12 Ways to Invest in Your Health
Spending a bit more time or money on mental, physical, and emotional health can lead to a happier, healthier life. If one of your 2024 goals is to invest in your health, here are 12 ways you can do it.
Your mental health is key to your overall health. According to the CDC, mental health impacts how we think, feel, and act, making it an incredibly important investment. It’s the key driver in how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
Go to Therapy
Talk therapy is proven to improve emotional and psychological well-being. At $100 to $200 per session, on average, it’s a more expensive investment in comparison to others in this list. That said, it’s one of the best investments you can make for your health.
Use Psychology Today to find a therapist in your area that accepts your insurance. If you don’t have health insurance, look for a practitioner with a sliding scale fee option. Sliding scale fee structures base the rate you pay on your income, rather than an insurance premium.
Find a Hobby You Can’t Monetize
Engaging in leisure activities can lower cortisol levels, improve mood, and keep your blood pressure regulated. However, in our go-getter society, it’s easy to turn a fun, leisurely activity into a money-making endeavor that’s ultimately overwhelming.
While it’s okay to have a hobby you want to monetize, it’s important to engage in activities that are purely for fun, too. Consider a hobby you can’t monetize like reading, hiking, or dancing. If you select a hobby that can generate some side cash, make sure to set boundaries.
Limit Screen Time if You Tend to Go Overboard
Screen time can be used as a tactic for emotional numbing, or using a form of stimulation to avoid experiencing uncomfortable emotions. While a quick scroll on TikTok isn’t always a bad thing, it can be if you’re using it as an avoidance technique.
If you struggle with managing your screen time, take the time to set up screen time limits on your phone. If you have an iPhone, simply search “Screen Time” in the Settings search bar. Navigate to the Screen Time section, and set up Downtime or App Limits.
Downtime allows you to select a specific period of time during the day to block access to your apps. For example, I set up Downtime between 8 PM and 9 AM. This encourages me to not use my phone right before bed or right when I wake up.
App Limits allows you to select specific time limits for individual apps. For example, I have a 2 hour limit on social media apps per day. Given that I use social media apps for work, this is fairly low and encourages me to log in, do what I need to do, and log out, rather than aimlessly scrolling.
Investing in your physical health leads to fewer sick days and fewer trips to the doctor — both of which impact your financial health. So, while an upfront investment, spending a bit more on your physical health can lead to tangible financial rewards.
Pop culture has pushed exercise as a way to get thinner, burn more calories, and look the best you ever have. Frankly, this perspective can suck the fun right out of movement.
Exercise is about far more than burning a couple calories. Movement has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, increase energy levels, promote better sleep, improve mood, and even improve your sex life.
If you don’t enjoy traditional forms of exercise, explore new ways to move your body. For example, if lifting weights isn’t your jam, give Zumba, spin, or hot yoga a try. You can use a workout class subscription like ClassPass, which allows you to attend a variety of fitness classes at different locations for a small subscription fee.
If it takes a few tries to find the form of movement you enjoy best, don’t worry — it can take time to see what feels best for you and your body.
Make Better Food Choices
What goes into your body is crucial in supporting your overall health. After all, the nutrients we consume support bodily functions like breathing, digestion, keeping our temperature regulated, repairing the body, and sleep.
A mindset shift I’ve found valuable in making better food choices is to focus on what you can add, not what you can take away. For example, if you love grabbing pizza from the local restaurant, cool — what can you add to make it more nutrient-dense? Adding vegetables on top allows you to still enjoy the pizza you love while supporting your body with more nutrients.
Invest in Higher Quality Supplements
Investing in high-quality supplements can help give your body the nutrients it needs that you aren’t getting from food. But be careful about which supplements you take — they aren’t all made equal.
For example, tablet supplements often contain binders and fillers that can impact the breakdown and absorption of the active ingredients once consumed. Look for high-quality supplement brands like Snap Supplements that contain simple, natural ingredients and no unnecessary fillers.
Proper sleep supports several important bodily functions, such as:
- Hormone production and regulation
- Heart functioning
If you struggle to get enough sleep, consider investing in items that support quality sleep, such as blackout curtains or an eye mask. Light exposure lessens the production of melatonin in the body, the hormone driving quality sleep.
Our emotional health is the determining factor in our ability to cope with both positive and negative emotions. Implementing a few simple practices into your routine can have a major change in your emotional health.
Start Gratitude Journaling
Human brains are malleable, allowing you to “reprogram” your brain with consistent, beneficial habits. Taking a few minutes each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for can “reprogram” your brain to pay closer attention to the positives in life, as opposed to the negatives. The best part? Gratitude journaling is completely free; your only investment is your time.
75% of Americans don’t drink enough water. Now, we’ve all heard the advice to drink more water, but did you know that water impacts:
- Brain function
- Happiness levels
- Emotional dysregulation
- Symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Our risk of dementia
Yikes! Daily, women should consume 11.5 cups of water, and men should consume around 15.5 cups. If this sounds intense, invest in a larger water bottle that you won’t need to fill up several times throughout the day. My personal favorite is a half-gallon water bottle with timestamps to keep me on track throughout the day.
Invest in Community
Humans aren’t meant to navigate life alone. Investing in your sense of community is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make. Here are a few examples:
- Joining a $200 intramural volleyball league to meet new people in your city
- Paying $20 per month to participate in your apartment’s book club
- Spending $35 every week to host a group of people to watch your favorite TV show together
While these expenses may seem unnecessary, they build your sense of community, and that is invaluable.
Get a Pet for Companionship
Pet ownership reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. While pets are certainly a financial commitment you should think through carefully, they can be a valuable asset in improving your overall emotional health.
Visit a Financial Therapist
Financial therapists tie in traditional therapy practices with financial advice to help clients manage financial stress. If your finances have felt overwhelming, you may benefit from ongoing sessions to receive more targeted support.
You can find a financial therapist via the Financial Therapy Association Directory.