At the beginning of this year, I decided that I was going to make it a year when I made myself a priority. Over the past few years, I’ve lost myself in pursuit of being the best wife, mom, employee, student, friend, daughter, sister, etc. that I can be. It was by no fault of the people in my life, I only have myself to blame. I’d put my own care on the back burner and ended up in a rut that I felt like I couldn’t get out of. I’ve done a lot to invest in myself this year and to be the best me that I can be. It probably comes as no surprise that as I’ve become a better version of myself, I'm better in the other roles that I fill in my life as well.
If you are not investing time and money in yourself, I want to encourage you to change that right now! You are more than worth the investment and deserve to feel good about yourself and to be happy with where you are in your life. I’m still constantly working on being a better version of myself and I don’t expect that to ever change. There is always something to improve on, but I can honestly say that I’m happy about where I am and who I am as I head into my 30’s. I plan to continue to invest in myself and consequently, I plan to thrive in my 30’s!
I’ve invested in my image
When I started this year, I feel like the biggest thing I wanted to do was change who I saw in the mirror. I didn’t like the way my clothes fit or that I wasn’t taking the time to style my hair. These are all surface level changes, and I would tell you that the other investments I’ve made have had a bigger impact, but investing in things that make me look and feel good have been just as important, because I know I’m worth it!
This year I have purchased clothes that fit me, styles that I feel good in and colors that I know look good on me. I spent time going through each item in my closet and in Emily Gilmore style, asked myself if it brought me joy when I wore it. I’m going to admit to you that I had to purge my wardrobe a few times before I finally looked at it and knew that no matter what I put on in the morning, I’d be happy with my choice the first time and not wonder why I still owned those items.
I’ve invested money in purchasing some staple jewelry pieces that add to the outfits I wear on a daily basis and a few statement pieces that I love to pair with neutral outfits. I make a point to get my hair done on a regular basis, which is an investment that I know a lot of people have a hard time making because of the cost. Because I know how much better I feel when I keep my hair color and cut fresh, we’ve accounted for it in the budget four or five times a year. I also invest in the products that I use in my hair, as I shared in this post earlier this year. In addition to hair care, I decided to spend money on good skin care and makeup this year as well. It’s crazy how amazing the perfect foundation can make you feel, and that you don’t mind the higher price tag when you look at the benefits.
I’ve invested in my physical health
When I thought about where I wanted to be as I headed into my 30’s this year, I looked back on the version of myself that I felt was the happiest and most content with life and that version of myself was also in the best physical shape of my life. Amberly of 2010 walked three miles every morning and went for a two mile run almost every night. I knew that shooting for weighing and looking the same as that version of myself was a lofty goal because I’m almost 10 years older now, I’ve had two babies and my body has changed a lot. But I decided that trying to be as invested in my physical health as I was then was a good goal to set.
This year I have invested time into working out and being more active on a daily basis. I have gone from averaging 5,000 steps a day to having no problem hitting 10,000 steps in a day, even if I haven’t worked out. I’m purchasing a higher quality, cuter activity tracker to help achieve my physical activity goals. I started tracking macros and focusing on eating to fuel my body rather than just making sure everything I ate was low carb. Eating this way has surprised me because I’m eating more calories than I ever have when I was tracking but I’m seeing a change in my body composition, the way my clothes fit, my energy level and how I feel overall. I eat really similar to how I ate when I had gestational diabetes but I know better how to balance everything to feed my body the way it needs.
The splurge that I have made for my physical health this year is to get regular massages. I frequently get tension migraines because of how I hold my stress and those headaches make it hard for me to function and enjoy life to the fullest. There are other changes I’ve made that have relieved stress in my life and helped me not to have so much tension, but those massages make a big difference as well. I feel less “old” when my muscles are relaxed and my body is able to move a little better without recovery time after I’ve been sitting or standing for too long.
I’ve invested in my mental health
When I decided to invest in my mental health, I was surprised by how big of a difference it had in my life. Purchasing clothes that I love and taking care of myself physically have been great, but I credit the majority of the change that I’ve made this year to my mental health. I’m going to talk a little bit more about this in a blog post next week, but I will tell you that doing things for your mental health is so worth it!
This year I quit a job that was draining all of my mental energy, which meant a pay cut and losing our benefits so it was a big financial decision for us to make. A few months later, I found a job in a field that I love and I go to work now for the difference I make in other people’s lives and how much I love it, not for the money. I decided to see a doctor about some physical things I was concerned about and that led to my anxiety diagnosis. Every month I spend money on medication that has made such a huge difference in my life. And later this year, I plan to start therapy and invest that time and money into really working through things and getting myself to an even better place.
I’ve invested in my hobbies
I used to tell people that I wish I had time to read for fun and that I wish I had more time to do the things that I loved. Then I realized that I do have the time, I just have to make it. So I started scheduling a little bit of time in each day to do the things that I love.
This year I’ve given myself more time to sing. I sing in the car, along to a few mix CDs that I made with all of my favorite showtunes songs from my music library. I used to get a lot of car singing time when I was commuting to and from the office three times a week. Now I take advantage of any time I have in the car alone, even if I only get to sing a song or two. At least once a week, I sit down at the piano and sing from the binder of music that I put together for myself earlier this year. Most often I get 10 minutes of the piano to myself before the kids are done listening and want to play too, but sometimes I have kid free time and spend up to half an hour singing.
This year I’ve committed to reading more and reading fiction books I love in addition to the non-fiction that I’ve discovered a fondness for the last few years. When I was in high school, I could read a stack of books from the library each week and return them to get more. Now I consider it really lucky if I can get through one or more in a month. I’ve enjoyed books like ‘To All the Boys I Loved Before’ and The Baxter Family Series by Karen Kingsbury. I’ve also been reading some parenting and marriage books. Ideally, I’d read at least one chapter every single week, and that’s a goal that I’m still shooting for but usually I find myself binge reading for a couple of hours or not picking my book up for weeks. My bookworm heart has been so happy that I’m indulging it again though.
This year I’ve spent more time blogging. I really love brainstorming ideas, creating content, and interacting with all of you. This site and my local date night idea website are two things that I’m really passionate about and that I enjoy putting time into.
I’ve invested in my career
When I quit my full time job earlier this year, I didn’t think that I would be jumping back into a job just a couple months later. Just a week after I quit, I went to a conference put on by the state council on family relations, to learn what is new in the field. While there, I told one of my professors that if the profession that I have now was ever posted, it was a job that I’d love to have. Three weeks later that same professor shared a job posting in our department alumni Facebook group and I knew I had to apply. I love having a schedule that allows me to stay home with my kiddos and teach while they’re napping just a few times a week. I love working toward becoming a fully certified family life educator. I love everything that the curriculum I teach does for families in the community, and how it has impacted my habits at home.
This year I’ve also invested more in my blogging and expanding my reach in a subject that I’m extremely passionate about. I went to a blog conferences, I’ve reached out to other bloggers and companies to collaborate and share their incredible message, and I’ve invested in a professional photographer to help create the visuals that works well alongside the content that I write.
My first priority is my family and home life, but I still find time to grow in the areas I love and as an individual. There are so many little things I do on a daily basis now to invest in myself. I surround myself with sights, sounds and smells that make me happy by purchasing new candles for my warmer, listening to my favorite music throughout the day and buying things to decorate our home in a way that I know I’ll love.
If you aren’t investing in yourself the way that you’d like, change that! Find a way to make the things that you want to be doing happen. Be the best version of yourself so that you can be the best wife, mom, etc. that you need to be.
Photography by Sadie Banks Photography