Money & Mental Reset: A Mindset Interview

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Summary

Meet Arlesha Pugh, a licensed professional counselor in Kansas and Missouri, joining us this May to explore the profound link between mental and financial wellness. She offers practical strategies for promoting optimal mental health, emphasizing quality time over material things and setting boundaries. Take control of your mindset by limiting holiday & vacation spending and fostering open conversations about financial priorities.

Join us as we highlight the relationship between financial health and mental health this Mental Health Awareness Month. Take action with practical tips on how to improve this relationship with insights from a seasoned mental health professional.

Two individuals sitting on a couch, engaged in a conversation. One person holds a notebook and pen, gesturing with their hand. A lamp, books, and framed pictures are in the background.

Meet Arlesha Pugh, a licensed counselor and seasoned trauma clinician with a wealth of experience. She joins us this May for Mental Health Awareness Month to share profound insights on the connection between mental and financial wellness.

Accessing culturally competent care can be challenging, but there are practical steps we can take to promote optimal Black mental health*. Ms. Pugh shares pragmatic approaches with us, supported by her extensive experience.

Mental fortitude influences our social, emotional, and psychological well-being, and it also plays a role in our financial security and ability to cope with everyday stressors. Ms. Pugh highlights that managing finances can become more challenging for individuals facing mental health struggles, increasing the risk of debt.

How To Mentally Reset

Ms. Pugh points to two overarching themes: quality time over material things and communicating boundaries.

These tangible tactics help with controlling your money mindset and external influences.

1. Summer & Holiday Control Spend

Ms. Pugh identifies the summer season and holidays as a particularly difficult time for numerous individuals. She states, “Between not being able to spend time with family and loved ones, lack of finances to fund celebrations, or high expectations on gift gifting, these seasons are major stressors that can have a severe impact on one’s mental health.”

Ms. Pugh encourages us to set boundaries by having conversations with family and loved ones about what is important about the holiday & vacation season, which is spending quality time together. Ms. Pugh states, “Develop a deeper relationship with family and loved ones that does not revolve around money or what you can do for them. Creating traditions around what makes you all happy can help.” She adds, “As I’ve gotten older, my family and I spend time together during the holiday season by watching movies, baking cookies, singing carols, viewing lights and displays, and more. We limit our spending by doing Secret Santa and giving one person a gift, instead of buying every single person a gift. During the summer, we attend community events, host family gatherings, or stay in and have movie or game nights. We love it!”

PLOS ONE study shows that face-to-face interactions and time spent together significantly reduce the occurrence of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

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2. Communicating boundaries and priorities

Everyone experiences financial challenges that often go unnoticed by others. “These stressors include paying off debt, making ends meet, paying household bills, emergency expenses, and lack of knowledge about budgeting, and more,” Ms. Pugh shares.

With pressure to make everyone happy, she emphasizes “It’s incredibly important to set boundaries by having conversations with family and loved ones about what is important.”

Mindset shifts typically result from reflection, trying new approaches, and communicating with those around us. We should be comfortable with asking ourselves and others tough questions about what money means to us and why we spend it the way that we do.

Your priorities don’t have to align with others. Avoid getting caught up in comparisons. “To build a positive relationship with finances, it is important to understand what money means to you, why you spend it the way that you do, then begin to work on this mentally and emotionally. Set goals for your money, budget for needs vs. wants, and find activities that you enjoy that do not require money to be spent. Most importantly, don’t compare yourself to other people or what they have,” Ms. Pugh suggests.

Making life events during the summer or around the holidays more financially accessible allows us to prioritize quality time. By communicating our priorities and boundaries, we start to undergo a mindset shift that aligns with our financial empowerment.

* For additional resources, please see our article Let’s Talk About Black Mental Health with included links to mental health organizations aimed at supporting Black mental health.

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