Practicing Self-Care & Fitness Has It's Benefits - By Guest Writer Sheila Olson
As we grow up, we pick up the belief that the greater the sacrifice you make, the greater the reward. While working hard is essential for achieving your goals in life, the big question is when is how much striving too much? For many people, accomplishing their ambitions comes at the cost of their health. Self-care can help you regain balance in your life.
Practicing self-care offers numerous mental, physical, emotional, and psychological benefits including:
• Boosts your self-esteem and confidence
• Helps you maintain healthy relationships
• Relieves stress
• Promotes focus, creativity, clarity, and productivity.
• Improves your outlook on life
• Promotes mental health
• Builds resilience and problem-solving ability
• Cultivates peace, calm and happiness in your life
The importance of fitness to your self-care routine?
Fitness helps you build strength and boosts your vitality to enable you to perform your daily tasks optimally. Exercising detoxifies your body and aids in maintaining a healthy weight, lowering your risk of diseases such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases.
People in recovery stand to benefit significantly by including exercise into their lives. Studies show that exercising lowers stress levels while producing feel-good hormones. The feel-good hormones provide a natural high while the reduced stress levels reduce the urge to use drugs. Some people in recovery pursue exercise and sports as a means of self-actualization which keeps their minds occupied, gives them a sense of accomplishment, and boosts their self-esteem.
Incorporate fitness into your life
Identify an exercise you enjoy such as jogging, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, boxing, hiking, aerobics, dancing, and weight training among others. Start exercising 20 minutes a day for 3-5 days a week and increase frequency, intensity, and length of time as your body becomes stronger. Incorporate self-care in your fitness routine by eating healthy whole foods and hydrating adequately. Also, avoid overtraining, and warm up and cool down for at least 10 minutes per session.
Integrating other self-care practices
Initially, it may feel like self-care is taking up too much time on your already busy schedule, or that it is selfish. Start out with smaller time-frames and build up gradually. The idea is to commit every day to do something that nurtures you, even if it is for five minutes. Self-care takes being deliberate and not making excuses. Some days it will be easy to get in the flow, other days it may feel like a lot of work. Either way, keep showing up.
Occasionally take time out to just breath and literally smell the roses. Take morning or evening walks in nature. Every so often allocate time for a bubble bath, massage or a facial. Plan and begin saving up for that vacation you have been intending to take.
Create an end of the day ritual whereby 30 minutes before your bedtime, turn off all the electronics, dim the lights, and get in bed. Take a few deep breaths and allow your body to ease tension. Identify at least three things in your life or the day that you are grateful for. You may make a mental note of them or actually note them down in your journal. Allow yourself to lay relaxed, aware of your body until you drift away to sleep.
There will always be a new goal for you to pursue and things to do. Self-care may mean the difference between whether you go through life overloaded with stress, or with ease. Do not wait until the damage of neglecting yourself is done, take charge of your life now and find ways you can nurture your body, mind, and spirit.
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