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Get Mentally and Physically Fit by Practicing Self-Care

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Have you decided to embark on a new fitness routine? That's fantastic! Before you get started, just remember that for overall wellness, you should make your fitness routine part of an overall self-care routine. If you obsessively focus only on your body and neglect your mind, you could quickly experience burnout. But if you balance your fitness routine with other self-care practices, you're more likely to morph into the best version of yourself for good.

Don't overdo it
Working out is absolutely necessary for optimal health, but overdoing it is not. In fact, working out too much can negatively affect your health. Too much exercise can cause the stress hormone cortisol to surge, which can prevent you from building muscle, lower your metabolism, and cause you to store more fat in your mid-section.

For physical health, incorporate both cardio and strength-training exercises into your routine, but make sure you also get two rest days. After an intense workout, your muscles need a rest day to recover and rebuild themselves, but these breaks are also important because they allow you to incorporate other self-care practices into your schedule.

If your new fitness routine is part of your path to recovery from addiction, then it's doubly important to not overdo your workout routine. Exercise offers many benefits for someone in addiction recovery. It can help relieve stress and provide a natural high, helping to reduce cravings. But obsessive exercising can become a new addiction, which could backfire. Be careful not to overdo it, as this could lead to burnout, which could then result in a relapse.

Get sleep
We've all heard the advice from doctors and other expert professionals: get enough sleep. That's because sleep is crucial to our mental, emotional, and even physical health. Getting enough sleep at night is an important part of any self-care routine. Although getting regular workouts can help you sleep at night, it's equally important to invest in a comfortable mattress. Having a quality mattress can be an act of self-care because it's not only comfortable; it also aligns your spine, properly supports your body, and helps you get a good night's sleep so that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start your day.

Do yoga
If you can't handle the idea of a rest day, try a relaxing workout. Doing yoga, tai chi or qigong on your rest days will kill a few birds with one stone. It will help you relax, meditate and stay in the present. It will also help with your strength, flexibility and coordination. Lastly, it will provide you with a non-guilt-inducing rest day.

Eat a balanced diet
Don't go overboard with your diet, either. This can also stress you out and lead to burnout. Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein and healthy fats. As much as possible, avoid empty calories from sugars and solid fats (read: soft drinks, white bread or pasta, and bacon) while still allowing yourself to occasionally indulge in your favorite not-so-healthy foods.

Practice mindfulness
What is mindfulness? When you take the time to pay attention to and be aware of yourself, others and your surroundings in the present moment and in a non-judgmental way, you are practicing mindfulness. Simply clearing your mind and meditating for 10 minutes is a great way to add a few mindful moments to your day, and creating a space for mindful meditation in the comfort of your home is easy. Practicing mindfulness will help you lower your stress levels, regulate your emotions, and help you find inner happiness.

Allow yourself to relax
Go for walks in nature, get a massage, watch a movie, read a book, take a bubble bath, go to the sauna, or do whatever it is that you find relaxing. Relaxing can recharge your batteries so that you have energy to get up and do it all over again. You may even find that allowing time to relax will help you be more productive at work and while working out.

You may believe that running 40 miles a week and counting every calorie is all you need to be healthy, but it's not. Having too intense of a workout routine and too strict of a diet can tax your body and mind and even lead to burnout. Balance your workout with self-care practices that nourish both body and mind. Make some of your workouts relaxing and not solely focused on calories burned. Enjoy a healthy balanced diet and leave time for relaxation. Get in touch with your body and emotions through mindfulness. Combining your fitness routine with these self-care practices will help you to feel truly balanced and give you the stamina to keep it up for a lifetime.


Sheila Olson

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.

CROI -- Nutrition & Dietary Information

CROI is a registered Irish heart & stroke charity dedicated to the fight against heart disease and stroke' with a special focus on the West of Ireland.
Our Mission is to 'Prevent Disease' Save Lives' Promote Recovery and Wellbeing'
The charity is totally funded through the proceeds of fundraising events' voluntary contributions and philanthropy.


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