Get the Balance Right: Fitness and Self-Care


Everyone is so busy rushing through our lives and trying to take care of our families and our work responsibilities that we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. However, self-care is vital to maintaining healthy, happy, productive lives. You won’t have the energy to take care of anyone else if you let yourself get run down. That’s why setting aside time for a healthy exercise routine is such an important part of a balanced self-care regimen.


You Have to Move


Just as you need to eat right to nourish your body and mind, you need to move every day to maintain your physical agility and grow strong muscles and bones. If you’re not looking forward to your workout, you’re doing it wrong. Choose an activity you find enjoyable. This is your time to play, a way to reward yourself for all that you do for friends and family. For 30 minutes a day, you need to participate in an activity you find enjoyable -- join a yoga class, take up horseback riding, or dance in your pajamas. You don’t have to do the same thing each time, as repetition often creates boredom. Mix it up by bowling on Monday and swimming on Friday. You can even split your workout time into smaller increments.Take a ten-minute walk in the woods on your lunch break, ride the bike to the store after work, and do yoga or meditate before bed. The point is to get in touch with your own body and start meeting its needs in a better way.


Get Your Beauty Sleep


Speaking of meeting your body’s needs, when was the last time you actually woke up feeling refreshed and alert? Most of us are getting up to the sound of an alarm, and we get our alertness and energy from a coffee cup. Make it a priority to get enough rest each day so you’ll actually feel like exercising. Set a nightly ritual and stick to a sleep schedule. Promise yourself eight hours a night, and keep that promise. Avoiding all caffeinated beverages after dinner will help you to fall into a natural sleep. (You can also try to get some of your exercise outdoors each day, as this promotes natural melatonin release to help you get a good night’s rest.)  We evolved to sleep when it’s dark and wake with the sunrise, so put nature to work in your favor. Keep your room dark while sleeping  and consider purchasing an alarm that wakes you with warm, natural daylight. These alarms work with your body’s circadian rhythm to help you wake up without disorientation and discomfort.


Don’t Overdo It


A healthy fitness routine has great healing powers. Studies show that exercise boosts immune function and reduces inflammation. Additionally, it combats depression and encourages clear thinking. For people struggling in recovery from an addiction, it can help reduce cravings and stave off relapse. However, remember that your fitness routine is part of your overall approach to taking better care of yourself. Be mindful, and take your cue from how you feel. Listen to what your body is telling you. Is it sore? Is it tired? If so, it’s okay to do something less strenuous or lower impact. Maybe you’re coming down with something or are over-stressed. Consider swapping aerobics for yoga and meditation. Remember that your exercise regimen is supposed to be enjoyable. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, it’s time to do something different.


To be the best version of yourself, you have to take care of your own needs. Feed your body well, and keep it hydrated. Get the rest you need to keep functioning at optimum levels. Also, reward yourself with fun, healthful, physical activity at least five times a week. You can call it your exercise routine or your workout. If you make sure it feels less like work and more like play, you’ll want to keep at it for the rest of your life.