You are your own greatest asset.
Think about it. Who you are, how you feel about yourself, how you present yourself, what you know, your overall physical and mental health… it all contributes to how you perform at work, at home, and in the things you do for fun.
Of course, you’re also a lot more than an asset — a machine that either performs its function well or does not. You are also a person, someone who feels better, lives better, and loves better from a place of all-over health. You are worth investment simply because you are alive. (See also: 52 Great Weekend Projects to Improve Your Life)
In fact, you are worth investing in no matter which of these views of the self resonates more deeply with you. It is always worth putting a bit more time and energy into yourself, whether it is so you can improve your performance, or so you can just live from a healthy, whole, centered place.
1. Meditate on Your Needs and Desires
Before you start finding ways to invest in yourself, it’s worth taking the time to sit down and decide what you need and what way to invest in yourself is best for you. Your needs will be different from those of the people around you, and that’s as it should be. (See also: How to Stop Being Afraid and Live Your Dreams)
Sometimes, you will instinctively know what you need. Other times, you may need to spend some time journaling or talking with someone close to you to figure out where to start.
2. Heal From Your Hurts
One of the best ways to invest in yourself is to take some time to heal from the things that have hurt you. There are so many things to grieve in life; job loss, lost relationships, and the death of those close to you are only a few of the more common experiences that can cause grief. Because our culture doesn’t grieve well, sometimes we can’t get beyond those things that have hurt us.
Being intentional about grieving well can take many forms. Maybe you just need time, or maybe you need a couple of hours with a cup of tea and a journal. If that doesn’t help you, consider talking to a professional. This can be a long process, but you will only be able to live fully if you can move past your losses.
3. Create in a New Way
Most of us have some creative outlet, whether it is obvious, like painting or writing poetry, or less obvious, like computer programming or solving old problems in new ways. Sometimes, when we get used to functioning creatively in a certain way, we find that our creativity actually stagnates, or that we burn out.
Instead of trying the same old things creatively, try something new. If you usually write, draw a picture or listen to music instead. Focus on those things you’ve always wanted to do, or on things that are less usual outlets for creative thought.
For example, you could consider:
Woodworking Pottery Calligraphy Cooking classes
4. Learn to Network
For some people, meeting others comes as naturally as eating. For others, it’s a difficult process. Most people think of networking as something that specifically takes place in a work capacity, but the truth is that learning how to meet other people can help you in all areas of your life. Knowing people can help you learn new things, get help when you need it, and learn about the opportunities around you.
Beginning to network can be as easy as inviting some friends over. Have them each bring a couple of friends, provide some low-key edibles, and there you have it!
5. Move Your Body
We hear so much about exercise that it’s easy to tune it out. Sure it’s good for you, but who has time for that? However, taking time to exercise doesn’t only help you get more physically fit, but it also helps you get some white space in your day. Even if you blast your music, you generally can’t multi-task while you’re working out, so your brain gets a break.
“Exercise” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You can walk, jog, run, lift weights, Jazzercise, CrossFit, jump rope, kick box, Zumba, use cardio machines, and so much more. (See also: 50 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun)
6. Save Money
Before you splurge on those shoes or a computer game, put money in your savings account. When you pay yourself first, you say to yourself that you are important and that you are more than the things you let yourself buy.
If you aren’t good at saving, set up a separate savings account for this money. Put in a certain amount after each paycheck, and leave it there. You will probably be surprised at how much you have after several months or a year. This can be your travel fund, your new car fund, or your to-be-determined fund. (See also: 12 Ways to Make Yourself Save More)
7. Spend Time Where It Matters
Figure out what the things are in your life — or your work — that are most important, and make sure they get your best time. If there are tasks that you can delegate, do it. If you feel like you need to delegate something but you don’t know what, take some time to determine which parts of your day feel the most fulfilling. Then figure out if someone else can take on some of the rest.
There are seasons in life where delegation is hard, not because you don’t want to do it, but because it isn’t a good option, for whatever reason. In these cases, try to do as many of the important and rewarding tasks first, and then do the essential “other” tasks as your energy allows.
8. Educate Yourself
Education is an obvious but important investment that you can make in yourself. Most people equate education with school, but the truth is that there are a million ways to learn. Sure, you could go back to school, but you could also work alongside someone doing what you want to do, or invest in (and read!) books that focus on topics you want to know more about.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time or money, you can learn more. Talk to the people around you and find out what they know and if they’d be willing to teach you. Or run a Google search on an interesting subject and read the top five articles.
9. Sleep More, Sleep Better
We’re sleeping less than ever before. We are busy and our phones/tablets/computers/email keep us going constantly. And sometimes, even when we try to sleep, we can’t because of stress or worries that keep us awake. If you really want to be at your best, though, you need to get enough sleep.
Is sleep a struggle for you? Be sure to give yourself some non-screen time before you go to bed. You can also try focusing on your breathing until you drift off to dreamland. Find what works for you and do it. Sleeping feels like doing nothing, but it is one of the most rejuvenating things you can do for your waking hours.
How do you take care of yourself? What works for you?