Fitness and self-care: How to merge the two together!

Finding the time to fit in exercise, work, friends, family and overall self-care is hard. We all lead busy lives and have many roles and responsibilities that we take on. We often find ourselves putting our work, family or our friends first, when in reality sometimes we need to put ourselves first. We usually push self-care to the back and taking care of ourselves comes last in order of all the things we need to do. To be able to create and sustain a balanced fitness lifestyle, we need to look at more than just how often you’re working out, what exercises you're doing and what weight your lifting, but to sometimes take a more holistic approach to strengthen not only our bodies but our minds too.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways in which you can balance self-care with a fitness routine and merge them to fit more easily into your busy schedule. This can be done simply by finding ways to integrate things you love into your exercise routine while taking care of your body and mental health at the same time.

The first one is BEING present and completely engaged in your workout. It is important to commit 100% of you to your dedicated workout time. Whether you have put aside 15 minutes or an hour, make sure you have no distractions. If you find yourself looking at your phone, scrolling through emails or checking social media, your exercise time will feel more like an annoyance or something that you have to rush. Instead, create a rule to keep your phone out of sight, so you can escape and truly enjoy the workout, allowing your mind to be 100% in it.

Another way is by CREATING a space to work out in. Having a designated space that is quiet and safe is important, whether it be in your home or in a gym. Creating an area where you can get your workout done and where you can escape from your busy schedule for a small period of time does wonder for your mind. It helps to create boundaries and keeps work and play separate. This space could be a place where you meditate, workout, stretch, do yoga or even just have a few moments of silence. Having a spot where you can go that is dedicated to moving your body helps to ease your mind.

Another great way to combine self-care through fitness is getting out into NATURE. Whether it be a bushwalk, a bike ride or a swim, getting out into the open, fresh air rather than being cooped up inside a gym or your home can sometimes make the world of a difference. Try to get outdoors at least once a week, even if it's just a walk around your block or taking the kids to the park. You will find that not only it works on your physical health but also your mental wellbeing. Being out in fresh air can help clarify your mind during a busy or stressful day and improve your brain function, producing endorphins to create a positive change in your overall state of mind.

The last thing is to exercise with a FRIEND. Sometimes working out alone all the time can decrease your motivation. Adding a friend, a partner or a trainer into the mix can not only boost your mood but add some change into your routine. They can help encourage you to keep healthy habits or achieve challenging lifestyle goals that you may have set. It's motivating as you can use the person as a bit of healthy competition, pushing yourself harder than you may do on your own. Even joining a fitness group class is a great way to meet new people, create bonds and friendships and it's nice to know that you're all on a similar journey and its an excellent way to meet like-minded people.

Finding a way to balance and merge looking after yourself, your mind and working out will help you in many aspects of life. Self-care can mean many different things to many people, but it's essentially small simple acts in your everyday life that makes you feel good inside and out. Whatever makes you happy in your day to day life is so important to make it a priority. Adding these small tips into your exercise routine not only will make working out more enjoyable, but is very beneficial to your physical and mental wellbeing.