In our culture, “investing” is usually a financial concept. When you think about investments, the actions that come to mind are often external, right? Save for retirement. Buy stock in Apple. Diversify that portfolio. But what about an internal investment? What about investing more time, care, energy, intention and other resources in yourself?
Your growth as a person is the most valuable form of capital you have in this world. The skills you accumulate, connections you strengthen, objectives you pursue, and sense of wellness you maintain contribute to building the life you want—both in this moment and years into the future.
Ways to Invest in Yourself
So here are five simple but meaningful ways to invest in yourself on a consistent basis. No matter how much time or finances you can afford to shell out, there’s an idea on this list for just about any budget. And let’s be honest—you are worth the investment!
Expand Your Skills and Knowledge
When was the last time you upskilled that resumé of yours? If it’s been awhile since you have learned something new, this is an excellent place to kick off the self-investment journey. Continual learners tend to be more productive, engaged, confident and satisfied than their counterparts, notes the State of the ROI of Learning Report from Udemy. Not to mention, with all the educational materials and platforms you can access online, it doesn’t require a mountain of student loans to advance your knowledge base. Below are some free or cost-effective resources to learn a plethora of skills:
- Take an e-learning course on websites such as Coursera, Skillshare, Teachable or Udemy.
- Access TED Talks on just about any topic or discipline from the extensive video database.
- Read books, listen to podcasts or watch YouTube tutorials on whatever you want to learn.
Seek Out a Mentor Relationship
While we’re on the subject of learning, another way to invest in both personal development and career success is to seek out a quality mentor. Find someone you admire, who is further along the path, and ask if you can treat them to coffee once a month in exchange for their mentorship. You can acquire all kinds of insights from a person who has achieved what you’re interested in pursuing. A mentor can help grow your professional network, coach you for interviews, meetings or presentations, and call attention to blindspots that hold you back. Here are a few places to look for a mentor:
- Use the hashtag #Mentorship to find career support and development groups on LinkedIn.
- Get matched with a free business mentor on SCORE.org if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur.
- Join a virtual mentorship group on social media, such as this one available through Facebook.
- Ask someone in your workplace, whose expertise you value and whose guidance you trust.
Commit to a Daily Fitness Program
Another prong of self-investment is physical health—if you want to take on your wildest ambitions, then you need endurance and energy, it’s that simple. So make a point to exercise daily, even if all you can spare is a 30-minute workout video.
The benefits of a habitual fitness regimen are more than physical. In fact, researchers at Yale and Oxford Universities found that people with active lifestyles suffer less bouts of depression, anxiety, chronic stress or emotional imbalance, and are just as content with their lives as those who earn an extra $25,000 annually but do not exercise a regular basis. So lace those sneakers, unroll the yoga mat, bust out some HIIT…whatever it takes to move that body.
Make Time for a Creative Pursuit
Creative expression is that rare but essential blend of soothing and stimulating, which quite literally activates functions of the brain that might otherwise remain untapped. According to a study from the American Journal of Public Health, unleashing creativity can act as a sort of therapeutic intervention to enhance self-esteem and help you discover solutions from unique, resourceful angles.
There are many creative outlets to pursue and experiment with—from cooking a new recipe to freestyle dancing in front of the mirror—but check out all the benefits that creativity has to offer:
- Playing or listening to music helps calm the brain’s neural activity to reduce anxious thoughts.
- Creating visual artwork (such as drawings or paintings) helps alleviate intense, painful emotions.
- Writing and journaling helps process difficult circumstances to improve mental health outcomes.
- Exploring movement-based creativity (such as dancing) helps increase self-awareness, relieve stress and nurture a positive body image.
Allow Yourself to Intentionally Rest
At The SunDaze Journey, we devote much of our platform to talking about why it’s not sustainable to ignore the basics of rest and self-care (we even took to the airwaves to record a podcast episode on the dangers of hustle culture). And that’s because, despite what society tells us, humans are not wired to be “on” at all hours.
If you grind to the point of exhaustion—or worse, burnout—you will not be at your sharpest and most productive. You’ll be irritable and unfocused. You’ll lack motivation and enthusiasm. Your work performance will not reflect what you’re capable of. In other words, the constant hustle does not equal success…nor does rest equal laziness. It’s an essential investment.
What are you doing in this current season to invest in yourself more often? Have you tried some of the ideas on our list, or do you have another form of self-investment to share? We want to hear your thoughts, so help us continue this discussion in the comment section below!