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Fitness and self care

The following article was written and submitted by Sheila Olson of |

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Balancing Fitness and Self-Care With Your Crazy, Busy Life

It’s not exactly a secret that exercise is good for you. Exercise is beneficial to the body and mind alike. Studies have shown that physical activity and exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, but it’s not the whole package. If you’re exercising and wearing yourself out without taking the time to rest and recover, it can take a toll on your emotional health and impact your life. That’s where self-care comes in, and here are the best ways to introduce more self-care into your life and balance it with your fitness routine.

First, get organized

According to the Huffington Post, being surrounded by clutter can stress us out without us realizing it, even if the “clutter” is all mental. It’s easy for people to think that they can just remember everything, but too often, things slip through the cracks, and new problems arise without people being able to plan for them.

Getting organized can help, whether it’s cleaning up your house, getting a planner and organizing your time, or keeping a journal on your thoughts and activities. Try to designate time for your workouts and time for everything else. It doesn’t have to be unflinchingly rigid, but you will think more clearly.

Second, make time for other hobbies

According to Best Medicine, hobbies are an excellent way for you to give yourself something completely different to think about and enjoy. Afterward, you feel re-invigorated, and it makes life so much more enjoyable.

Ever wanted to give knitting a shot? Now’s your chance. Adult coloring books are all the rage these days, and cross-stitching isn’t just for Grandma anymore. You can find some fun patterns that reflect your personality. Hobbies don’t have to be restricted to just alone time. You can find communities and friends to do hobbies with and grow together.

Third, find a quiet place

Find a place – any place – in your home to take some time for yourself and breathe. If you have children, enlist the help of family, friends, or a neighbor to take care of your children while you take some much-needed quiet time. Use your space to practice meditation, whether it’s on your own or using cellphone apps. If necessary, you can even practice deep breathing during your workouts, perhaps while you’re cooling down.

Fourth, get some sleep

Sleep is excellent for recovery and improving your workouts. Studies show that sleeping well is just as important as getting those gains. Try to make your bedroom an inviting environment for sleep. Get dark curtains – or at least hang dark sheets or blankets over your windows. Ear plugs are cheap and easy to come by, and sleep masks help with the darkness as well. White noise machines can block out distracting noises. If you’re sleeping on lumpy pillows, invest in some new ones. Also establish a nighttime routine that relaxes you and helps you drift off.  Also very important:  all WiFi and electronic devices should be turned off!

Fifth, help your body recover through stretching and massaging.

Stretching after exercise can be an excellent way to help your body recover and relax. You can find many stretches online and even post-workout yoga routines. Massaging doesn’t mean you need to shell out big for deep-tissue treatments; you can self-massage through foam rollers or massage balls. This alleviates pain and prepares you for your next fitness session, whenever it may be.

Through stretching and massaging, getting adequate sleep, and taking time to de-stress and focus on other hobbies, you can balance your fitness routine with overall self-care. Remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as all the other responsibilities in your life. Balancing your workouts and the rest of your life will pay dividends both physically and emotionally.