Balancing Fitness and Relaxation To Improve Self-Care
Guest blogger, Sheila Olsen, is offering us some tips on the relationship between our fitness motivation and self-care. This is much to familiar to me as I’ve juggled with teaching so many classes per week, while trying to maintain my own practice, and also “work-out” and also do too many things at once. At that point, I had lost my self-care. I was so curious to what Sheila had to say and I was sure I was going to learn something. Thanks so much Sheila!
While many people focus on the value of fitness in their lives, self-care is also an important component of a well-balanced life. Let’s take a look at how fitness can go wrong and how you can correct that with a basic aspect of proper self-care: relaxation.
Is Your Fitness Routine Stressing You?
While fitness can reduce stress, it can also increase it – and that can actually reduce your chances of losing weight. How does exercise cause this? It can happen in two ways:
- You may be doing the wrong workout. If you exercise improperly or above your fitness level, you can overexert your body, producing excess stress.
- The mental stress of trying to lose weight or achieve another body goal can be a burden as well. Exercise is work, but you should feel inspired to go to the gym rather than pressured to keep up with your routine.
How do you know if you are overdoing it?
One way is if you feel overly weighed down during the workout, especially if it’s an exercise that is not normally challenging. Read more ways to tell if you’re exercising too much at Shape Magazine.
It’s also important to select the proper fitness routine.
Discuss what options are best for your body with your doctor. Make sure you consider your health goals. Are you looking to lose weight, build strength, or boost your endurance? Or, do you just want to be fit? Each goal requires different activities to achieve it.
You also want to take into account where you’d like to work out: outdoors, in a gym, at home, etc. Merck Manuals has a list of basic exercises and how each of them benefits the body. Finally, make sure you pick something enjoyable so you’ll be inspired to work out regularly.
Creating Your Relaxation Regimen
To fully balance your workout routine, you should also create a relaxation regimen. Giving your mind and body time to relax helps to reduce stress and improves creativity and productivity. This article at HuffPost gives 10 health benefits of relaxation, including protecting your heart and boosting your immune system.
How can you create a relaxation regimen for yourself? Here are a few ideas you can try.
- Take on a hobby. This is a great way to do something enjoyable in your downtime. Knitting or curling up with a good adult coloring book can ease tension. Some other hobbies you might consider are puzzles, scrapbooking, and gardening. Select something that uses your hands and is not too mentally taxing.
- Get a good night’s sleep. You can improve the quality of your sleep with some simple tools, like a white noise machine. Make sure you have good pillows that properly support your head. If your room is not dark, you may want to invest in room-darkening blinds or curtains to help.
- Minimize your stress. This can take many forms, from reducing your commitments to staying off social media and out of debates. Greatist has 23 scientifically proven ways to reduce stress, such as progressive relaxation. This is a method to tensing and then releasing each or your muscles for total relaxation of the body.
- Learn to meditate. This practice can be done before bed to prep you for sleep or after a stressful event or meeting. Try these stress-reducing meditation practices from Very Well Mind. To encourage yourself to keep this practice daily, find a place in your home that can function as a meditation space. Look for an uncluttered spot and personalize it with items that bring you peace and tranquility, such as calming aromas or beautiful artwork.
Having both a fitness routine and a relaxation regimen can bring your mind and body into balance. That is the best gift of self-care that you can give yourself.
Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.