This week I am delighted to welcome Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com as my guest blogger! In her post Sheila is exploring the relationship between fitness motivation and self-care. She says herself “I overdid the ‘fitness motivation’ side of the equation for years – I pushed and goaded myself along with guilt until my world collapsed and I discovered the deep unhappiness I’d been avoiding. I learned that fitness burnout is real and can happen to anyone who isn’t careful about keeping an eye on balance.”
Read on to learn Sheila’s own advice on managing this balance…
One of the best ways to make sure that you remain healthy in body and in mind, content with your current life, and comfortable at home and at work is to pursue the practice of self-care each day. While many of the main facets of a basic self-care routine, like getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and eating healthy meals, do not take too much time out of your day, one of the most important parts of self-care can drain a significant portion of the day, making it difficult for busy professionals to truly commit to it. While exercise needs to last a certain amount of time for you to truly experience its positive effects, there are ways you can make space in your daily life for a workout routine in addition to your wider self-care program. Here are some steps you can take to balance your self-care habits, exercise, and everything else you do from day to day.
PREPARE YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCE
One of the first ways you can make more time in your day while taking care of yourself is by cooking your own food. This will enable you to avoid the extra salt, sugar, and preservatives added to packaged, processed, or restaurant meals while giving you the opportunity to include vegetables and whole foods that have vitamins and nutrients you need.
However, many people feel like they do not have enough time to go grocery shopping, find a recipe, and then cook each morning or night. Thanks to recent developments, though, there are several options to help you save time while still having enough time to cook a healthy meal. Many grocery stores now offer services that will do the shopping for you – all you have to do is drive by the store and load up your pre-bagged groceries. Some places will even deliver your groceries directly to your doorstep!
Meal delivery services are another way you can save time each day. Most companies offer recipes and a pre-measured set of ingredients. Depending on the service, there may be more or less cutting, chopping, and cooking for you to do. (Some even send food practically premade for when you are particularly short on time.) Most meal delivery services also offer additional meal categories, with light, low-calorie options.
OPT FOR “SMART” CONVENIENT FOODS
The good news is you don’t have to cook all your meals to stay healthy and happy. For example, yogurt and kefir are not only easier choices, they’re also beneficial for your mind and body. The live cultures found in these foods work to promote a healthier environment for your gut, which is important because your gut influences how other areas of your body work—including your mood levels. Making smarter choices about convenient foods will contribute to a healthy gut, which will help you feel your best.
BALANCE YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE WITH CARDIO
Once you start paying more attention to what you eat, you will be able to really make the most out of your workout routine. The secret to making time for everything in your routine in the course of one day is to stop stressing about adhering strictly to your plan. For example, while you may have an excellent hour-long workout routine, try balancing that out with quicker cardio exercises on opposite days, giving you an extra half hour for other self-care practices. Unless you are specifically aiming to bulk up or build significant amounts of muscle, many of the benefits of exercise come from strenuous cardio like running, biking, or swimming. Scientists say that what is most important is that you manage to get your heart rate a certain percentage higher than usual for twenty to thirty minutes – that will allow your body to be in the best possible shape.
DITCH THE GYM MEMBERSHIP FOR HOME EQUIPMENT
If you find that going to the gym is just too difficult, you can reap a multitude of benefits with a home gym. It allows you to get in a workout whenever you have the time, without the need to drive to the gym. You will also save money in the long run by dropping your gym membership. You can buy the equipment that best fits your needs instead of relying on standard equipment at the gym.
Depending on the dedicated space for your home gym, you may need to make some modifications, such as changing the flooring, adding more electrical outlets, or installing a pull-up bar or ceiling fan.
Now matter how busy you get, remember that self-care involves many different aspects beyond simple exercise. Eating healthy food will help you fuel your workouts and give you energy to tackle even the most difficult tasks. Finally, they will both help you get a good night’s sleep at the end of the day, helping to keep you healthy and happy in body and in mind.