Let's talk about Self-Care and why it's so important!
Self-Care is one of the most valuable tools you can learn to implement into your everyday life. Self-care is something that you consciously do for the purpose of taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. It sounds simple but it's something we very often forget to prioritize. It is the routine maintenance you need to do to function to be your best not only for others, but also for yourself.
Think about the ways you take care of others, run your household, work countless hours each week, exhaust yourself to tick off your mental to-do list and meet all deadlines. When your self-care routine is high on your "priority list", your mindset will be calm, focused and you will feel balanced.
If you feel out of balance, your self-care routine is most probably not being prioritised.
The most common reasons we avoid exercise are for two main themes:
Lack of time
Lack of time is a major worry when starting and maintaining an exercise routine. You have so many other responsibilities that you rarely have time for yourself. When you have a brief moment to slow down, another critical task quickly moves to the front of the line.
Even though your to-do list never ends, there is still that little voice in the back of your mind - the voice of your basic needs - telling you that you should make your health a priority. Listen to this voice! Find a few minutes in your day… 30 to 60 minutes - for exercise. A walk, a quick high-intensity workout or a half hour weight session - any of these are great places to start. Remember that exercise doesn't have to be done in one big chunk to be effective!
Mum guilt (actually, parent/carer guilt) is a real thing!
What will my children do when I'm exercising? Can my partner look after the kids while I'm gone and not feel stressed or need my help?
Sometimes we think that taking care of ourselves is equivalent to selfishness. But finding a consistent health care routine, is one of the most selfless acts you can give to your family.
Studies show that consistent exercise is linked to increased productivity and mental focus. This means that exercising regularly can help you become more present with your partner, children, and with yourself.
Letting go of self-inflicted guilt is an important part of building self-care through exercise. Most of us tend to push self-care aside because it feels selﬁsh or something else comes up and you let that one hour for yourself go, but prioritising you once a day allows you to take better care of those you love because you have ﬁlled your cup and are at optimum mental, emotional and physical health. You will be in a much better space to take care of others if you take care of yourself first.
Fitness doesn't have to be about pushing yourself to the max. That's where exercise for self-care can become a regular habit. Our bodies naturally want to move!
Regular physical activity provides the following health benefits:
- Improved weight management
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of heart attack
- Increased energy levels
- Improved overall mood
- Reduced stress levels
Moving daily helps us to better care for our bodies and our minds.
Self-care, in many ways, is about prevention. It's a way to make sure you stay strong and resilient when under stress or other major life events occur.
However, sometimes you may need more than a few self-care activities to feel centred again. If you find yourself experiencing emotions or a low mood that seems to persist and negatively affect your daily life, consider finding a therapist or other qualified mental health professional. Sometimes examining these emotions in a safe and non-judgmental environment can help you understand what you're experiencing better, help you build healthy strategies to cope with them, and help you build a self-care plan that works best for you.
With overscheduled days, it can be difficult for even the most zen among us to fit in self-care practice on a regular basis. Create for yourself a structured opportunity to escape the intensity of your daily life and restore that inner calm and focus while feeling healthy and fit.