Defining Self Care
Often times when we think of fitness, weight loss, muscle gain, and overall just getting into better shape, it can be easy to lose sight of perhaps the most important part of our lives: self-care. Arguably, getting into better shape is a part of self-care, which is absolutely true. However, areas such as mental and emotional health are frequently neglected in order to try and achieve our “body goals”. It can be hard to keep up with a consistent and healthy fitness schedule when you’re neglecting other important aspects of your life. Supporting yourself in different ways can help boost your motivation and thus improve your fitness regimen.
1.) Get off of social media
It’s okay to want to hit the ‘gram and let everyone know that you’re about to get your buff on, however, don’t let it overtake your entire workout. Being on social media during your workouts is not only distracting but also opens up a dangerous portal for self-comparison.
Too much time spent on social media has been proven to negatively affect social cognizance. A study published by Health Communications journal states that Social Comparison Theory (a theory founded on the idea that people’s opinions and abilities intersect to affect their beliefs about their behaviors) runs ramped while scrolling through social media. Individuals who compare themselves to others may, “provoke an unhealthy focus on [their] own body”. Although humans learn best through observational behavior, it’s best to put down your smartphone during your workouts and only focus on yourself in these moments.
2.) Don’t be afraid to indulge
Indulging yourself comes with a bad rap that you should feel guilty in doing so. However, this shouldn’t be the case. Activities such as taking a warm bubble bath, giving yourself a nightly facial, or exfoliating and moisturizing your legs are great ways to pamper yourself and show your body and mind love in different ways. Even a sweet treat or cheat meal here or there is okay and still a great way to occasionally indulge yourself now and again. Just be sure to keep moderation in mind during those times.
Meditation is an age-old practice that has many proven benefits. You don’t have to be spiritual or religious to mediate either – a common misconception. Meditating helps to align your mind with your body, relieves stress, and can help you decompress and free your thoughts from a chaotic world for a period of time. Head onto YouTube and search for meditative music, and you will find plenty of options to choose from. Get a big soft pillow to sit on, turn down the lights, close your eyes, and begin to breathe deeply. Researching meditation practices beforehand will really get you in the zone once you’re finally ready to disconnect from the world for a while.
4.) Clean up your sleeping habits
This one goes without saying, but having better sleep habits will ultimately be one of the best things you can do when it comes to boosting your self-care. Poor sleep patterns can lead to constant fatigue, irritability, and lower mood levels, among many other issues. Taking sleep aids can also hinder your ability to create good sleeping habits. Often times they have side effects that will last through your waking hours after sleep, such as drowsiness and a lack of logical cognitive ability.
If you need to take sleep aids, try natural supplements such as melatonin or tryptophan. Try to get off your phone or digital devices one hour before bedtime, and pick up a book instead. Blue light emitted from screens can inhibit restful sleep, and reading is an activity known to have relaxing and sleepy effects as well.
5.) Make room for alone time
Perhaps some of the best times we can have are the times that we are actually alone. Being constantly surrounded by others, whether it’s from your job, your living situation, or going out every weekend, can take a toll on our minds and bodies overtime. Allowing yourself alone time is the key to being able to check off many of the other self-care items listed above. So give yourself some personal space from everyone else, stay in for a weekend, and put yourself first.
So there you have it: 5 ways in which you can begin to incorporate self-care into your life to improve your fitness regimen. Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter and spread the word about the importance of self-love!
In good health,