How To Practice Self Care
How to Practice Self Care
We are always seeing the phrase ‘Self Care’ but do we actually know what it means and how to practice self care?
It doesn’t just mean giving ourselves time out to relax. The odd spa day, massage, soak in the bath and other lovely indulgent things, that we don’t do often enough.
It also means looking after our bodies and minds.
Taking time out to exercise, spending time outdoors in nature, eating a healthy nutritional diet, drinking plenty of water, meditating and doing things that will help us lead healthier life’s.
But this tends to get overlooked and put on the back burner, priortising other aspects of live such as work and family.
We tend to use excuses like ‘I haven’t got time’, ‘I’m not fit enough’, I’m too tired’, ‘I haven’t got the money’ to name just a few.
All these phrases are excuses!
‘I haven’t got time’ – We always make time for the things that are important such as holidays, spending time with loved ones, watching your favourite TV programme
‘I haven’t got the money’ – There’s lots of free activities we can do such as walking, running. We also have access to tons of free exercise videos and healthy recipes online.
‘I’m not fit enough’ – This is a catch 22, how do you ever think you’re going to get fitter if you don’t start somewhere! You build up slowly and do what you can.
‘I’m too tired’ – Exercising will improve your energy levels, increase your endorphins making you feel less tired in general.
Practising self care is so important as you ‘Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup’.
So, how are you going to practice Self Care?
Tips on How to Start & Maintain a Good Exercise Routine
1. Choose a time of day that suits you
Maybe try doing your exercise first thing in the morning whilst you are fresh. This is a great way to start your day.
Not a morning person or can’t do due to family or work commitments can you go out for a walk mid-morning when the kids are at school or at lunchtime if you work.
If you prefer evenings try going straight from work to miss the evening traffic and stop you giving it a miss when you get home and don’t want to go back out.
There’s always a suitable time of day that fits you and your life.
2. Choose your goals
What do you want to achieve?
Is it to lose weight or maintain your weight?
Increase lean muscle?
Improve your mobility and flexibility?
Reduce your aches and pains?
Improve your posture?
All of the above?
Once you know what you would like to achieve, research what exercise or activity might help you achieve your goals. Also consider if you would enjoy it.
Enjoyment is so important as this will help motivate you to start and will also help you maintain your new exercise regime.
The worse thing you could do is set your goal to run, if you hate running.
Also think about how long you would need or like your exercise sessions to be.
Remember you can increase the times when your fitness levels increase.
3. Create an exercise plan
Once we’ve decided on the time of day that suits, your goals that you would like to achieve and the exercise methods you think you might enjoy. Now’s the time to set your weekly routine.
Schedule in your diary what days and times you will do your activities. If you want to attend group classes you will have to find the right place and time to suit you, if you’re going to exercise with a friend you’ll have to ensure it suits you both.
Also consider giving yourself relevant rest days if needed too.
A good thing to remember is to make sure you don’t over-commit and schedule too much, so you risk losing motivation after a few weeks. It needs to be manageable.
4. Choose an Accountability Partner
Before starting your new plan see if you can sort out an accountability partner as it’s so easy to slacken off over time. This could be a friend or loved one that might benefit from exercising with you.
It could be a friend or loved one that will keep checking in with how you are doing, encouraging you and giving you a gentle nudge to keep you on track if you start to lose motivation.
You might even want to consider investing into professional coaching, this could be via attending fitness, dance, Pilates or Yoga classes where you will be led and encouraged by the instructor. Or you might like more personal 1-1 type coaching. If your focus was also on improving your diet you might like to join a healthy eating/diet club or hire a nutritionist.
All of the above are great as you will get expert guidance and support and if attending classes, you also get the support and encouragement from other class attendees.
As well as human accountability you may also want to use technology to motivate and inspire you to keep on track. There’s lots of great fitness trackers that can help you in lots of ways. You can use them to monitor your steps to ensure you are moving enough each day. You can monitor your heart rate, your diet, your sleep and much more.
5. Consider what equipment and space you may need
Are you going to attend a gym, leisure centre or studio, go out walking or work out from home?
If working from home ensure you have sufficient space. If possible maybe create a workout space in a dedicated room so you can leave any equipment set up. This can also be good for motivation purposes, as you’ll be in workout mode once you are in the room.
Do you need access to a TV if using online workout videos?
Do you need to invest in any equipment that will help you with your workouts such a Pilates/Yoga mat, a resistance band, kettlebells or even a pair of trainers/walking boots or other exercise clothing?
Hope you now have a better idea of how to practice self care and maintain a good exercise routine.
Starting with a clear plan will help you stay focused on improving your health and well-being.
If your goals are to reduce your aches and pains, improve your posture, mobility and flexibility and increase your core strength. And you would like some support and advice, check out our introductory programme to Pilates.
It is a great way to feel the benefits that Pilates offers and to see if it’s the right exercise programme for you.
See below for more info