Self-care is crucial for preventing burnout, negating stress, and helping you to refocus. Making time for fitness is an important part of taking care of yourself, but sometimes, it just feels like more work.
How can you manage self-care and fitness to live a more balanced life? Here are some great tips for getting started.
Are You Doing The Right Workout?
If you consistently feel stressed out after your workout, you may not be doing the right one. Check with your doctor to make sure you are doing the best routine and impact level for your health, weight, and body. This is important for everyone, but especially for those who have a health condition, like high blood pressure and chronic pain, and even those in addiction recovery. While working out can be a great supplement to a recovery plan, your body may have lost nutrients, bone density, or muscle mass while you were using, so check with your doctor before getting started in an exercise routine. Also, check with your trainer to make sure you are doing each exercise properly and that your breathing is in rhythm.
Additionally, make sure that your workout is something you enjoy. While high impact training may be the quickest way to a fit body, if you’re miserable doing it, you won’t be motivated to stick with it. You should also be sure you are not straining your body past the point it can go and risking injury. Read these tips from Fitness Magazine on selecting the best workout based on your goals.
If you are looking for an exercise to improve both your body and mind, give Pilates a try. Not only does it build strength, power, and flexibility, but the controlled movements give your brain a boost too. Each movement, no matter how small, requires that you focus on the movement in detail, including the sensations you experience and your breathing. As a result, Pilates will improve your focus and mindfulness, while also creating a strong core to carry you through.
Does Your Self-Care Support Your Workout?
Often, we mistakenly think that working out begins and ends with our time at the gym, but we need to get the right nutrition, hydration, and rest even when we are not there. Make sure your nutrition plan aligns with your program, too. Weight training, for example, requires much more protein intake than low-impact exercise. Read this article on self-care strategies to help you stick to your fitness routine from Make Yourself Unstoppable.
Today, more gyms are offering services in self-care, according to Shape.com. Some of them feature spas, care clinics, registered dieticians, and even self-care classes such as guided meditation. If you belong to one of these gyms, take advantage of all they have to offer.
Self-Care Beyond Fitness
Supporting your fitness routine with proper self-care is important, but you also need to move past constantly thinking about having a healthy body. Having real emotional downtime is key to good mental health.
Hobbies are a great way to reduce stress, gain a new skill, and add something new and interesting to your life. Photography, knitting, and coloring are great ways to relax and be useful at the same time. Here are more hobby ideas that can improve your quality of life from Daring to Live Fully, and these hobbies from Everyday Power Blog can actually build your confidence and self-esteem.
Too many Americans underestimate the importance of sleep. According to HowSleepWorks.com, the average American needs 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night. If you find you don’t get that much, you may need to start going to bed earlier. If sleep is a challenge, you can try:
● Using a white noise machine to fall and stay asleep.
● Making sure you have high-quality pillows to support your neck.
● Putting up room darkening blinds or curtains.
The APA has more information on sleep disorders and additional suggestions on how to improve your sleep quality.
Relaxation and Minimizing Stress
In addition to sleep at night, you should have periods throughout your week (if not daily) to relax. This can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths during a crisis or as advanced as finding time to do deep relaxation or meditation. You may even want to set up a place in your home that is calm and quiet to function as a meditation space to inspire you to relax; decorate it with calming imagery and soothing scents to keep you focused on the present rather than the distractions of the outside world.
Proper self-care is important for both physical and mental health. Be sure that while you are supporting your fitness routine, you are also taking downtime yourself. Both contribute to a more balanced life.
by Susan Treadway with Rehab Holistics