In today’s hustle and bustle world, it’s no wonder we’re denying ourselves proper personal attention. But it’s exactly this hectic world that sometimes forces us to self-sabotage through poor choices including procrastination and denial.
All of this makes finding time for self-care practically a 911 emergency.
It’s important to understand that personal self-care, or taking care of yourself, is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle — and not just the comfortable kind. Sure self-care includes luxuries such as taking time to read a good book, making an arts and crafts project or getting a deep tissue massage. But a comprehensive self-care plan isn’t always about making you comfortable. An effective self-care plan must include taking a hard look at your life and making some not so easy choices as well.
Author Brianna Wiest described it this way, “True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
In this less indulgent form of self-care, you’re forced to look at yourself through a parent’s eyes where you can openly self-evaluate to see where you need work. This process is rarely glamorous but instead forces you to deal with some ugly realities. Maybe you overeat or overuse alcohol. Maybe your finances are in shambles due to overspending or your job is on the line because you can’t meet deadlines. Whatever your vice, self-care requires you to recognize it, own it and then fix it.
One of the most often overlooked forms of self-care that is essential to a healthy body and mind for all of us is physical fitness. And yet, people find multitudes of excuses for not making it happen. No time. No energy. No money. No motivation. This list goes on and on.
Perhaps, if we tried looking at it from a different angle. Physical fitness is like an umbrella to many other types of self-care. By being physically fit, we can better enjoy other aspects of self-care because our body is working well and our mind is working even better. This allows us to perform better in all aspects of our life.
According to the medical experts at the Mayo Clinic, physical fitness has seven core benefits
- Weight management
- Combating diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes
- Improves mood
- Boosts energy
- Promotes better sleep
- Improves your sex life
- Provides social fun and enjoyment
Physical fitness is often an effective treatment for illnesses such as depression and addiction, too. Statistically speaking, people who follow a regular fitness plan are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than their more sedentary counterparts. And in another study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment, a Brown University researcher concluded that regular aerobic exercise effectively curved alcohol cravings and dependence.
So as you go about designing a perfect self-care plan, be sure to plan for plenty of the comfortable and uncomfortable activities. Find time to eat the chocolate cake or take a warm bubble bath. Find time for a mani-pedi or watching an evening sunset.
But also find time for physical fitness. Here are some ways you can do that.
- While your kids are at evening activities, find a nearby gym or walking trail.
- Find online yoga routines.
- Take a walk during your lunch hour.
- Go on a family bike ride
- Take up an active hobby, like gardening or Tai Chi.
- Create your own personal meditation room.
- Take the stairs
- Park in the farthest parking spot when you go shopping
- Join a gym or aerobics class
Remember, self-care isn’t just focusing on self-indulgence. True self-care also combines a fair amount of self-reflection and hard work. But with good hard work comes personal growth. And by finding time to add fitness into your plan you’ll be sure to be healthier both physically and mentally to handle all of life’s challenges and joys.