Thanks to Brad Krause for this...
It’s easy to forget about self-care when you’re busy getting fit. But in order to maintain good mental health, you must take care of yourself and take steps to manage stress. From coming up with arelaxation regimen and finding ways to smile to prioritizing sleep and saying “no” to people, here is why self-care is so important — and how to implement it in your daily life.
No matter who you are or what you do, there are times you experience stress. While it may not be possible to eliminate it altogether, you can reduce your stress levels by fitting relaxation into your life. This could mean taking the time to read a book or watch a movie, or taking a hot bath by candlelight. You could listen to soothing music or play a round at the golf course. Meditation and breathing exercises are particularly beneficial for mental health, as they calm your mind and encourage you to be present in the moment. If you want to add a fitness element, try If you want to add a fitness element, try yoga, which is known to strengthen the core and noticeably improve flexibility.
Spending Time with Your Dog
If you have a dog, spending time with them is one of the best things you can do to manage stress and improve your mental health. The love and companionship can go a long way in providing joy and reducing stress and anxiety. Also, having a consistent exercise schedule with your pup brings a ton of physical health benefits to the both of you. Furthermore, your dog needs you. The responsibility to provide your dog with structure has a way of carrying over to other parts of your life, and it reminds you that you’re important.
Finding Your Smile
You may know that when you work out, endorphins are released in the body. These chemicals make us feel good and can even bring about a feeling of euphoria (the “runner’s high”). Endorphins are also released when we smile, along with other “feel-good” neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin and dopamine. Here’s the point: smile more often! Smiling not only benefits our mental health, but it’s also great for our social health. It connects us with others, breaks down barriers, and lightens the mood of everyone involved. So, try intentionally smiling more and see if it doesn’t brighten up your day a bit.
Taking Sleep Seriously
Along with relaxing, spending time with your dog, and smiling, prioritizing sleep will make a world of difference in how you feel every day. Too many people neglect sleep, and it can negatively affect how you make decisions and solve problems, reduce your energy throughout the day, make you irritable, make learning and remembering things more difficult — the list goes on. On the contrary, getting adequate sleep can improve your memory and problem-solving skills, make you more alert and engaged, enhance your mood, and stave off depression. If you’re getting the right quantity of sleep but still feel groggy, it may be your mattress. To ensure adequate sleep quality, pick the right mattress for your sleeping style and replace it when it starts to wear out, typically every seven to 10 years. Memory foam technology has improved significantly over the years; make sure to review your options.
Finally, don’t be afraid to say “no” to people. Overcommitting only adds stress to our lives and sets us up for disappointing ourselves and others. For instance, if you feel like you need a break, gracefully tell your boss that you can’t work overtime this weekend, opt to stay in and spend time with the family, and don’t volunteer for three different organizations next week.
While physical fitness is an important discipline in life, it does little good if we’re neglecting our mental health and letting the stress pile up. Look for ways to fit relaxation into your life, whatever that looks like for you. Spend quality time with your dog, and create more moments for smiling. Make sleep a priority, and say no when you need to. Don’t forget about self-care when you’re making strides toward your personal goals.