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Feature article this May by Sheila Olson of Fitsheila.com
How to Balance a Fit Lifestyle with Self-Care
Being physically fit has a range of benefits, both for mental and physical health, as well as for self-image and confidence. For fitness to be most effective, however, it needs to be seen only as one part of a broader program of self-care. Here are a few ways you can bring together both fitness and self-care so that they can co-exist for your benefit.
There is no doubt that fitness can benefit self-healing. For someone in recovery, for instance, being active can aid sobriety and protect against relapse. Fitness can give purpose and focus, and improve self-esteem and mental health. However, overdoing it can havenegativeconsequences. With that in mind, focus on balance, and listen to your body. Emphasizing moderation is the best way to ensure fitness is sustainable and works for you. To aid this, consider setting realisticgoals. These could be small, either short or long-term, but which are positive and attainable. Consider why you are pursuing physical fitness, and introduce those goals supported by a plan that may help maintain your motivation. A schedule might also help in ensuring long-term balance, to better harmonize fitness and overall self-care. When creating a calendar, try to incorporate as much social and “me” time as possible. Whatever your motivation, fitness should not interfere with how we enjoy our lives.
Take Fitness Out of the Gym
Gyms can be valuable environments for getting fit, but there are plenty ofalternatives. The best thing about pursuing physical fitness away from the gym is that it allows you to combine self-care with broader interests, all while staying healthy. If you have interests or hobbies, you may be able to incorporate them into your routine. Do you like nature? Then consider taking up hiking. Enjoy soccer? Join a local team. Live near a beach and love the sun? Go running by the water. Even walking itself can be a great way to stay fit and healthy, while also providing an opportunity to go exploring. You can opt for stairs instead of elevators, take different routes to work, and go looking for new places near you. There are many ways you can incorporate fitness into various aspects of your life. If you are recovering from substance abuse, exercise is especially important to staying on the sober path. The only warning is don’t overdo it, as it can be tempting to make exercise a new addiction. Meditate Self-care can go hand-in-hand with meditation. It's an effective way to help process one's thoughts and days, alleviate stress and anxiety, and better connect you to your emotional needs.Meditationcan be incorporated into your daily routine, and can be done at anytime. It can also be a valuable tool in having a restful night. Sleep is important to self-care, and can help one's overall well-being.
Find a place that you consider peaceful, even your bedroom, and give yourself the necessary time to unwind and relax. As a supplement to meditation, breathing exercises like the 4-7-8 method may aid stress management. This could be done every hour, if necessary, and can be completed in little over a minute. Prioritize Rest Days There's no right or wrong way when it comes torest days. Simply having a day where you can replenish and heal is absolutely important for self-care. By continuing to push your body, you may end up burning out or, worse, incurring avoidable injuries. Try to challenge feelings of guilt about taking rest days, and instead embrace them asopportunitiesfor personal enjoyment and enhanced quality of life. If you don't want to stay inside, plan a fun day out, either by yourself or with loved ones. You could visit museums, go to the movies, or head to a park. Even if you stay indoors, you can still keep yourself stimulated. From playing a musical instrument, to building a model plane, there's plenty to do to stay mentally and physical active. Computer games, too, can be a perfect way to practice self-care while keeping you alert and involving others. Finding balance between fitness and self-care will present challenges. After all, our lives are becoming increasingly busy, with schedules that are difficult to manage. However, once you do achieve balance, you will hopefully find that your quality of life has increased, and a healthy lifestyle is more rewarding.