When we consider family resources, certain words come to mind and they usually center around money and finances. However, there are several things besides money that households should manage to improve their sustainability and well-being. In addition to money, families should look for ways to manage their collective resources. These range from our time and energy, to our individual belongings and the spaces in our home to our relationships.
By managing our resources wisely, we also manage our stress levels and mental health. This helps ensure we are not overextending ourselves, our material things or our finances. According to the National Council on Family Relations, the scope of family resource management includes “the decisions individuals and families make about developing and allocating resources including time, money, material assets, energy, friends, neighbors and space, to meet their goals.”
Managing our time and energy
You have likely heard the expression, “Time is money.” Time is one of our most valuable commodities. Regardless of how much money is in our bank account, there are a guaranteed 24 hours in our day. Learning to manage our time wisely reduces our stress, increases our productivity and helps us better prioritize to whom and what we give our energy.
Take an inventory of your time. In a day, how much time do you devote to the activities of life such as sleep and self-care? How much time to hobbies and household maintenance? Or to mindless activities, like browsing the internet, scrolling social medial or binging television? If you’re not sure where your time goes, write down what you do in a 24-hour period. You might be surprised! You might consider making a time budge just like a financial budget to help allocate your time to what is most important.
Managing our belongings
When we make a purchase, from $2 to $2,000 sofa in our living room, it becomes our belonging. When we aim to manage our belongings, we learn to buy things that serve us well, that yield a good return on our short- or long-term investments, and that are of lasting quality. Take an inventory of your belongings. Declutter what you no longer need or use. Take care of what you keep. Invest time into caring for your things — from your clothes, to your cookware, to your furniture, to your vehicle and home.
Seeing our physical spaces as resources to manage can also help us calm the internal chaos that contributes to stress and anxiety. By being intentional in managing our spaces, we can create areas in our lives that promote peace and tranquility. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Start by removing clutter and keeping your spaces clean. Also, teach your children to care for their things too. Teaching children to keep small parts together for toys, and to keep their bedrooms or playrooms organized are good places to begin. This helps children develop responsibility and a sense of ownership for their belongings, as well as pride in taking care of their spaces.
Managing our relationships
The relationships we have with others — our families, neighbors, coworkers or friends — can serve as resources or stressors. And sometimes both, if we’re honest. Investing in our relationships is important to our overall health, well-being, and functioning. For example, when we work well with others, our professional relationships are strengthened. This often increases work productivity. We find our workplaces become more enjoyable when we operate as part of a team.
The same goes for our romantic, parental or other familial relationships. When we invest in the maintenance of our personal connections, we have the power to strengthen them. Positive family relationships are one of the most effective buffers against stress. They are also a big indicator of resiliency when faced with adverse circumstances. Without intentionally regulating our social, emotional, and environmental resources, we set ourselves up for impaired functioning in other areas of our life. Toxic stress can impact our ability to work or parent, and can lead to depression, anxiety or other physical health issues.
Family resource management requires intentionality. Like with our finances, health or any area of our life in which we want to experience positive outcomes, we must be mindful of our decisions. Consider your collective resources and assess what is working well in each area as well as the areas you should manage differently. Deciding to reduce stressors, halt time or energy stealers, take better care of yourself and your belongings, or improve negative relationships can have compounding, positive impacts in all areas of your life.
Banana Split Oatmeal
1/3 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup very hot water
1/2 banana, sliced
1/2 cup light strawberry yogurt
Wash hands with warm water and soap, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
In a microwave safe bowl, mix 1/3 cup oatmeal and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add 3/4 cup hot water, and stir to combine. Microwave on high power for 1 minute. Remove the bowl with oven mitts and stir. Microwave on high power for another 1 minute. Remove the bowl with oven mitts, stir, then allow it to cool slightly to thicken.
Using a cutting board and knife, slice half of a peeled banana. Wrap, and eat the remaining banana half as a morning snack later that day. Top the oatmeal with banana slices and 1/2 cup yogurt. Serve immediately.
Yield: 1 serving
Nutritional Analysis: 70 calories; 1.5 g fat; 0g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 350 mg sodium; 36 g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 17g sugar; 0g added sugar; 6g protein.
Editor’s note: This article was sourced from Nichole Huff, Ph.D., CFLE, assistant Extension professor for Family Finance and Resource Management. The recipe can be found at https://www.planeatmove.com/recipes/recipe/banana-split-oatmeal/.
Reach Cecelia Hostilo, Trigg County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, at P. O. Box 271 (2657 Old Hopkinsville Road), Cadiz, KY 42211, by phone at 270-522-3269, fax at 270-522-9192 or email email@example.com.