Most of the time when we think of investments we think of financial products or increase. Stocks, bonds, financial portfolios, and banking products are all things that we typically “invest” our money into. But what about other investment opportunities, such as investing in ourselves, our lives, or in others?
Investing in ourselves is a critical component for a good, well-lived life. We have to practice our very best methods of caring for ourselves (mind, body, and emotions), and in so, doing what we can to grow as individuals. There are many components of taking good care of ourselves and “investing” in ourselves, but before we cover these items, we should talk about what ignoring ourselves and consistently investing in our character and lives, will produce.
When we assign ourselves as the last priority, we deny the opportunity to grow and truly enjoy our lives. If everything and everyone else comes first and we neglect our personal self-care, this will catch up with us at some point, and we will certainly feel it. Negative thoughts and emotions will begin to regularly surface, and we may begin wondering when we lost our motivation, and also when we started feeling so worn out all the time.
Much of our lives is surrounded by the perception of our experiences. Everyone has trials and challenges, but the way that we address them can make or break our energy levels to equip us to get through the experience. When we practice self-care and invest in ourselves, we build up a reserve to tap into when we encounter these tough days and situations. When we ignore ourselves and regularly function in a worn-out capacity, are unmotivated and stressed out, we do not have a reserve to provide the fuel we need to push us through our trials.
But how do we successfully invest in ourselves? How do we know if we are good personal investors? What if we need to work on this, where do we start?
Taking good care of ourselves involves:
- Getting proper sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercise. If you are not investing in quality care of your physical body, your mind and emotions will also suffer. Taking time to be sure that you are doing your best to stay healthy is an invaluable practice.
- Tapping into our spiritual and/or religious life. No matter what or how you believe in higher powers, we are more than just our body and soul. There is a part of us that longs for a spiritual connection, so if you pray, then make it a habit. If you seek after the universe and nature to guide and calm you, spend time there. Just be sure to nurture your spirit and energy.
- Avoiding unnecessary stress and drama. Although this one may seem obvious, for many people, this is an ongoing challenge. The people we select for our inner circle, can have an enormous impact on our well-being and the peace we should have. We have to make some hard choices sometimes, which means that we need to disconnect from people and environments that are not healthy for us or produce unneeded drama.
- Keep up our personal appearance and style. Everyone has their own “look” and we should all persist in keeping it maintained. Looking good feels good! SO, take care of your appearance, do what can to look your best and watch how much better you feel. This is not about societal standards either, this is about you and what makes you feel good and proud of your unique physical attributes. This is a major personal investment.
- Live a balanced life as much as possible. If you feel that you are not spending enough time with family, change that. If you work too much, cut back. If you sleep too much, WAKE up and GET up! If you are not spending enough time with family or your children, change that! Bottom line, if you are out of balance in any area, then you need to get realigned, and quickly. Avoid the burnout and stress that comes with being burned out. Check out this article for more tips on avoiding burnout.
- Pursue things that will strengthen your character, such as higher education, obtaining new skills, fostering our hobbies, etc. Don’t settle for being average and not pursuing your dreams and goals, and do not allow anyone to deter you from those goals (as long as they are positive and healthy, of course). If you want to go back to school, enroll! If you want to start writing or working with youth, take those steps! Whatever may be on your “bucket list,” get to it! Do not just sit around and ignore your gifts, hobbies, or your goals.
Evaluating if our “personal portfolio” is strong, involves:
- Constantly re-assessing how you are feeling. Life itself is the biggest (and longest) roller coaster ride we will experience. Seasons change and so do we, so we have to continue reviewing things that have worked for us, along with areas that need improvement. Invest the time needed to be the best person you can be, and do not be afraid to make changes.
- The amount of peace we feel and experience. Feeling calm and collected is a very important step when investing in ourselves. We have to learn to identify times when we are not at peace and focus on regaining this peace. Meditation, prayer, calming music, reading, and general relaxing can all help us to restore our peace.
