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by MindJournal - 12 min read
Do you invest in yourself?
We know. Between work and family commitments, finding time to focus on yourself isn't always easy.
But investing in yourself is essential and has the power to benefit not only you but those around you.
Don't think you have time? Research from Southern New Hampshire University found taking time to yourself can reduce anxiety and stress, and increase happiness, meaning you'll have more time and energy to focus on what's important to you.
Our tips below incorporate simple changes with huge benefits. All are free and relatively easy to adopt. Some you can do today. Others – like getting more sleep – might take a bit of work. But, by sticking with it, a little bit of work today will help you build long-term investments in the person most responsible for your happiness and wellbeing – you.
"Take note of what makes you happy and improves your energy levels and allocate time throughout the week dedicated to these activities," advises Morgan. "Spending time with family, having time alone to read or do a creative activity you enjoy, going out to the park and surrounding yourself with nature."
Social media can really wind us up. Why not try a social media detox to feel less anxious? Heather Cleland Woods, a sleep researcher at the University of Glasgow, found that people sleep less when they’re emotionally invested in social media and also suffer from a higher rate of anxiety.
"We can create positive emotions by setting our mood for the day the night before," suggests motivational speaker and author Taz Thornton. “Repeat a mantra before you drift off. Try something like: "I’m really grateful for the hours of sleep I’m about to enjoy. I know when I wake up, I’ll feel energised and ready to create an amazing day."
Even if it’s on the toilet at work, quiet space is essential. "It helps you calm your mind and connect with yourself," says Moore. "Being present with your emotions helps release them, leaving you feeling focused."
"Every day – even if it's just short sentences," advises Moses. "It's great for reflection, and writing down what you're grateful for can really make you appreciate the small things in life."
"Go for a walk on your lunch breaks," says Lewis Moses, ultra-runner and founder of New Levels Coaching. "Even getting up to make a cup of tea once an hour can help, as sitting at your desk is terrible for your posture."
We all know the importance of sleep. "Getting enough sleep and staying hydrated will support your cognitive behaviour and ability to make sound choices," explains Vanessa Louise Moore, a mental health and wellbeing expert.
"This is great for mental health as well as physical health," explains Moses. "Don't be afraid to take your work out in the open, if you can. It could be something simple like walking and talking whilst you take a call."
"Keeping hydrated will help you feel good," says Farren Morgan, founder of The Tactical Athlete training method. "Nipping out for a coffee or water is a great way to take time from your desk each day and clear your head away from your boss, too."
"Stressful day at work? Movement is a quick remedy," explains Kelly Cookson, a positive psychology and performance coach. "Even better when you pair it with music. Put your headphones on, hit play on your favourite tune, and power walk around the block."
"Forcing yourself to work out is difficult, so find the exercise/sports you love to do and stick to them," advises Moses. "You're more likely to do the things you love." Sounds easy when you say it like that.
"Tracking and monitoring your progress can be powerful," says Lewis. If fitness trackers and personal trainers are out of your budget, you can easily track your progress at home or make a fitness plan with a friend to keep each other accountable.
"Monitoring your finances will help you pinpoint avenues where money is coming in and where your money is going out. By calculating these figures, you can identify how much you spend and adjust accordingly," advises Morgan.
"Research shows many psychological benefits to charitable giving," says Cookson. "Engaging in charitable giving is proven to reduce money-related stress." If you aren't able to donate financially, donate time – say just an hour a week – to a local charity and feel a similar sense of wellbeing.
"Save some money if you can," says Moses. "Set even a little bit aside each month. It feels good to see your savings pot grow, and it's also a great feeling to reward yourself for your hard work."
"Having a visual representation of your goal will inspire continued growth," says Moore. Give it a go – even if you just write down a figure in your journal and remind yourself of it every time you want to splurge on something you don't really need or want.
"Read books or watch educational videos on personal financing and budgeting to align your finances with your goals," advises Morgan. There's something out there for everyone, no matter your financial situation.
"Meditation is a great – and free – way to start the day," says Moses. "Find a routine that works for you, even if it's just sitting, reflecting, and working on your breath. Our lives are so busy these days, so why not start the day in a relaxed, calm manner."
"Start every day with gratitude;- every morning, name five things you're grateful for," advises Thornton. "Make this a habit, and you'll find yourself creating a more positive outlook in no time."
"Meaning in life is associated with higher levels of wellbeing," says Cookson. "Instead of focusing on the day-to-day, imagine your life as a whole - what positive things would people say about you? Step back, and take note to refocus with intention."
"Spend time in nature each week. Whether it's taking a walk in the park or hiking in the mountains, connect with the natural world and gain a sense of perspective and peace," advises Stacey Brass-Russell, a life and business coach.
"Block time out when you plan to work on certain tasks or activities, as this can help with productivity, focus and attention," says Moses. "This sense of routine can also be beneficial for well-being."
"Learn a new skill in bitesize chunks," advises Palmer. "This will help build your confidence and credibility to apply for a work promotion, a pay rise, or to add a new income stream if you’re an entrepreneur."
Instead of doomscrolling, use those spare few minutes to invest in something relevant to your career path. "Sharpen your awareness and keep your passion alive with continued learning," advises Moore.
"When we live in accordance with our values, research has shown that we experience higher levels of overall wellbeing," says Cookson. Write out your goals at the start of each quarter, with attainable steps you can take to achieve them.
Achievements are worth celebrating, so don't let them slip by. "Set goals and monitor your progress; this can help to create a process towards your big goals and give you a sense of purpose with the work you're doing," says Moses.
"Surround yourself with positive people," says Moore. "Your friendship circle is essential to your overall wellbeing as they become your support network, encouragers and greatest influencers."
"Podcasts on the topics you're interested in can create a community," says Moses. "This is a great way to feel involved with a group of people with similar interests whilst learning about topics or areas that interest you."
"It takes a micro-moment to genuinely connect with somebody in ways that can improve your wellbeing," advises Cookson. "Ask the person at the checkout how their day is going. Listen to their response, and a quick chat provides a hit of social connection."
Fitness groups are a great way to meet people, whether it's at the local gym or shooting hoops in the park. "Sports clubs are a great way to meet people with similar interests to you and keep you active at the same time. Win, win!" Moses enthuses.
Remembering what excited us when we were younger can spark a new enthusiasm and new social life too. "Tap into your creativity by investing in your hobbies and passions with like-minded people," says Palmer. "This will help increase your sense of belonging as well as your confidence to be authentically and unapologetically you!"
"Focus on surrounding yourself with friends and family members that support your dreams, have similar goals or inspire you to be the best version of the person you want to be," says Morgan. "Having their support will help you feel good about yourself in whatever you're doing."
Hopefully, the above has left you feeling inspired to start investing in yourself.
The key is incorporating just one or two (or three or four) tips into your daily routine and building from there. These can be short-term things like going for a walk after you’ve finished reading this or longer, like planning your financial future – the choice is yours.
Take time to focus on yourself, maybe even adding your own tips to the above, and you’ll forge long-term investments in your happiness, success and outlook.
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