I talk a lot about self care to my clients, both personal and at Barrys. It is vitally important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Recently I had the opportunity to have another voice in the fitness community share her same views about self care with me. She put together a great piece that I am so excited to share with you! Thanks Sheila!
Take Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Your Body
By Sheila Olson
Are you looking to increase your overall well-being? Then you’ve likely thought about how you could create a good fitness routine to help you get healthy and maintain a healthy weight. But how can you balance that with your overall goal of self-care? It just takes a little planning and goal-setting.
In our hectic world, self-care can often fall out of our daily routines. We have work, home and family responsibilities to juggle, so taking the time to care for ourselves is often last on the list. But you only have one life, and you only have one body. So you have to take care of it.
Plan it out
Start by planning your life. Look at your daily routine and find some extra time to add exercise. You may have to get up a little earlier in the morning or go to bed a little later. Maybe you can use your lunch break to squeeze in a quick walk or run, then eat at your desk.
Consider using a calendar to schedule your workouts. You probably already use some sort of calendar, so add exercise to it, as if it were your job (it actually is your job to maintain your health, right?)
Consider fitness routines that promote calm and relaxation, such as yoga. Yoga also incorporates ideas such as mindfulness to better focus our minds and bodies. While it does make your muscles cry out while holding that warrior pose, it also helps us focus on the one thing we’re doing at the time, instead of all the other stressors in our lives. Yoga also teaches us to let things go because there’s no use in forcing things to do what we want.
If you’re in addiction recovery, fitness can be a healthy way to help you focus your energy. It can also benefit your brain by releasing dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good chemicals that give you what some call a “runner’s high.” It’s not really like being “high,” but it does make you feel good and puts you in a much better mood than you were before you began. A fitness routine during recovery promotes self-healing. But be careful: exercise can be addictive, too. Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion or let exercise take over your life. As with all things, balance is the key.
Get a buddy
Working out with a friend is a great way to boost your fitness. Having a friend who is counting on you is an excellent motivator to keep moving. Plus, working out with your friend often leads to good conversation. Walking or running with a friend for an hour while discussing your lives will help you both decompress from the stressors of the day.
If you’re exercising, your body is using up a lot of water, so don’t forget to replenish it. The body needs water for all of its organs, including kidneys, liver, bowels, skin and more. It helps your muscles recover and prevents headaches. Keep the fluids flowing for good health.
Allow your body time to heal itself after intense workouts. Our muscles break down when we work them, and then they heal back up, creating more muscle mass. You have to give those muscles time to rebuild themselves in order to gain the benefits of your workout. Allowing enough recovery time also prevents injury and fatigue.
Exercise is an important factor in caring for ourselves, but it isn’t the only factor. Find the right balance of exercise, recovery and self-care in your life in order to live a healthy, full lifestyle. You’ll enjoy life better, sleep more deeply and have better overall moods. Plus, the accomplishment you’ll feel will make you walk just a little taller and prouder.