Important files and paperwork are stacked high on your office table, you’re in the middle of a busy work week and your calendar is completely overtaken by events and meetings. In the roadrunner of a life that we lead, self-care and psychological well-being takes a back seat until life starts taking a serious toll on your health.
It’s surprising how people can manage to accomplish so much within a single day and still make time for exercise. To make your workout as much of a psychological exercise as a physical one, add self-care to your gym routine to achieve a more peaceful and relaxed state of mind. Here are a few tips from health experts that can help you prioritize self-care while getting your sweat on in the gym.
Perform Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises, often ignored by most of us, are a great way to relieve stress and regulates blood-flow to the nervous system. To perform the breathing exercise correctly, take in a deep breath for 4 seconds, hold for another 7 seconds and then exhale slowly for 8 seconds. This 4-7-8 breathing rule is something most fitness instructors swear by.
Get Off the Social Media When Exercising
You’ll often see people glued to their cellphones in the gym, and checking social media instead of paying attention to their workout. Fitness author Holly Perkins says that she turns off the wi-fi on her phone when she checks into the gym and focuses solely on the mind-muscle connection while performing any exercise.
The best way you can add self-care to your exercise routine is by putting 100% of your focus and energy into your workout and completely disconnecting yourself from the world of social media. Think of your time in the gym as a mental escape from your busy routine, and use the opportunity to cleanse your thoughts and enjoy the workout.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Spend at least 5 minutes before your workout to perform dynamic stretches. They can open up your entire body and get you warmed up for a great sweat session. Use this time to perform a few breathing exercises and hydrate your body with H2O. Stretching is equally important at the end of your workout to cool down your body slowly and prevent injuries.
Understand the Purpose of the Exercises
Most people focus so much on the time they spend on the treadmill or the number of reps they perform for a certain exercise that they forget to ask themselves the purpose behind what they are doing.
Why are you performing a certain exercise? What do you hope to achieve from it? How does it make you feel? These are important questions that can help you track progress more efficiently.
Choose an Outfit that You Like
Looking good in the gym is often synonymous with feeling good. Most personal trainers admit that their workout gear immensely affects their performance and confidence in the gym. If you wear your favorite workout gear to the gym, you’re more likely to work harder and feel less self-conscious.
Wake Up Early
There is something about early mornings that leave you feeling fresh and rejuvenated the entire day. Fitness geek Becca Lucas says that she loves waking up at the crack of dawn and spend some quiet time in her bed with a cup of coffee, listening to the chirping of the birds. Waking up early also means that she can enjoy a healthy breakfast and come up with a game plan to attack the rest of the day.
Keep a Journal
Emily Abbate, a certified personal trainer says that she keeps a gratitude journal on her bedside table and writes down three things that she is thankful for every morning. This practice helps her start off the day on a positive note and helps her feel less stressed throughout the day.