Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept, in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety and stress.
When asked the question: “Do you take care of yourself?” most of us will answer “yes” – most of us would even think, “What kind of question is that? Of course, I care about myself.”
When asked, “In what ways do you take care of yourself?” — well, that’s where the tricky part begins.
What is self-care?
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety and stress. It’s also key to a good relationship with yourself and others.
Self-care is about improving ourselves, having more energy and being more content with the events happening in and around us.
Self-care involves a daily routine to achieve these goals by implementing the three core methods of self-care which, when used together, can lead to a better well-being and happiness within.
One of these core components to taking care of ourselves is exercise. Exercise can help improve your mood, give you energy, and even extend your lifespan.
Exercise is not just beneficial physically, but also mentally
. By engaging in vigorous exercise, which is defined as “heart racing and body sweating” for 20 to 60 minutes a week.
Exercise increases cardiovascular activity, burns extra calories, but most importantly, it releases endorphins in the brain, which have a role in reducing stress and managing depression, as well as decreases the stress hormones in the body, like cortisol.
Exercise can also be a great outlet for frustrations and anger (like weight training). It can take your mind off of problems and troubling thoughts, just by placing you in a different environment and forcing you to focus on your deep breathing.
Research has shown that even minimal exercise is better than none, so even starting with a walk around the block a few times, increase your heart rate and get you moving. Also, it can be really beneficial to start an exercise routine with friends which allow you to motivate each other day-to-day.
Once you have done moderate exercise for a few weeks, you can increase the intensity, which yields even more benefits, and more feelings of happiness!
Some easy ways to start exercising include cycling, jogging, Zumba, swimming, and dancing.
Yoga is also another tool to use which incorporates small meditation
, increased flexibility and learning about yourself (inside or outside). Yoga
is a personal favourite of mine!
Overall, for motivation, remember the benefits of exercise:
- getting better sleep
- thinking more clearly
- having more energy for the day
- having more patience with your little ones
- speed up your metabolism
- improved cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugars