This particular blog post was written by a young woman named Sheila Olson (FitSheila) that reached out to me with a goal to offer advice on how to balance your fitness routine with overall self-care. This post contains some of her top tips, approved by me of course, on how to have a balanced personal life outside of not only the Pilates studio but general fitness.
I hope this can appeal to a variety of different people and that you can use this to improve your lifestyles for the better. Enjoy!
Whether you are training for a marathon or embarking on a weight loss journey, it can take up a lot of your life. While it’s great to pursue these things for your health and overall well-being, it’s important to balance your fitness routine with other forms of self-care. Getting in shape can be a lot of work with ups and downs. Taking time out of your schedule to unwind and be kind to yourself allows you to get the rest you need to give it your all when training.
Upgrade Your Sleep
You know the difference between working out when you’re well-rested versus when you tossed and turned all night? Quality sleep allows your body to recuperate from the day so it can perform at its highest function throughout the next day. You can help facilitate the most restorative rest by practicing good sleep hygiene habits that wind you down before bed.
● Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol in the evenings. Caffeine is a stimulant that can help give you a jolt in the morning, but it will keep you up at night. Alcohol causes a spike and subsequent drop in blood sugar that disturbs the sleep cycle, making you wake in the middle of the night.
● Remove TVs, computers, tablets, and your cell phone from the bedroom. Instead of watching television or browsing the internet, read before bed.
● Your bedroom should be a cool, dark and quiet environment. Lower the temperature to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit and close the curtains. Consider a noise machine that prevents troubled sleeping. Invest in quality bedding that regulates body temperature for maximum comfort.
● Take a soothing bath before bed. The hot water raises body temperature. When you get out and the body cools, it eases physical tension while making you feel drowsy.
● Talk to your doctor if you have a hard time falling asleep on your own. You may have a sleep disorder such as apnea, restless legs syndrome, or insomnia.
● Consider investing in a humidifier. Not only does it make a room more comfortable while creating white noise, it also improves skin, comforts sinuses, and reduces the risk of infections.
Quiet the Wanting Mind
When you are working hard toward a fitness goal, it’s easy to get caught up in the wanting mind. However, as much you think about the end result, don’t forget that true happiness comes from living in the present. You can train yourself to quiet the wanting mind through meditation. Practicing for just a few minutes can create a sense of mindfulness throughout the entire day. Not only does it help prevent anxiety and dissatisfaction, this kind of brain training can also be incredibly beneficial when training and working out. Create a meditation space in your home where you can sit free of distractions, focus on breathing and simply be in the moment.
Pick Up Another Hobby
One can argue that fitness is a hobby. However, you don’t want to become that person whose entire existence revolves around the gym, so pick up another hobby. Whether you decide to pick up your knitting again or you want to try out something new like adult coloring books, your new hobby should be something you truly enjoy doing. Commit some time a few days a week to pursuing your hobby as a way of spending quality time with yourself.
Fitness is great, but everything in life needs balance. Activity needs rest. We have to remember to live in the now even when working towards a future goal. And, of course, you don’t want anything to consume your entire existence. Balance fitness with self-care habits that not only help preserves your mental health, but also benefit your training as well.