Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.
Disconnect from electronics
Our phones are practically an appendage to our body, being put to use every moment we have the chance. Not only does unplugging from social media make for more effective workouts, but also disconnecting from electronics at other moments in the day can do wonders for our mental health and vastly improve our relationships. Having a 30-minute phone-free morning routine, powering down before bed, keeping track of your social media usage and having real conversations with actual people are all great ways to start disconnecting from the virtual and reconnecting with reality.
Warm up and cool down
Warming up and cooling down are essential when it comes to taking care of ourselves in a fitness routine. Warming up not only helps prevent muscle and joint injury, but it can help prepare you psychologically for the upcoming exercise movements. It also helps to gradually increase your heart rate, as well as prepare your circulatory and metabolic systems. Just as important is cooling down, which basically means transitioning your body from the intensity of a workout to a state of rest by gradually lowering your heart rate and preventing fainting and blood pooling, among other things.
Find ways to relax
Another practical way to balance your fitness and self-care is to make time for relaxing. Hobbies such as knitting, coloring books, painting and playing an instrument can help lower stress levels and decrease anxiety. Learning something new can also be satisfying and give your self-image a boost. Furthermore, making sure to get adequate rest is vital for overall health, so it’s worth it to invest in a sound machine and good pillows. Dark and cool rooms also have been known to promote deeper sleep. Additionally, you could set up your very own at-home spa day, which may include a hot rock massage and plenty of nice, soothing music. The best part: You can enjoy this spa time in the comfort of your own home!
Meditation is another great activity for de-stressing and relaxing. It’s also relatively easy to practice in the comfort of your own home. With a little re-organizing and the right equipment, almost any room can serve as a meditation space. Anything that can minimize stress in your life is worth trying. Sometimes that means cutting out unhealthy relationships, taking the time to organize your bedroom, or adding more leisure time to your schedule.
Don’t ask too much of yourself
We are often our own worst critics. When we want to see progress, it’s easy to make our fitness routines harder than they need to be. When we set unattainable goals or have unrealistic expectations of ourselves, we will eventually fail. When we leave no room for slipping or stumbling, our whole routine is more likely to fall apart. An important part of achieving an overall healthy lifestyle is allowing ourselves to grow with grace. Set challenging but doable goals and track your progress each week. But don’t hate yourself after missing a workout or eating a doughnut.
Self-care is just as important as fitness when it comes to pursuing a healthy life. Try disconnecting from electronics, bookending your workouts with warm-ups and cool-downs and finding ways to relax. Also, make sure to give yourself room to grow. Maintaining a balance between your fitness routine and self-care is something you’ll constantly need to be conscious of, and these tips are a good place to start.
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