Health as an Investment Plan

I’ve been thinking a lot about health lately, what with hyper-focusing on calories and portion sizes and all the “stuff” one needs to pay attention to in order to lose weight. It’s also been on my mind due to the nightly walks I take with my dogs…time spent in the hope of longer good health for all of us as our bodies age (theirs faster than mine, of course).

I was also thinking about shares and stocks last week as I was purchasing shares in a local bookstore co-op, and looking at my finances in hopes of being able to invest more in the stock market soon. I’ve had a moratorium on investing for the last couple of years because our debt was just too high, but one of our bigger debts will be paid off in full next month, and while I’ll be rolling most of the money that no longer needs to go to that towards reducing other debts, I’d like to take a small portion and start investing more again. All with an eye toward retirement, of course. It’ll be quite awhile before I’m ready to retire, but I’d like to be at least somewhat comfortable when I do. My husband is eleven years older, so he’ll be retiring sooner, and it would be nice to have some extra money in the form of dividend income at that point as well, just to help take care of unexpected expenses and such. If you know me at all, I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’m a pretty conservative investor, which takes a bit more time than the high-risk sort of investing, but I haven’t lost anything yet either. Knock on wood…

In any case, I was feeling overwhelmed last week and trying to figure out how I could do more of the things I want to do by moving things around in my schedule, and also wondering why I don’t seem to have as much time for those things now as I used to, and while it’s partially due to social media (I spend entirely too much time just watching other people’s lives go by), it’s also partially because I’m spending more time on health-related activities. My first inclination was to try to figure out how to cut back on some of that so there would be more time for other things.

But from an investor’s point of view, that’s exactly the wrong way to look at it. Much like making smart monetary investments can be a boon for the bank account years down the road, investing time wisely in health-related pursuits can also pay off very nicely in the long run (we’ll all get sick/have issues as we age, but an overall healthy body will deal with those things more quickly & easily). I need to keep that perspective in focus, rather than focusing on how longer dog walks in the evenings or hours of food prep on the weekend or even just getting more sleep means less time for other things I’d like to do.

And I guess more than anything in light of my recent head-space, I need to acknowledge that I’m consciously choosing to make these things priorities. They aren’t being forced on me (though the dogs would have some serious things to say about cutting out their walks), they’re things I choose willingly as a long-term investment in health. And allowing them to cause me stress merely undermines that investment – stress is a killer, and distinctly unhealthy in most cases.

To that end, this week I’m going to seriously cut down on backlit screen-time outside of work hours. My corneas have been getting worse lately, so I need to do that anyways for health reasons (to avoid the sort of serious flare-up that had me on steroids when my eyes were watering 24 hours a day a couple years ago), but I think it will help me work out a better balance for other things as well, including writing (which I’ll do most of on my Alphasmart instead of my laptop, at least for this week).

Priorities change as we go through life, and at the moment, my main three need to be health, marriage maintenance, and work. Anything else I want to do (writing, crocheting, reading, etc) have to come after and fit in around those three things.

If I can hold on to that perspective, I think everything in my life will run a lot more smoothly. Or with less stress, anyways (healthier!).

Maybe I should put a buck in savings every time I do something healthy. Hmmm…

One comment on “Health as an Investment Plan

  1. Carol

    I’ve been doing the same thing lately – trying to figure out a way to cut back on the healthy stuff (which is so time consuming) to make more time for my writing. But you’re absolutely right, taking care of your health is an investment. And in the long run, none of us can afford to ignore it. Guess I’ll have to find something else to cut back on. Like (as you say) social media – it’s not even like I do a lot of interacting, I mostly lurk. 😉