Do you need money to be healthy?

3 years ago

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Not having enough money or the need for financial independence is the fuel that drives most human action – from education, to career choices and sometimes even the partners we choose. At some point in life, it is common to be urged to invest so that you can reap the rewards – that financial independence that you have been yearning for that will make your dreams of owning a home, early retirement etc. come true. Interestingly, within seconds an internet search on the word investment will generate thousands of responses most of which have to do with financial investment. One will most likely have to refine the search to arrive at a definition of investment that is more general.

While financial independence and or freedom is desirable, hence financial investments that help in achieving said goals are to be pursued, an investment in one’s health will indisputably be more beneficial. The claim may be made that to make such an investment one needs money, but money is not even a major part of a healthy investment. Currently, in the quest for financial independence, many persons ignore their health and ironically end up spending what they have worked for on their health sooner or later. A healthy investment/ investment in your health could be equally or even more rewarding than a financial investment and may even contribute significantly to your financial freedom.

Investing in your health does not require gym membership, a personal trainer, the latest fitness gadgets, branded gym wear or subscriptions to fitness programmes. (although if you can afford them and you do utilize them it does not hurt). What is required is the dedication and determination to do right by yourself. Invest your time and effort into exercising, eating right, getting enough rest, and guarding your mental health. Each time you tell yourself that you do not have time to exercise you are telling yourself that you are not worth investing in. Your job, your family, your studies, your relationship in which you invest all your time and effort will not give you the returns of taking 30 minutes out of your day to do some form of exercise.

Thirty minutes of exercise per day could be the difference in you expending on recurring and increasing medical bills due to illness brought on by your lifestyle. And we have not mentioned the pain and discomfort, the toll on your mental health, the distress to your friends and family and ironically the multiple thirty minutes of down time that may result from your ill health. It is never too late to start; the internet is replete with stories of persons who started late but who reaped big returns on the investments in their health.

Contrary to popular belief a healthy diet is not a big financial investment; it is more an investment of effort. The convenience of fast food and comfort foods has contributed significantly to obesity and other health problems. They are costly to your health and the financial costs in the short- and long-term flag them as bad investments. You do not need to subscribe to fancy diet plans; if you are diligent in your research you will find that many low cost, easily available and easily prepared foods are great for a balanced diet. Water remains the cheapest drink for most people in most parts of the world, yet it is often overlooked for sugary drinks which are bad for your health and your pocket.

Equally important investments are rest and guarding your mental health. As cliché as it may sound, if you do not find time to rest, your body will take its own rest. If you have learnt nothing from the pandemic, recognize that the world did not stop turning nor did it turn any slower when so many persons had to pause and limit their actions. Thousands have died, some of whom families and companies could not imagine surviving without, yet they are still surviving. You are not indispensable. Taking time to rest will prolong and perhaps intensify your contribution to your family and your company. And more importantly, you will see high yields on your overall wellbeing.  Safeguarding your mental health is very important. Do not waste the investment of your time focusing on negativity, situations you have no control over or being bothered by what others have to say. Be deliberate in your response;  accept the things you cannot change, change those you can and change your response to others. You really do not need an investment analyst to guide your investment in your health; all you need to do is live the words of Desiderata, “Go placidly amid the noise and haste …”  

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