Staying fit and keeping your mental health in check can be difficult tasks, especially if you have a busy schedule or are battling an illness. However, it’s important to find a good balance, and because our physical and mental health are linked, when one of them takes a hit, the other does, too. This can lead to mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, as well as physical problems such as obesity or disease.
Fortunately, it’s not terribly difficult to find ways to combine your workouts with a self-care routine for overall wellness. The key is to find things you enjoy and create a balance that you can maintain, because the second you feel you “have” to do something, you won’t be motivated to keep it going anymore. Finding simple ways to care for your body and mind will keep you feeling energized and happy even when your life gets busy or stressful.
Here are a few, easy ways to get started.
Create a Relaxation Regimen
Finding ways to relax is incredibly important in our stressful world. When you have a busy day that requires you to take care of everyone but yourself, it’s good to know that you can come home and enjoy activities that will help you relax and feel calm. You might use adult coloring books, knitting, reading a good book, or taking a hot shower to wash the day away, or you can change the way you rest.
Getting enough sleep is imperative when you need to learn how to banish stress, but it’s not always easy to do, especially if you have a family. Working out regularly can certainly help you sleep, but a failing mattress can still keep you awake at night. Boost your self-care by looking into a getting a new mattress. When shopping, choose an option that provides proper spine alignment — when your spine is aligned while you sleep, your muscles can relax, and you’ll wake up more refreshed.
You should also create a bedtime routine that will allow you to wind down, such as turning off all electronics at least an hour before you lie down, and try to go to bed at the same time every night. Noise machines and good pillows can help you fall asleep, as can keeping the room as dark as possible. You can even designate a specific room in your home as a place to meditate and calm down after a particularly long day.
Get Your Loved Ones Involved
Working out isn’t always fun, but if you can get your loved ones involved — the kids, your partner, or the dog — you’ll have a much better time. Go for a brisk walk after dinner, or play a game of kickball in the backyard. Ask your best friend to start a running group with you, or to go for a swim on the weekends. However you choose to get active, make it fun so you’ll continue to enjoy it. Oh, and if you have vacation days… use them! Taking time off can improve your productivity by reframing your state of mind. As an added bonus, it helps you bond with your family.
Spending time outdoors can be great for both your physical and mental health. Not only does sunshine boost your mood and give you a big dose of vitamin D, being out in nature can inspire you to stay motivated with a workout because it won’t feel like exercise. Go for a hike, or take the dog to a local park and spend some time on the trails.
Be Your Own Cheerleader
It can be hard to keep your energy up when you lead a busy lifestyle, so be sure to be your own cheerleader every day. Reminding yourself that you’re doing this for your own health and well-being will help you stay focused even when things get difficult.
Balancing self-care and physical fitness can be overwhelming if you don’t start with a good plan. Knowing how you’ll get started is half the battle, and it’s important to talk to your doctor about which types of exercise are right for you and your needs, especially if you’re coping with health issues.