7 Ways to Invest In Yourself and Why It Matters

7 Ways to Invest in Yourself as a Military Spouse

This month's MilSO Box theme is "MilSO Strong." It's one of my favorites because as military spouses we are required to be strong in so many different areas of our lives.

We need to be strong mentally, emotionally, and physically to meet the demands of this life. One of the best ways to build strength and resiliency is taking time to invest in yourself. Investing in ourselves is an act of self love. We must love ourselves before we can expect others to love us.

Taking the time to care for yourself sends an important message to the people in your life: In order to build strength and resiliency, I need to take time for myself to grow and learn.

It's not always easy to take time out for ourselves, but when we do, it's so worth it.

7 Ways to Invest in Yourself:

1. Set Goals. Learn to set personal and professional goals. Make them small at first and actionable. I recently set the goal of running a 10k this fall. My first step in accomplishing this goal was to register for the race. A very effective component to successfully setting goals is having an accountability partner. Be sure and share your goals with someone close to you and have them check in with you to keep you on track.

2. Set Boundaries. Boundaries are essential to a healthy life. Setting boundaries and keeping them is a skill. It's important to know and understand what your boundaries are. To effectively set boundaries identify your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual limits. There are usually two emotions that are indicators of when boundaries are being crossed; they are discomfort and resentment.

As spouses, we often take on too much, saying "yes" to everyone.

We feel we don't have the right to say "No."

It's important to remember that you can't and don't have to be strong for everyone all the time. There IS strength in advocating for yourself.

Self-care is recognizing the importance of your feelings and addressing them.

3. Make Physical Health a Priority. This one is challenging for everyone, but it's vital. MilSO Shelly Nicholas works to prioritize her physical health. "I believe that in order to be the best wife, friend, co-worker, or teammate, you need to take care of yourself first so you feel happy and healthy," says Shelly. "I am always my kindest and most productive when I'm well rested, well fed, and have worked out. My tip for taking care of yourself is to stick to the basics: get enough sleep, drink lots of water, be active throughout the day, and eat healthy, whole foods (and ice cream... and chicken nuggets... and cake... when needed)."

Shelly developed the small business, Pretty Knotty LLC. Shelly grew up playing soccer, lacrosse, and ice hockey. Her hair was curly and unruly and regular hair ties wouldn't cut it. She created hair ties for today's active females. Shelly's hair ties were featured in this month's MilSO Box. You can check them out here.

4. Write a bucket list! It doesn't have to long! Make it things you want to do in the short term. I have a few on my list before the end of the summer. One of the things on my list was to adopt a kitty! I just did, and I couldn't be happier. If you can't think of any off the top of your head, check out this list that was found in the dressing room of an Urban Outfitters.

5. Challenge your mind. A great way to reduce stress is learning. I find reading and listening to podcasts a great way to do this. I'm constantly listening to podcasts like, Invisibilia, Hidden Brain or Ted Talk Radio Hour. All three of these podcasts are inspiring and cover topics related to improving your life.

Veteran Business Owner, Keith Taylor, values education as well. "What I would like to pass on to people is to take full advantage of any educational opportunities you have, and find your happiness with the one that makes you happiest." Keith retired from the Navy in 2008, used the GI bill to get a degree and in 2015 started a business with is wife. Kre8iv Gifts LLC. provided the "MilSO Strong" Gym Bag for this month's MilSO Box. You can check out more of their products here.

6. Check in emotionally. Along with healthy eating, this is one of the hardest things for me to do. Everyday life is so chaotic, it's hard to slow down and check in with yourself. Recently, I've started paying attention to what I'm feeling and honoring that feeling in the moment. A great way to do this is journaling. I carry a notebook with my everywhere and write down thoughts throughout the day.

7. Physically write down a list. When I started investing in myself I thought the process had to be long, or that I had to pick something large to do for myself. I was wrong! I soon learned that investing in yourself can be as simple as painting your nails, going shopping, calling a friend etc. If you're having a hard time finding some simple ideas go here. There are over 100!

My favorite is number 50 - share a dorky picture of yourself from middle school. That one will make someone laugh for sure!

Growing strength and resiliency takes time and work, but it's made easier if we stop and find ways to care for ourselves.

Signing up to receive a MilSO Box each month is a great way to invest in yourself. This month it included all items related to getting physically fit as a military man's significant other. It's time to invest in ourselves...

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