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Investing Your Time Wisely

By Cindy Garrard

The air was thick with humidity, and the smell of chlorine hung low and heavy at Auburn University’s Aquatics Center. It was 1998; I was twenty years old and teaching water aerobics to local senior citizens. My unhealthiest student, who was always off to the side by herself, asked to speak with me after class. She said to me, “Cindy, please always take care of yourself. I spent my whole life taking care of everyone else. That is why I ended up this way.” As I looked into her eyes, she was tearing up, and I knew she truly wanted my life to be different from hers. I thanked her. Even though I wanted to jump into the pool and hold her and let her cry on my shoulder, I didn’t (a college sophomore is young enough to feel uncomfortable about holding someone in a situation like this but old enough to know when someone is sharing a life lesson). How do we look back at our lives and see that we spent our time wisely? We must start by investing time in ourselves.

The word investment originated from the Latin word investio, meaning to cover or clothe. One dictionary defines investment as spending money, time, or energy on something, especially for some benefit or purpose.

We are going to focus on spending time on taking care of yourself for the benefit of a more fulfilling life. The components of investing time in your health fall into three categories: mental, spiritual, and physical.

Mental health is usually discussed as a matter concerning your overall quality of life. In our society, we follow the creed of “more is better”—we try to make more money, achieve more, and do more. We must first be mindful that more is not always better for our health. Mentally, we pay dearly for this attitude toward life. We are so focused on how to have more that we sacrifice the things we hold dear. We must take time to reflect on how to be more grateful for what we currently have. One method is to spend time journaling or at least thinking of all the things that you are thankful for in your life. If you change your mind-set, what you already have can become enough for you. Another way to slow down and reflect on good mental health is to spend time learning to meditate. Meditation is one way to relieve yourself from the demands of right now and start reflecting on the goodness within you. This goodness allows you to value yourself and learn that investing in yourself is crucial for strong mental health.

How do we look back at our lives and see that we spent our time wisely? We must start by investing time in ourselves.

You’ll find spiritual health when you allow time for goodness to seep in throughout your day. Everyone’s road to spiritual health is long and winding. Some people rely on their faith to keep them centered. They practice activities such as attending church, finding fellowship among others of the same faith. This time spent with a focus on growth leads to purposeful living. But spiritual health is not all about religion. Some people like to listen to podcasts for self-improvement. Another tip is to surround yourself with positive people; attitudes can not only change your day but can also change your life. Investing time in activities and people that fill your soul with love will improve the person you become.

Physical health helps you live a longer and more meaningful life. You might need to do yoga seven days a week, or maybe you walk thirty minutes a day. Any activity is a positive thing when it comes to physical improvement. When we exercise, our bodies grow stronger and our minds grow clearer. You will need to find which physical activity works best for you, what you enjoy most, and how much time you can devote to your fitness regime. A large fitness group energizes some people, while some prefer to be alone or work out in their homes. Others might get their exercise from outdoor sports and activities. When you take care of your body, you feel better about yourself. Confidence is something that others can see, and it gives you the ability to share that positive energy with people around you.

We can leave the world with a positive impact by just taking the moments we have and being mindful of how we use them. It’s best to live with little regret. When you take time to invest in yourself, you give yourself permission to live life to the fullest. You also learn how to jump into the pool with arms wide open and embrace others with love and positivity.

— V —

Cindy Garrard works as a freelance journalist and is the vice president of residential lending at Hancock Whitney Bank in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and enjoys sharing her life stories and successes with others. Garrard lives in Sandestin, Florida, with her two daughters, her husband, and their dog, Bella Bear.

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