Recently, there seems to be a growing focus on self-care and mental health in society. This is great because self-care balances out the high-intensity workouts that are popular today. High-intensity fitness routines can wear down the body and cause stress. Plus, our lives are already fast-paced and overstimulating as it is. Restorative care is important to include in your daily routine to moderate the effects of physical and mental stress that we experience every day.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
Staying hydrated is commonly preached but rarely taken seriously. However, water is an extremely important part of caring for your physical and mental state, especially if you’re exercising. The American Council on Exercise suggests drinking at least 17 ounces of water up to three hours before exercising, another eight ounces half an hour before you start, at least seven ounces every 10-20 minutes during exercise, and another eight ounces after your workout. This sounds like a lot of water! But remember that water helps us regulate our body temperature, contributes to joint lubrication, and transports nutrients in our blood. Without adequate water, we can suffer from fatigue, dizziness, and muscle cramps during exercise.
Fuel Your Workouts With Proper Nutrition
According to Forbes, the best way to introduce self-care into your daily routine is to start with your food. What you eat fuels every task that you demand of your body throughout the day. Not only is nutrition important for fueling physical exercise, but also your mental processes.
Different-colored natural foods have different key nutrients, so opt for a colorful meal when possible. For example, greens are a high source of calcium while purple foods, like blueberries, are great for your immune system and can reduce inflammation. Avoid sugars and simple carbs which can cause blood-sugar dips, brain fog, and energy crashes.
Fruits and vegetables are key in every diet. Research has found that eating fruits and vegetables contributes to positive feelings and increased emotional well-being. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends following their MyPlate guidelines which replaced the well-known food pyramid in 2011. They suggest that half of your plate should be composed of fruits and vegetables!
Create a Relaxation Regimen
A good relaxation regimen will help promote a healthy lifestyle of self-care throughout your daily life. This will help you tune out from stressful events of the day or wind down after a workout. The focus of a relaxation regimen is to minimize the overall stress you experience. Some recommended activities to include in your daily routine are knitting, painting, or gardening. Adult coloring books are a popular choice because they’ve been found to help us calm our minds and reduce anxiety.
Many people also find light yoga and meditation endlessly useful for clearing the mind and minimizing stress. Create a meditation space in your home that will help separate your relaxation time from your fast-paced life. When you continuously use the same space to meditate, your brain will begin to associate this area with relaxation.
Part of your relaxation regimen should focus on achieving quality sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends various ways to fall asleep faster and optimize sleep quality. For example, following a sleep schedule will help regulate your internal clock to provide steady energy all day long. It’s also important to develop a bedtime routine to separate sleep from any activities that cause stress or excitement.
Create a dark bedroom environment using blackout curtains and eye masks. Don’t forget to turn down the thermostat since we tend to sleep best at cooler temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees. Many people find noise machines useful since they drown out disturbing sounds, like your partner’s snoring, that can prevent sleep or wake you up.
A general lifestyle of self-care is the perfect complement to any fitness routine. When you take care of yourself outside of the gym, you will feel more energized, your body will recover quicker, and you may notice fitness results sooner. Take advantage of these self-care tips to maximize your health and feel good all day long.
About the Author
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.