As we become more aware of the importance of mental wellness, the effects of stress, and the value of balance there is a big push to participate in activities in the name of self-love or self-care. This is fantastic and undeniably important in this culture of go-go-go, but are you hurting your health by "loving" yourself?
If you’ve ever met either of us TrainMeFit coaches you know that we are not anti-indulgence. Enjoying a meal out with friends, partaking in a glass of wine and visiting that new donut shop are things of joy that we do not ask anyone to completely omit from their lives; however, we ask members to think critically if these once-every-so often-indulgences become habit in the name of self-care. If the point of making time for yourself is to preserve your mental and physical well-being, shouldn't the activity be beneficial to your overall health?
This point becomes especially important if the thing done in the name of self-care becomes something you regret and beat yourself up about later. If that donut was great in the moment, but then you become angry at yourself for eating it or "feel fat" afterwards, you have only brought more negativity into your life. Nobody needs that! It is important to recognize these hurtful cycles.
I think balance is achieved when we stop identifying things that are good for us as something that we have to do rather than something that we want to do. Exercise is a great example of this. Why is our "me time" sitting on the couch for a few hours watching TV (which doesn't typically make us feel good), and attending an exercise session (which leaves us feeling confident, invigorated and healthy) is something from which we need a break? Maybe if we can rewire our thinking we can take even better care of ourselves.
The next time a less healthy way of taking a break is calling your name, think about the consequences of those actions. Will eating those desserts bring you closer to your weight loss goal? Will lying on the couch contribute to a more positive mental state? Will over indulging in wine make you better able to tackle the next day? The choices we make day in and day out are what shape our self-perception, our health and our fitness. What better way is there to take care of yourself than to make time improve these aspects of our lives?
Instead of saying "I have to go exercise", say "I get to go exercise" or "I want to go exercise". Instead of saying "I don't want to cook something" say "I get to nourish myself" and remind yourself of how fortunate you are to have access to fresh, healthy foods. Instead of saying "I deserve this bag of chips" say "I deserve to treat myself to foods that make me feel better long-term". As we've said before, perspective is key and once we change our attitude towards a task it suddenly becomes something we enjoy doing!
Again, nobody is suggesting you permanently cut out wine, dessert or time on the couch! We are simply asking that self-care habits more often than not contribute to our overall well being, don't make us feel bad about ourselves later, and improve our self-perception, our health and our fitness.
So what can we do when we want to carve out time for ourselves? Take a look at our suggestions below and try to begin introducing them to your self care routines:
Find a new trail or park to take your dog for a hike
Find a healthy version of your favourite comfort food to cook in your pajamas, on a date night, or with one serving of red wine and your favourite music playing.
The simple act of turning off your phone
Make time to attend an extra workout session to boost your energy and stamina
Try a new activity like indoor rock climbing, a spin class, or ax throwing
Find a new vegan and/or organic restaurant to try when you want to go out for dinner
Swap TV time for reading a book, taking a nap or trying meditation
Most importantly, always remember that you are worth the effort it takes.