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'The First Wealth is Health' - What Will be the Return on Your Investment?

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

The first wealth is health
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

How much are you investing in your health?

Do you pay the same attention to your physical and mental health as you do your financial health?

Will you be able to enjoy the results of financial investment in the future if you have not invested in your physical or mental health?

What will be the return on your investment?

Looking after your physical and mental health takes time and effort. It doesn’t ‘just happen’ you have to be conscious about your behaviour and you have to prioritise time, effort and energy into looking after yourself.

In the same way that we consciously make decisions to spend or save money that impacts on our future wealth, we make the same decisions daily that impact our future health.

It is easy to slip into habits and behaviours that don’t contribute to your health in a positive way. I am sure as you read this you could probably name two or three things that you do that don’t help contribute to your physical or mental health in a positive way.

Whilst there are some things that are not within our control we can be focused on doing what we can to keep ourselves in good physical and mental health. They are interdependent, and whilst there will be illnesses we cannot influence or prevent, we should certainly take responsibility for those that we can.

Steps for change do not have to be life-changing, however, the impact of them can be.

You don’t have to wait until a #StartMonday – you can start today!

Step 1 - Identify the behaviours that do not have a positive influence on your physical or mental wellbeing

Step 2 - Identify what behaviours you would like to replace them with

Step 3 - Identify the first small changes that you can take that will take you from the old behaviours to the new behaviours.

Keep them small, keep them simple. Think 1%.

Changing behaviours requires conscious and consistent effort.

Here are a few suggestions of habits you can introduce to help your physical and mental health.

Take Responsibility

It is your responsibility to look after yourself. You need to determine what action you need to take.

You are responsible for what you eat, drink and how active you are.

Decide what you want to make a priority, and commit to it.


Food is fuel. If we do not fuel ourselves correctly then we will not run in an optimal way. Eat good food on a regular basis.

Keep meals regular, not big meals with large periods of time in between.

Make sure that your meals are balanced with different types of food and a variety of nutrients. Beige food is not your friend.

Ultimately you want to eat foods that will give you energy for a sustained period of time rather than a quick release of energy, spiking your insulin levels and then resulting in an energy slump afterwards. That’s not to say that you should be avoiding carbohydrates just that you want to keep them in balance with the other foods.


How much water you drink can impact you both physically and mentally. If you are dehydrated you won’t just feel the impact physically you will have less focus and reduced concentration levels. Don’t gulp it down, drink regularly throughout the day so it is a continual intake of fluid. Aim for 2-3 litres.1 litre by 10am, 2pm, 6pm and 10pm. More if you are active or if the weather is warm.

Meal/screen breaks – take them!

Employment laws entitle you to breaks. Do you take what you are entitled to?

Many people have got into the routine of sitting and eating at their desks and not taking the lunch break they are entitled to. This is not doing you any favours and will impact your overall productivity.

Gym, Walk, stretch, phone a friend

Physically take yourself away from your desk and work area. Go for a walk, if you have time go to the gym, phone a friend and talk about something not work-related to give your head a break and put you into a different headspace.

How many meetings do you have that you hold in a small space meeting room that could be held by walking and talking?

Does it have to be a video call or can it be a phone call so that you can both walk and talk?

There is increasing research that suggests people think more clearly when walking and that it can reduce stress, particularly for those more difficult conversations. Walking has many positive health impacts both physical and mental so why not use this as a reason to escape the office for a while?

What investment could you start to make today that will increase your health for the future?


If you would like to learn more about how you can look after yourself, why not check out our range of products and services on the website

If you need more one2one support then why not book in a clarity call to see how Phoenix coaching can support you.

First published May 2018

Updated and republished April 2020 & April 2021

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