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Self-care vs. Finances??

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Random38, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. Random38

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm reaching out to get the opinions of others who may be/have been in a situation similar to mine. I'm in the eternal struggle between taking good care of myself while in graduate school, and running myself ragged to get ahead on my debt.

    To make a long story short, I have a unique living arrangement that affords me free room and board but at the expense of a lot of my time and some chaotic stress. I live in a large, urban area so moving out will add significant cost financially, but I know I will be able to take much better care of myself.

    I'm trying to imagine myself in 5 years when I'm finished with internship and hopefully in post-doc and I'm wondering what I'm going to wish I had done. For anyone who may have found themselves in a similar situation, how did you rectify it? Did you choose to make self-care a priority over your finances or vice versa, and how do you feel about that decision today?

    Thank you in advance for any insight you provide!
     
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  3. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Stay or go…I'd consider:

    1. Massages. If you can find a local massage school/certificate program, then you can get discounted massages from students who are gathering hours towards their licensure. I think I paid $20-$25 and filled out a short 5-6 question survey/feedback form for a 50min massage.

    2. Workout. Exercise is often the first thing to go when ppl get busy, but I know for me I was miserable if I didn't break a sweat at least once a day. Some people like yoga, lifting, running, whatever..just do something.
     
  4. smalltownpsych

    Psychologist 2+ Year Member

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    Yup. Living with the parents is muy stressful!
     
  5. jadezomb

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    It's definitely been a struggle for me over the past 2 years! I have found that self care and my mental health tends to prevail over worrying about finances. Here's a couple of my experiences so far.

    1st year I lived in an isolated area away from the city/school, but was able to live by myself. Because I am more extraverted, this was a bit painful. Making time to get out of the apartment was difficult and required planning. No social life, slightly miserable... this year I decided to move closer to school in a much more developed neighborhood--> but obviously with roommates to help cover rent. Best decision I ever made. I even pay less rent now. Super easy to get out to have a meal/drink with someone, go workout, or run some errands and get right back to work. Ahh, balance.

    Exercise: I tried the home gym thing for the first 2 years...motivation was low. Since moving closer to a gym, I have been taking fitness classes and actually working out. So far, $40 a month for the gym is worth my increased energy, motivation, and sanity.

    Massages: Also been a part of keeping my sanity. Mine (every 2 weeks) are covered by insurance since I go through a chiropractor.

    Food: I do not cook often, MAYBE 2-3 times per week. But I find ways to eat healthy. This means spending a lot more money, but my time is better spent on coursework and dissertation. If you really like cooking this might be a good way to take care of yourself (cooking healthy meals AND getting a study break) and saving money!

    It really depends on what you mean by self-care, it varies for everyone. Could you elaborate on that a bit? All of my other self-care things do not usually require much money. Netflix, film, reading, art projects, biking, etc... Bottom line: some things are worth the debt. For me these are: having a non stressful living situation, food, exercise, and occasional things to keep me sane like seeing my favorite band when they are in town or going to comedy shows every now and then. Balance!
     
  6. Spydra

    2+ Year Member

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    In addition to the excellent suggestions above I would add:

    Meditation - you can find meetup groups that do this free or use your library/internet for free resources
    Yoga - look for classes by donation in your community or use your library/internet for free resources
    Tai Chi - look for classes by donation in your community or use your library/internet for free resources
    Acupuncture - if there is a community clinic in your area they are usually on a sliding scale
    Sleep! - I know this is easier said than done, but I now sleep whenever I am tired regardless of what still has to get done.
    Get out in nature - surely you live near a park, stream, lake, hiking trail, etc and can go for a walk once in awhile. You can even take your reading and some snacks with you.
     
    Therapist4Chnge likes this.
  7. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    I actually became a supporting member of the local butterfly house, where I could go read, eat lunch, relax, etc. It was really relaxing to take a stack of journal articles and sit on a bench and read. Save for the occasional field trip, it was a nice get away from the typical coffee house/library routine I previously used.
     
  8. CaliMac

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    Two cost-effective suggestions for yoga, meditation and breathing practices:

    Yogaglo.com and
    Grokker.com

    You can stream yoga classes for a small monthly fee ($18/month for yogaglo and Grokker is tbd- just coming out of beta phase) and practice wherever, whenever, unlimited use.

    Grokker also includes lifestyle and cooking videos with the same membership.
     
  9. Occlumentia

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    Loving the suggestions here!

    Another one is to look at what groups are being run through your university (or other universities) for research. For example, I was involved in a mindfulness group that I've found very useful in terms of stress (and not just during the group, but since then as well), that was free if you completed their questionnaires. Another university I was involved with offered free personal training through their Exercise Physiology department. Etc.

    Join a book club, a gaming group, take up free exercise (walks, running), get out of your usual surrounds once in a while - lots of free/low-cost options for self-care. I agree that it takes a bit more effort than simply paying for something and being able to get it then and there, but it's worth it, IMO.
     

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