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We have all read an article about investing in yourself. Most of the time it’s focused on how to invest in yourself to better your career and as important as that is, there are many other aspects to investing in yourself that should be included.

Health

Our health is absolutely one of the most crucial parts for living a good life. We have all heard the saying that once your health goes, nothing else matters and that’s very true. I know many of us and especially moms and working moms, don’t have a minute to spare. However, by forcing to make time to exercise it’s not just about the health benefits, it’s about the mental and emotional benefits as well.

The beauty about the world we live in today is we have so many options to choose from to follow an exercise program that works with our personality and our schedule. If you are really strapped for time, then a 15-minute, high intensity interval training session like the ones that Bodyrock.tv or ZuzkaLight.com offer are perfect. Before I started my fertility treatments, I was doing these workouts on a regular basis. I would devote three to four days a week, because I could feasibly take fifteen minutes and get an incredible workout.

If yoga or pilates is more your thing, I realize this will be a bigger commitment. Currently, I do yoga twice a week, once during the week and once on the weekend. I would like to do it more, but I have to take it easy while we are actively trying with all the fertility hormones and treatments. I am not a mom yet, but my schedule is still pretty hectic. When I do yoga during the week, then I don’t cook dinner, I usually have leftovers or I order in for time management reasons. I know that some people don’t think consuming leftovers or ordering in is healthy, however I disagree. There are always things on the menu of a restaurant that you can make healthy. Ask for sauce on the side or steamed vegetables instead of sauteed, the restaurant will cater to your needs. I always heat my leftovers on the stove top or in the oven, I never ever use the microwave, not for leftovers or anything for that matter. Microwaves are bad in general for your health, but in relation to food, it manipulates your food in a way that is not good for the benefits of their nutrients. To learn more about why you shouldn’t microwave your food, read this.

So part of investing in your whole self starts with your health. You will always have work opportunities, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, you will not always have your health.

Grooming

Next on the list of investing in yourself is grooming, (this goes for you too men!) Twice a month I get my nails done. For me that’s plenty as I take very good care of them in between appointments, but it’s also a time management reason as well. Sometimes I will get a manicure twice a month and a pedicure only once a month, primarily in the winter and the way to get away with that is by scrubbing your feet once a week in the shower. I like using Eco Tool’s Bamboo Brush and Foot Pumice, which I purchase at Whole Foods. Squeeze your favorite paraben-free shower gel, like Desert Essence’s Coconut Body Wash, on it and you’re good to go!

If you’re going to use regular nail polish you will probably have to get your nails done once a week, because unfortunately regular nail polish does not last very long. If you choose to use the new gel polishes that don’t need a UV lamp, then your manicure may last a good two weeks. I’ve heard great things about Deborah Lippman’s Gel Lab.

I will admit that my manicures are shellac done with the UV lamp. I know what you’re going to say, but this is my only vice (or at least I’d like to think so). I can actually go three weeks without having to get a manicure and I love that, because it really saves on time. I consistently use lotion, cut my cuticles and file my nails so I can extend the time. For my pedicures I just stick to regular polish.

For the men out there, you certainly don’t have to go a couple of times a month, you could actually get away with once every couple of months, but you must keep your hands and feet in check. All you need to do is a basic manicure and pedicure with a buff at the end.

As far as hair goes, regular maintenance is key here as well. I actually get my hair done five times a year as a maximum. Two of those appointments are just to quickly cover any greys and a quick trim. The other three times are for the full cut and color. The reason for my sporadic appointments are from seeing my mom dye her hair every three weeks, which may have contributed to her getting cancer. I know they changed the formulas of store-bought hair dye in 1980, but I still have my suspicions. I do believe that the salon grade products are better, but even then I’m wary. So I tend to do just highlights so the dye is not sitting on my head for long periods of time. You can read more about the link between hair dye and cancer here. There’s no conclusive evidence of a confirmed link, but keep in mind there’s more than 5000 chemicals used in hair dyes, many which are carcinogenic.

Bottom line is, you need to invest in grooming yourself so that you are looking presentable on a regular basis. I feel it’s also just part of personal hygiene too.

Wardrobe

I wish I had all the money in the world to spend on keeping my wardrobe up-to-date, but I don’t. So the next best thing is to check in and see what you need each season. I tend to buy one or two (if I’m lucky) pieces from stores like Anthropologie and the rest is mainly from H&M or similar-type stores.

I think one of the best wardrobe essentials guide comes from the one and only Tim Gunn. Here is his list of must-haves:

  1. Trench Coat
  2. Basic Black Dress
  3. Day Dress
  4. Skirt
  5. Black Dress Pant
  6. Great fitting pair of jeans
  7. Crisp White Shirt
  8. Cashmere Sweater
  9. Shoes (a pair of stilettos, pumps and flats)
  10. Sweatsuit Alternative

This is a list anyone can easily work with, add to or make sure it fits each season. For example, in the winter you’re not going to buy a trench coat, rather it will be a wool coat. Eventually you will have a few items from each category and before you know it, you’ll have a great wardrobe. You can also easily manipulate this list for an everyday wardrobe that’s not necessarily for work. To learn more about Tim Gunn’s essentials, click here.

Learning

Now I wasn’t going to end my post without talking about the importance of learning new or perfecting existing skills. I think one of the most important things you can do to continually increase your vocabulary, perfect your writing and polish your speaking skills is read. It could be fiction, it could be the latest business book, no matter what you read you are working on stimulating your mind, which is just like exercising the body. To learn more about the benefits of reading click here.

There are also fantastic web-based courses from Lynda.com, Codeacademy.com, and Treehouse.com. In order to stay competitive in today’s world you have to keep up-to-date with the latest in marketing or social media, or just acquire skills that are now standard, such as photoshop or coding.

When I think about investing in yourself, for me it doesn’t matter if you’re a working professional or a mom, it’s important that you’re taking care of yourself inside and out, that you feel good about yourself and that you’re always learning and evolving.

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