Real Money: Making sure I get more from my wellness program

Discounts rock - I get a kickback for participating in a wellness program my health insurance company provides me. But that's not why I'm doing it. Sure, I get to save a bit of cash, but the benefits go way farther than that.

Fully participating in my wellness program has helped me focus on what really matters the most.

It's about the family

Yeah, it sounds cheesy but it's oh-so-true - I want to be around for my family.

As my husband and I were helping our toddler practice what he learned from his swimming lessons over the weekend, I was struck with a huge wave of gratitude. As in, I was healthy enough to sit in a pool for over an hour with a very (and I mean very) enthusiastic toddler kicking and waving his arms around.

I was also grateful for the fact that my husband was also there sharing laughs the whole time. It's a simple but fundamental reason why I work so hard. To be there for moments like these.

So yes, it may seem like a simple wellness program. However, if I can sign up for something that provides me with an incentive to be healthier, I have a higher chance of seeing a lot more moments like these.

Productivity ... FTW

Making sure I get more from my wellness program also helps me earn more money. As in, if I'm sick, I don't earn any money.

Yes, employers do give you sick days, but I'm a small business owner. I do give myself time to rest but if I'm not actively working, I don't get paid. That means being as healthy as possible affects my bottom line.

Besides, when I'm well rested and energetic, I can work much more productively. Meaning, if I do need to take time off, I can do so without guilt because it won't take too much effort to catch up.

Learning to listen to my body

Getting regular checkups is essential as it helps me train to listen to my body. It offers me an opportunity to ask my doctor on any health related concerns and fix any issues before it becomes a larger health concern.

For example, a few years ago I went through a really stressful time, both mentally and physically. During this period I ignored my body which I completely regret. Had I learned to slow down and listen to my body, I could have healed a lot faster.

Now, I've taken advantage of things like free classes, counselling and gym membership discounts so that I can take care of my body, I understand my body a lot better. I can tell a lot sooner if I'm feeling worn out, so that I can take some time for self-care.

Frankly, owning a business and raising a family is a lot of work and I feel like I can be a lot more present for both my husband and son when I'm healthy.

So while you may want to dismiss the wellness program your employer or health insurance company provides, remember it's more than that discount. The habits and routines you learn will help you live a richer life - inside and out.

Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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