As a virtual assistant hustling work day in and day out, how much time and effort do you invest in yourself? If you’re like most VAs I know who’s too concerned about their output per hour, chances are you no longer leave any time to care for yourself. I would consider investing in one self as an important element of a VA career; only if you invest in yourself you will realize how much better things in your career would turn out. Just like caring for everything else like your client’s business or your family, you should not leave yourself out; the adage you give more if you have more is proverbial and truthful.

I knew a friend who I didn’t know was going through some marital issues but on the surface she remains calm and collected; she told me these words that stuck me forever: “I cannot not take care of myself, if I fall apart everything else around me will also fall apart”. She was referring to her business, her marriage, her family and community. That’s just how it is in not investing in yourself; and you don’t do this only at the time when you’re stressed out and just want to break free. In fact self-care is preventive care; it gets you ready for any stressful matters that may come along later on. Professional-wise, investing in your self gets you ahead of the pack and allows you to meet better work opportunities that are well worth your efforts.

Here are the ways I invest on myself and hopefully you can try them out too . . .

Taking a break. This is the simplest but often hard to do especially if you thrive on busyness. Go simple if you’re just beginning to do this for yourself. A short getting up from your chair to fix yourself a coffee can count as one. If you are like most people I know who enjoys decluttering, then that could work too. Taking a short break eases your stress pattern momentarily and gets your mind to something else. You’ll be surprised how recharged you’ll feel afterwards.

Spend “me time”. This may sound like a guilty pleasure but it actually isn’t. Spending me time is maximum recharge. Get yourself a massage, treat yourself for a stack of burger, go for a quick movie, have coffee with friends or just spend a day window shopping. When you give yourself a longer period of time to relax within a day or weeks, and do everything you enjoy, you are allowing the release of happy hormones in your body that makes you feel better.

Insure yourself. This may very well speak of an actual investment, for instance health insurance, accident or life insurance. Just because you work indoors doesn’t mean you are immune to any potential accidents or catching any disease or what not. If you happen to be temporarily debilitated or disabled and are not fit to work, an insurance protection will cover for the income that you’re supposed to have earned apart from any medical expenses that you have incurred. Meanwhile in the case of your demise, life insurance is a protection for your beneficiaries that depend on your income to sustain their living.

Spend time with your community. This may not apply to everyone, but spending time doing community work is so emotionally and spiritually enriching. You gain brighter and better perspective by meeting new people and sharing time to those who need care and attention. You come back home and to work more inspired and motivated to do more for others.

Learn something new. For others this could mean training for a new skill so they can up their market value. While there’s really nothing wrong with that, but this more likely speaks of learning something really new to you. It could be a budding interest to arts and crafts, or novel writing, or absolutely new skill. When you open yourself up to new learnings, creative juices flow naturally and you feel that sense of excitement that is probably absent when you do your usual work.

There is no rule on deciding what activities you can make to constitute a break in your daily routine. If there is any, it would probably be just finding the activity that takes your mind off your work. The idea is to break your mental stress pattern even for a short time before it builds up to a level that manifests in your body. Investing in your self does more than stress management; it’s a holistic approach to self-love too.