Balancing Fitness and Self-Care

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Balancing Fitness and Self-Care

You’ve had a bad day at the office. You promised yourself you would hit the gym after work, but when you get home, you feel stressed, anxious, and tired. On one hand, you know your physical fitness is important to your health, but on the other, you know that you need to give yourself downtime. What do you do?

Many of us encounter some variation of that dilemma multiple times a week. We are torn between our desire to get fitter and our desire to be kinder to ourselves, and we don’t know which one to pick. Addressing this issue means re-evaluating how we think about our health and our attitude to fitness and self-care.

Fitness Is Self-Care

First of all, it is essential to remind yourself that fitness is part ofa healthy self-care regimen. Taking proactive care of your well-being includes exercising regularly, which prevents a variety of mental and physical illnesses. When you commit to focusing on self-care, your fitness routine is an intrinsic part of that, and it should be treated as such.

What fitness is not is a punishment or something you need to endure to look a certain way. When you see exercise as something negative, you are less likely to keep doing it in the long run. Fitness should be enjoyable for its own sake and for the way it makes you feel. If you hate running, stop forcing yourself onto a treadmill. If you need Netflix on your phone to get you through a session on the cross-trainer, you are obviously not engaging with the exercise in any meaningful way.

Even people who love exercise can’t be bothered to do it sometimes. The difference is they know they love it and that it will make them feel better. That and, of course, they have managed to make it a habit.

How Your Habits Influence Each Other

So how do you make your fitness routine, and your self-care as a whole, into a habit? You start by identifying what usually keeps you from exercising, even when you know you will like it. Is it fatigue, stress, or some other negative emotion? Whatever keeps you from exercising, those are the habits you need to address first.

Too Tired – You either need more sleep or better sleep. According to Time, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep. According to the CDC, one in three are not. Focus on improving your bedtime habits.
Too Stressed or Anxious  – Focus on creating a relaxation regimen and minimizing stress. Try relaxing hobbies such as knitting and adult coloring, and find a space in your home you can use to begin meditation. Make sure you are getting quality sleep, and invest in objects that can help, such as noise machines, aromatherapy oils, and good pillows.
Too Hungry – Learn to put together some easy pre-gym and post-gym snacks. Your workouts require energy, and you’ll never go the gym after work if you are starving.
Too Depression  – Depression can make it impossible for you to find the motivation to do anything, let alone work out. Address your mental health issues with a doctor and focus on being kind and forgiving to yourself during your recovery.

Self-care should be approached in a holistic manner. Our drive to exercise is influenced by a wide range of other factors that need to be considered equally. Trying to force a habit without digging into the root causes of why you tend to fail is asking for disappointment. By considering how your habits influence each other, you will eventually achieve the balance you need to practice self-care in a healthy and productive way.


Balancing Fitness and Self-Care

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