Physical Self-Care Is Your Foundation
Some people who have a regular fitness routine fall into the trap of thinking that because they make exercise a priority, they must be healthy overall. You may well be, but if you focus only on fitness without also meeting your other physical needs, your body will suffer. For example, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you don’t have as much energy for your workouts or the rest of your day. You may be more likely to reach for caffeine or sugary sodas, which make it harder to sleep at night, and the cycle continues. To break this cycle, try these tips from Northwestern Family Institute for how you can get a better night’s sleep, such as using calming essential oils and avoiding foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugar. The good news is that you can then create a positive cycle of better rest and better health overall.
The Mind-Body-Soul Connection
Self-care is more than just meeting your physical needs. Your mind, body, and spiritual self are all interconnected, and all of these components of your whole self affect one another. When your mental health suffers, high stress levels have a negative impact on your body, making sleep difficult and worsening health conditions. At the same time, ignoring your physical needs can be the cause of mental health problems.
Finding a way to exercise that not only gets your heartrate up, but that also brings you joy and helps you feel more spiritually fulfilled is a great strategy to meet all your wellness needs. This is especially helpful for anyone who is in recovery for addiction. Developing a fitness routine in recovery promotes self-healing, both physically and mentally. Being active can help ease symptoms of withdrawal, and at the same time, it helps meet spiritual and emotional needs that are key for reducing stress and managing triggers. Choose a gentle exercise that is also meditative, like yoga or swimming, and start slow so that you don’t overdo it and stress your body. If you don’t have enough time to get to the gym or a pool, consider finding a space in your house for a home gym.
There are countless ways to combine fitness with other basic self-care needs for mental and spiritual wellness. These are just a few ideas to try:
- Try new workouts that are outside your comfort zone. According to Health, stretching yourself outside what feels comfortable creates growth, both with new physical skills gained and emotional growth from taking a leap of faith. New workouts don’t have to be confined to the gym, either. Put on some loud music and break a sweat with some dance moves to feel free and fabulous while working out.
- Get outside for some sun and grounding with nature. Try a new outdoor sport like kayaking or simply go for a hike or walk around the block. Time spent outdoors is refreshing to your soul, and it’s easy to get in some fitness at the same time.
- Don’t forget to rest! Some forms of exercise like yoga have a rest time, which is also perfect for meditation, built right in. With other exercises, take time to stretch before and after a workout or anytime you feel like your body needs it.
These ideas are just a few of the many ways you can achieve more balance by working your mind, body, and spirit through fitness. It’s important to realize that no matter how much you exercise, if you aren’t caring for your whole self, you’re getting in the way of your overall health. Forget the notion that self-care has to be time-consuming, and instead incorporate regular habits into your daily life to make yourself your top priority.
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