- Quality of friendships and people around us. Similar to being surrounded by negative people or environments, we want to be conscious of the quality of the friendships and interactions we have with others. If we constantly feel negatively during or after being around someone or in a certain environment, this is a clue for us to
- Making and reaching our goals. Have you recently established some goals and successfully attained them, or are making significant progress? If you have not been making progress, have you evaluated the reasons or circumstances behind it and ready to get back on track? Setting and reaching goals is a major personal portfolio contribution.
- Not regularly feeling overwhelmed or drained. There will be the occasional days or seasons when we might feel overextended or fatigued. This is completely normal and part of life, however, if these emotions have become routine, this is not healthy. This is a signal that something in our lives is out of balance and we must quickly make some changes before the physical and mental consequences of constantly feeling overwhelmed and drained catch up with us.
Where do we start if we need to invest more into our “personal portfolio?”
- Get a calendar or use an online version to help you get and stay organized. In today’s world, there really is no excuse to not be organized and know what is on your plate each day. There are fabulous paper planners, digital calendars, online platforms, to-do-lists in paper and electronic forms, Apps for our phones, and even whiteboards we can put on our walls. The opportunities to become more organized and in control over our time are endless. If you have not began using some form of calendar to get organized, the only person to blame is yourself. Becoming organized will positively impact every area of your life! Get a calendar that works for you, and use it!
- Remove yourself from toxic relationships and situations. Our personal portfolio is quickly depleted if we use up all of our energy reserves on negativity. This negativity includes people and environments. If you are surrounded by negativity, it is time to shift your investments into the positivity realm. This is a deposit with numerous benefits and rewards.
- Set some short-term and long-term goals. As previously mentioned, set some personal and professional goals today! This is a great place to get started with your personal portfolio. Investing in ourselves means that we are constantly working on ourselves!
- Schedule and complete a medical physical. We only have one body, and it is imperative that we do our best to take care of it. Many of you have not visited a doctor in a long time, and this has to change. A simple physical can provide a blueprint for progress, and a foundation to set some goals. Do not overlook the importance of visiting a medical doctor at least once a year.
- Read more, watch less TV, and engage less on social media. Seriously. Stop participating in things that distract you from being productive and progressing. Watching too much tv and engaging on social media platforms all day is not only a time waster, but it also affects our emotions, mental, and physical health. Studies have shown that too much social media may result in unfair comparisons, as we see the lives of other portrayed in their profiles (which is often exaggerated), and begin to feel that our lives are inadequate. Jealousy can surface, as well as forms of depression as we mistakenly believe that we are not as valuable, good-looking, financially healthy, or will ever meet our goals or desires, all based on looking too deeply into other people’s lives. Remember that it’s all about balance. You can watch tv and check out social media, just don’t let it consume you or take you away from other things you should be doing to build your personal portfolio.
There is nobody else who can invest into our adult “personal portfolio” much as we can choose to, well outside of our parents when we were children. We have sole authority over our lives, and the outcome of intentional decisions. Considering that the majority of you reading this article are adults, it is important that you begin accepting that you are ultimately responsible for your life. Not your past, friends, circumstances, or even negative experiences. We always have the option to invest in ourselves and be dedicated to overcoming anything we find preventing us from living our best lives.
Is this always easy? Absolutely not.
Some of us have challenges that take a lifetime to sort through and this impacts our self-confidence. Others do not know where to begin for believing they are valuable enough to invest in. If you cannot locate or maintain a starting point for your personal portfolio, it may be helpful to seek some professional support. Counseling can be a great source of inspiration and hope when we cannot locate these elements on our own. And we all require inspiration and hope to make it through life.
If you feel your motivation declining and you do not have hope for obtaining the good things in life, this is a major red flag that you may not investing enough in yourself or that your reserve is depleted. Out of all the suggestions in this article, if you are feeling hopeless and want to learn ways to feel better, check out other thoughtsrealigned articles, and of course, seek professional support to help guide you if needed.
Most of all, keep investing in and taking care of yourself. This is a deposit you where you cannot go wrong.