Having lunch with my mommy friends is always an enjoyable experience. One mom talks about her experience taking her son to his college entrance exams. Another tells us the never-ending saga of her daughter’s on and off relationship with her boyfriend. And still another talks about her sometimes wacky adventures at her new job. In between bites of takoyaki and tempura, we have a lot of laughs, interspersed with little bits of mommy wisdom.

Listening to my friends, I noticed how fervent they are about taking care of their sons and daughters, husbands and partners, mothers and fathers, family and friends, colleagues and co-workers. As mothers, we are genetically wired to be nurturers, to enhance the lives of those around us. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. Caught up in the hundred and one things on our to-do lists, penciling in some time for ourselves is oftentimes a luxury, if not a purely accidental treat.

Of course, spending your energy to take care of your family and your professional career is all well and good. However, I hope you also spend some time investing in yourself. After all, you are your best asset. If you don’t invest in yourself, nobody else will.

Invest in your mind

I am a great believer in continuous education. In fact, that’s the very foundation of AHEAD Tutorial & Review Center.

Education starts by being open to new thoughts and ideas and by being a keen observer of the world around us. Reading is one way of feeding our minds with some brain candy. I myself am a voracious reader of all sorts of stuff. I love surfing the Internet to find out about new trends in online learning and new techniques in teaching age-old subjects. It is through the Internet that I discovered new developments in adaptive learning that we eventually offered in our centers.

Education also means learning from others. My staff would tell you that I love attending seminars and participating in workshops. I love sitting in a roomful of my colleagues, listening to an expert talk about Internet marketing or discussing the latest trends in primary education. Whenever I get an invitation to attend a conference here or abroad, I arrange my schedule so that I could attend the most important ones. That’s because I don’t want to miss out on anything that’s happening in our industry.

Of course, my education would not be complete if I don’t share what I’ve learned. Whenever I get back from a conference, I give a briefing to my staff of the event’s important highlights. I also love forwarding articles to my friends and colleagues. I don’t care if they think it’s just spam. If I believe that they’ll get something from it, then I don’t have any qualms of clicking forward.

Invest in your body

Of course, where would a healthy mind be without a healthy body, right? And this has been quite a challenge for me. I used to have a 36-22-36 figure, but now it’s 42-32-42. I’ve started dieting 36 times, but they all turned out to be one-day diets. I know so much about dieting not that I can probably write a book about it. However, there is a difference between knowing and doing.

Still, I believe that nothing beats getting the right balance of nutrition, physical activity, and rest to keep one healthy. So last summer, I enlisted my family in a fitness program with the help of a trainer. He devised a scheme that had us taking walks, playing soccer, and doing aerobics. It was exhilarating, but eventually, my work schedule overtook everything else. I tried doing the treadmill again last week, but then I’d always get distracted and find myself sitting down and thinking about something else. After awhile, I’d remember what I was doing and get back on the treadmill.

For now, I take care of my body by making healthy eating choices, slowing down on work when needed, and making sure I get enough sleep. Every so often, I also reward my body by having soothing massages and prettifying pedicures. I also sometimes splurge on beautiful lingerie and lovely clothes. Mommies, part and parcel of taking care of our bodies is by loving the shape and size we have.

Invest in your spirit

For the next few days, I will be on vacation with my four children. It’s a much-needed break from my hectic schedule. For the past few weeks now, I’ve been hopping from one meeting to the next, one conference after another. These meetings are the lifeblood of our business, and I always look forward to them. It gives me such joy to discover new ways of helping out an organization with their educational and training needs. But after some time, these meetings can be very tiring. They’re not just physically demanding, they can be psychologically draining as well.

When I get this feeling of weariness, I know that it’s time to take a vacation. It’s time to take myself away from what I see and do and hear every day, and delight my senses with the thrill of the new. That’s when I start surfing the Internet for new places that my kids and I haven’t seen, so that I get excited by life once more. This vacation is such a treat as we are back in Korea, a country we came to love when we visited it a few months ago. I know that we would be able to discover more of its delights this time. And when I get back, I would be refreshed and ready to face new challenges at home and at work.