What it actually means and how to make it actionable.
one of the things that really does get me sometimes about the wellness community is how vague it can be. Yes everyone is different and there is never one specific blue print but making vague statements can often leave people feeling more lost than not hearing these scraps of information at all.
Investing in yourself is one of these phrases. Not only because it’s vague but because it can make people feel stupid for not being able to figure it out or only figuring part of it out. It can seem near impossible to achieve for people who need it most, such as care givers to both children and adults or just people with hectic busy lives (All of us now). But just like everything else, it can be broken down and taken in little steps that can make a lasting impact on your life and the lives of those around you. The one thing that you do need to be willing to give is time. The biggest excuse everyone always goes back to is not having enough time. For the Gym. To read. To take classes. Time is our most valuable resource and while you should be aware of it, it should also be your biggest investment in the things that matter to you.
So what is “Investing in yourself”? I’m not trying to sell you anything. You don’t need crazy products to invest in yourself, though it doesn’t hurt sometimes. Investing in yourself, to me, means taking the time to work on your body, mind and spiritual well being.
This goes for men and women , though traditionally, women got burnt here. We were meant to do all of that effortlessly, while taking care of everyone around us. It got even more exhausting when women were no longer in the house but often playing the role of home keeper, mother, and full time worker. Oddly enough there is a turn around now where men are often doing all of these things too.
Lets take a moment to go through this in each category, why it is important and what actionable things that can be done so that there is a place to start on this.
Body: The vessel that you live in.
Think its selfish top care about your body or your appearance? I would argue that you are wrong. its never just about aesthetic of course but there is something that feels oh so good and can make you stand taller when you feel like you are rocking it. It doesn’t start from the outside in either. It starts from the inside out.
Your body is something that you are going to have to be close to your entire life. Most of us aren’t going to change it (Unless you have a lot of money to do that) so investing in it can happen in a million different ways. The first is obvious if you have read anything from me…ever. Eat right and work out. It doesn’t have to be crazy. You don’t have to run marathons But from time to time you should be challenging your physical form. Find something that makes you sore but you still love. A dance class, mountain climbing, the rock gym. Whatever. Just love doing it and know that the more you do it, the better you are going to feel in the long run. Start young but if you’ve passed that point (Like I had) know that you can still find something kick ass to do and start.
Eating right goes hand in hand with this obviously. You can indulge…and you should indulge. But most of the time you should be getting your body foods that are going to leave you, your cells, your skin and everything else about you, feeling good.
Now don’t loose me on this next part but I do want to talk about physically a bit too. Investing in yourself means spending some time on your appearance too, putting your make up on; guys (And girls) buying clothes that fit right. When was the last time you saw a supper frumpy lawyer that wasn’t the underdog in a TV show? Never. Dressing better and looking better does make you feel better, but people also tend to take you more seriously.
- Clean out your closet and get rid of clothing that doesn’t fit/ makes you feel like a couch potato.
- Clean out your fridge and take note of what you have been eating that might make your body do some things you don’t want (Gassy, break outs ect).
- Try a new hobby or sport.
- Have a “Self care” day- make a bath, dye your hair, get a massage if you can. Make it a habit by putting it in your planner.
- Figure out what works for your skin- there are tons of little shops that will help you with this. I prefer Wilde Gathering in Philly
- Start taking a multivitamin.
Mind: More then just firing neurons but also as simple as that.
We’ve all seen it…most of us have anyway. Its really sad and not something that we like to think about but as we get older, the brain starts to go a bit. If you’ve had an elderly relative this can be one of the hardest things to watch. Watching my Uncle Mitchell (Great Uncle…I think) go from someone that was the democratic defender in our family go from a spunky, smart, amazingly witted man to someone who couldn’t even remember me or my cousins was one of the hardest things I think I have ever had to do. It was even harder then his death actually.
The mind is an important part of us and truthfully, most of us don’t use it as much as we should. Continued learning is part of being an adult, regardless of if it is said out loud or not. Employers and just life in general will expect you to be able to keep with with changes in technology and be adaptable. While some people have different skills and no one has all of them (Some people are creatives, others are wizes with numbers), there are things that as an adult member of society you should know about. Like starting a new fitness class, diving into something new can be daunting, even if its the newest 600+ page book you think that there is no way you can get through! But there are many ways to expand your mind and keep it sharp. Classes are more available then ever now because of the internet. Podcasts have never been more common or more accessible. Investing in your mind might just mean doing a cross word or playing sudoku.
It is one of those things where if you don’t use it, you loose it though. I wont go into all of the studies because it is pretty much common knowledge now that if you don’t keep learning, those wires start to fray as time goes on. While that’s going to happen eventually, you can slow it down and program your mind to keep moving.
- Join a book club/ read more
- Listen to a podcast on your morning commute
- Take a new class at the community college, one of your local stores that specializes in something that interest you, or find an on line course.
- Learn a new language
- Play “brain games” On your phone or in real life: Cross words, word searches, sudoku ect.
- Engage in constructive conversations (Stuff besides the normal pop culture).
Spirit: Where the Magic Happens
Yes I write that in the caption even though I’m going to catch a lot of grief (Sorry Mom) . This one can get a bit uncomfortable for people but I’m going to take it back to a 90’s Kevin Smith Movie there Serendipity (Salma Hayek you heathens) says it best.
“It doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as you BELIEVE”
Ever since I was a little girl I could hear her saying that to me because growing up you are taught to believe in something very specific. Then you rebel. And then you find your peace in not needing to do either. All that matters is that you find something that you believe in and that you understand that that fundamental belief shapes what you do and how you interact with the world around you.
I will never advocate for anyone to believe in a specific something because even in Dogmatic Catholic religion, everyone has their own little systems and idiosyncrasies that help people interact with each other and with the world. What I do advocate for is knowing what you love and what you believe in and letting it guide your actions.
I personally believe in the earth and the growth and nurturing of it and community. I believe that how we treat others comes back to us now or later. I believe that nature touches all of us and we must interact as organically as possible with nature (Plants, animals and other people). For others it can be as simple as believing in the power of family and basing your choices and how you interact with that.
Its very easy for us as individuals and rebellious teenagers to flail against the idea of religion and organized religion but when it comes down to it there is a reason why it is the oldest and strongest governance there ever was. Thats because as humans, we want to feel moved. We want to feel part of something big and beautiful, regardless of what that is.
Stop fighting your spirituality and instead harness it and understand what moves you are an individual. What calms you? What makes you feel at home? What makes you feel connected to someone on this big earth?
- Take time to quiet your mind/ learn how to meditate. No one is good at it at first but it help you through practice, quiet your mind and learn to let things flow through you instead of sitting on your chest. I recommend the Head Space App.
- Take a walk outside. Regardless of what religion you are, our roots lay in the earth and every religion acknowledge the meaning of it.
- Try some belly breathing.
- Journal. Anything you like really but try some prompts that you can connect to to help you find what you really believe and what you feel is important out of life.
- Start a gratitude log to see the things that make you happy and really reflect on how much in life there is to be grateful for.
- Slow down. We run through life so fast. Slowing down is a part of a few other things that I have talked about in here but it can be life changing.