Balancing Rest, Relaxation, And Exercise For Effective Self-Care

February 20, 2019

The modern world is a demanding one, and it can be hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle because of it. Even so, there are a number of mental and physical activities that you can do to ensure you get the right level of self-care. 

Self-care is the daily tasks that, while they might not be fun, leave you feeling whole. Self-care involves making decisions that make you feel good and well, whatever that might mean for you at the given time. If you feel that working out in the morning will make you feel good, then doing it is self-care. If making a wholesome family dinner is what makes you feel well, then doing that is self-care. 

Why self-care is important 

Experts agree too much stress causes a range of health problems and given that over two-thirds (70%) of American adults admit to dealing with stress and anxiety it makes sense to include rest, relaxation, meditation, and fitness into a self-care routine. Do not think that self-care and self-indulgence go hand in hand though. Self-care has been shown to reduce stress and help people to achieve short-and-long-term overall health and wellbeing. If you are ready to start your own self-care routine then keep on reading for our tips and tricks on how to do it. 

One for the fitness fanatics 

For some people, there is nothing quite like getting a sweat on while doing an intense workout. Focusing too much on fitness and neglecting other elements of self-care can do more harm than good though. There are benefits to incorporating the other aspects of self-care into a workout routine. Whether you are hitting the weights, preparing to run a marathon, or doing some cardio, here is some helpful advice from the professionals: 

  • Make breathing exercises a part of your routine. 
  • Be sure to cheer yourself on.
  • Think about all of the step aerobics benefits and make a plan to add it to your routine.
  • Warm up before exercising, stay hydrated while working out, and do not forget the cool down.
  • Do not check your emails, answer texts, or use social media while exercising. Focus completely on the workout and be 100% committed to it. 
  • Be sure to track your progress. If you are not someone who deals in numbers, then just remind yourself of your goals and what you want to get from your workout. Think about what motivates you and how your workout leaves you feeling. 
  • Be mindful of what your body is trying to tell you. Listen to your muscles. Be sure to stretch properly. Consider including a massage into your routine once or twice a month. 
  • Find the best workout gear for you; it should fit well and leave you feeling confident and happy. 

Other self-care 

Not sure that relaxation belongs in your daily routine? Take it from us when we say it does. While hitting the gym and going for a run will pay dividends, make sure that you are also making guilt-free relaxation part of your self-care routine.

  • Create a space in your home where you can relax and meditate. Solitude is great for allowing you to slow down, relax, and reflect or just let your mind be free and wander. It is the perfect way to charge your batteries before going back to the hustle and bustle of modern life. 
  • Create a relaxation regimen that lets you wind down at the end of the day. Have a lovely hot bath with some detox salts and lavender essential oil or just take a warm, soothing shower. Get some candles and calming music and have a lovely cup of tea to relax and prepare your mind for a good nights’ sleep. 
  • Power down your electronics and turn off social media.
  • Curl up and relax with a good book.
  • Spend time with your friends. Put together a plan to go on a walk or workout and have dinner together to get the best of both worlds. 
  • Meditate; meditation has been shown to help you re-center, focus, and relax at the end of the day. Just ten to fifteen minutes of breathing meditation helps you to deal with stress and find an internal balance. 

Improve the quality of sleep 

A major part of self-care is making sure that you sleep enough at night. This can be difficult if you have a life packed full of responsibilities. Sleep experts have come up with several ways people can improve their sleep hygiene and sleep better at night. They recommend: 

  • Using relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation to prepare the mind for sleep.
  • Creating the optimal environment for sleeping in. The best sleeping temperature for most people is between 65 and 72 degrees.
  • Opening a window to let air circulate.
  • Turning off electronic devices and avoiding them in bed. 
  • Buying a good mattress and pillows. Cotton bedding is among the most breathable and durable options. 
  • Get rid of noisy nuisances with a white noise machine. Getting the best quality sleep requires the best quality environment. 
  • Stay hydrated by drinking during the day. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, especially late at night. 

Identify three core self-care activities 

You should identify the top three self-care activities that you do. It is up to you how to prioritize them, but I recommend that you choose the tasks that have the biggest impact on your mood, can be easily implemented, or can be included alongside other parts of your daily routine. 

Schedule tasks that leave you feeling well 

Now you are ready to put the plan into action. Carve out regular 20-minute increments in your day and pencil in those important self-care activities. What you put in your schedule is what you do in the day no matter what. Experiment with trying different times for the activities to find something that fits well with your wants and needs. If you start skipping a task then schedule it for another time, or modify the activity so that it’s easier to do and stick with. Continue adapting your schedule and refining it as necessary. A good self-care routine is adaptable and flexible. 

The ultimate goal of self-care is to reduce your stress levels, nurture your well-being, and improve your work-life balance. There is no single solution to do it, but balance and moderation are key. The “right” way to handle self-care is to do what works best for you. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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