A solid workout routine is the best defense for protecting against mental and physical health issues. Committing to physical fitness and overall self-care propels you to reach your goals, improve self-esteem, and feel good about yourself. Creating that balance might require some trial and error—but it pays valuable dividends when you find and embrace more relaxing and healthy activities.
Try these suggestions:
Choose an activity that’s fun to do. Who says you have to go to the gym? Take the kids and/or your partner hiking. Schedule a weekly bike ride with friends. Get a ping-pong table. Join the neighborhood pool or play at the local park... be a kid again!
Practice yoga. You can try a variety of styles, and if you’re new to the activity, start slowly and work your way through each level. Yoga gets your body and mind into shape.
Get a dog. Even the most dedicated canine couch-potato appreciates a good romp. Plus, dogs require daily exercise—they’re a great reason to get out and get moving. They’re also entertaining and fun, and researchers know that dogs help relieve stress and depression, too.
Prioritize good sleep. Most American adults log fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night. Cultivate good sleep hygiene by powering down at least an hour before bedtime, creating a cool, dark environment, and splurging on a set of soft sheets.
Creating a relaxing regimen A powerful workout is great to get the blood pumping and muscles quivering—and it helps with weight loss, too. But it’s equally important to set aside time each day to wind down, quiet your mind, and relax.
When’s the last time you indulged in your hobby? Has it been so long that you don’t remember what you enjoyed doing in your free time? Looking for ideas? Try these:
Dive into a good book. According to one study, reading for only six minutes can reduce stress levels by 68 percent! So, go ahead and hit the library, and dive into a new world (without guilt) for a few minutes—or hours.
Bake. Believe it or not, baking is good for your mental health. This therapeutic activity eases depression and anxiety—but watch that it doesn’t increase your waistline!
Putter in the garden. Nature is a perfect balm for soothing your mind and improving your mood. A bonus: You’ll give your body a good, low-intensity workout while activating serotonin, which acts like an antidepressant.
Get musical. Researchers know that music therapy relieves anxiety, decreases pain, stimulates the brain, and releases tension. Whether you play or listen, scientists suggest that music is effective for improving your feelings of well-being.
Craft. Whether you crochet, knit, scrapbook, sew, quilt, or do any other craft, it’s a great way to unwind. Plus, you can encourage the family to join you in the same or similar projects, and you’ll spend good quality time together and end up with some neat projects, too.
Restorative yoga Yoga comes in many forms, including Hatha (perfect for beginners), Vinyasa (great for weight loss), and Bikram (to improve flexibility). Restorative yoga focuses less on movement and motion and more on relaxation. This technique uses blankets and pillows to help support a variety of poses designed to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase energy.
If you want to give it a try, find or create a comfortable place in which to practice yoga and meditate. You’ll want a quiet spot away from your home’s main traffic areas. Get a yoga mat, pillow or yoga bolster, blankets, and towels. Some people prefer a dimly-lit area whereas others want to let the natural light in. Add candles, incense, or an essential oil diffuser if you wish.
Self-care is a personal and not a one-size-fits-all proposition. True self-care includes a daily routine that makes you feel whole. So, commit to trying new and different activities that help balance your fitness and overall well-being.