Self-Care is very much a trending hashtag at the moment, with more and more people signing up to the notion that sometimes it is pertinent to turn their attention to themselves and to look after their health and psychological well-being.
What most of us will tend to associate with this notion, is taking hot baths, and going through elaborate grooming rituals.
And you know what? That’s great! Looking after yourself like this can help to boost your mood, it can help you to look better, and it can give you a moment of peace and calm amongst everything else you have going on.
BUT that is not the only form of self-care.
What is just as important – if perhaps not more so – is to do the things that are perhaps a little less indulgent. The things that will improve your well-being in the long term.
And that includes working out and exercising.
How is Working Out Self-Care?
Working out might seem like the antithesis of self-care to many. If you think self-care means pampering, then the thought of going to a cold, sweaty gym and working out hard probably doesn’t gel!
But here’s the thing: working out is looking after yourself in a different way. And the way it transforms your health and your short-term mood makes it MORE than enough of a benefit to count.
When we work out, we push ourselves hard. But as a reward, our brains (pituitary glands to be precise) will release vast amounts of reward hormones like serotonin and dopamine, which will help us to feel happier and that will even relax our bodies and reduce any feelings of pain we might be experiencing! (Serotonin is the feel-good hormone and also a “natural painkiller.”)
Moreover, working out is your way of defying those negative feelings and emotions – those feelings of wanting to roll over and go back to bed.
When you train despite feeling unwell, you push through barriers. And you tell yourself that you will always have the motivation and drive to be the best you.
How to Train for Better Self-Care
The key here though, is not to make this into a gruelling and punishing workout. Rather, it should be something that you enjoy, and it should provide what is sometimes referred to as the “MED” (Minimum Effective Dose). That means you are going to be doing just enough to trigger positive changes in your body and mind, without getting to the point where you practically have to wipe yourself up off the floor…