What do you think of when you hear the words, “self-care?” Self-care means that you’re consciously trying to take care of your body and mind, and benefits included reduced anxiety and improved mental and physical health. So, how can you incorporate self-care into your workouts? It’s easy to push ourselves super-hard or get competitive with the person next to us in a class, so adding a self-care element to your workout doesn’t always come naturally. These tips can help you get started:
Don’t Skip the Warm-Up and Cool-Down
These basics help you avoid injury, and they also allow you to mentally prepare and recover from your workout. Rushing through your routine puts you in a frame of mind of just going through the motions, and you want to get all the benefits of your workout. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after your workout.
During your workout, focus on getting maximum oxygen by connecting with your breathing. Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight. This slows down your breathing and has a calming effect. It can even help during a stressful work day or if you’re trying to fall asleep.
Connect With Your Body
Pay attention to how you feel during your workout, and really listen to your own body’s cues. Can you work any harder? Are you feeling any pain? Should you slow down? Post-workout stretching is a must, and if you can, work more stretching time into your day. It’s a great way to assess how your muscles are feeling and recuperating.
What’s more annoying than someone getting on their phone or social media during a workout? If you let yourself get interrupted by your phone, then you’re not 100 percent focused on what you’re doing and why you’re there. Dedicate your workouts to totally uninterrupted time, and you’ll get a lot more out of them.
This is one of the hardest things for many of us to accomplish, especially if you’re coming back from an injury or working on a challenging weight-loss or fitness goal. Exercise is so important for your health, and your inner voice needs to always stay positive, whether you’re pushing through a tough circuit or deciding to slow down. Don’t beat yourself up when you’re feeling weak or down.
Try Guided Meditation
One of the best ways to get your attitude on track is to meditate every single day. There are tons of apps out there designed to help your mind escape from anxious, negative thoughts, and they work. Daily meditation helps you practice self-talk that’s positive, and it gives your mind a huge break from the day-to-day onslaught.
Whether you use a simple notepad or a beautiful bullet journal, getting your thoughts down on paper is a tremendous way to stay focused on your goals and the things you’re grateful for. Expressing yourself in a journal is a proven method for reducing anxiety and insomnia, and it’s a tonic for your general mental health.