Why Exercise Shouldn’t Be Your Only Self-Care Activity
Article courtesy of Sheila Olson from fitsheila.com.
Fitness is important. Self-care is important. And while the two do usually go hand-in-hand, sometimes caring for yourself taking a break from your regular fitness routine, or at least balancing it with other activities that are good for your mind and body. In other words, if exercise is the only thing you do that is just for you, you may be neglecting yourself more than you realise.
Getting Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is often overlooked or skimped on in lieu of what people consider more pressing tasks like work and exercise. But the truth is that sleep is one of the most important activities you can do for your body and mind. Not only does your brain repair itself while you sleep, your body also goes to work during these hours to repair your heart and blood vessels. When people shave off necessary hours of sleep, their bodies pay for it with obesity, disease and stress.
If sleep is a problem for you like it is for millions around the world, don’t give up. Include methods in your nighttime routine to create a relaxing atmosphere. Invest in a good pillow and comfortable linens that make your bed feel like a welcoming haven. Turn off anything emitting light such as cell phones or TVs. According to Health.com, “your body is programmed to sleep when it’s dark.” Other things to try are essential oils, noise machines or hot baths.
Stress takes a toll on the body and mind like nothing else. Not only does it affect your sleep, but it can affect your heart, your muscular system and your brain. Exercise is a wonderful remedy from stress, but for extreme chronic stress, you will also need moments of intentional relaxation such as meditation. And one of the best ways to incorporate this practice is by creating a space in your home that serves only that purpose. If you have a room, or even a closet where you can create a quiet and comfortable meditation space, you can program your mind and body to recognize it as a place to relax.
But aside from exercise, relaxation and sleep, there are other things you can do to ensure you keep your tension at bay. For one, build healthy relationships. Studies show that love reduces stress and heals the body and mind. You can also try figuring out what causes you stress and eliminating those factors. And don’t be afraid to get help. Chronic anxiety is hard on the body and a licensed therapist can often give you tools to reduce it.
You are only one person, so don’t try to do it all. Find, hire and ask for help in areas that you find stressful or difficult to accomplish. There’s no shame in hiring someone to clean your house if you find that takes up too much of your time to be rewarding. And there’s no harm in letting the kids stay with grandma once in a while so you can get a little more rest.
You can also delegate other tasks. For example, start or join a carpool to drop the kids off at school to give you a few moments to meditate or relax before work. Teach your teenagers to do the laundry and take a week off once a month. Anything that causes you undue stress can probably be delegated.
Practicing self-care is extremely important for your health. And exercise is a primary factor in that. But don’t allow exercise to be the only thing you ever do for yourself. Caring for yourself makes you a better parent, mom, employee and friend. Don’t neglect it!