but it’s also the area that many people skip because they think it’s too simple.
However, if you don’t get the foundations of budgeting right, all the other things you try to build on top of it aren’t going to be sustainable.
My other habits include prepaying expenses when we can, such as health insurance and utilities, with companies that offer savings on up-front payments, and putting money aside for annual expenses, such as Christmas or gifts, so that it doesn’t eat into our savings.
It sounds so basic, but it sets the foundation for your family finance.
As a financial adviser, it’s been great to see how financial literacy has improved in the broader community in the past two years.
I’ve noticed that more and more people who come to see me want to look after their financial wellbeing, and they want to start earlier.
They’re clear about their goals and are planning for the future, especially in the lead-up to retirement.
My role is to help maximise their financial position to get them to where they want to be. From a planning perspective, it’s never too early or too late to start looking after your financial wellbeing. Doing so can give you peace of mind.
Discovering your “why”
Looking after your wellbeing isn’t a short-term commitment. It’s something you’ll do for the rest of your life.
The key to making these lasting lifestyle changes is discovering your “why?”; that is, your reason for doing so. My “why?” is that I want to feel good about what I do. I want to be able to keep up with my kids as they get older, no matter how old I am.
I don’t want to be someone who’s always tired and exhausted. I want to impact people around me in a positive way.
I always say “Age is just a number”, I truly believe that but it needs to come from a place of self-care, and come from a priority of taking control one’s health, fitness and wellbeing. You can be 45 or 50 years old, but look five, 10, even 15 years younger!
The condition is you have to see yourself as a whole person and discover the specific components that contribute to your own sense of wellbeing.
And to do that you need to find time for you. Because at the end of the day, if you can't look after yourself, you can't look after anyone or anything else.
Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest.