Staying in shape and fit is something to be proud of. To reap all the benefits from exercise, your body requires sleep. Your muscles need time to recover in between workouts.
Ideally, you sleep restfully for about eight hours per night. This allows your body time to rest and heal. While you’re sleeping, your body is busy working to repair and cleanse itself. It’s easier said than done, getting eight hours of sleep.
Picture a parent giving their child a bath and bedtime story before bed. This is a common routine for kids, but why don’t we do the same thing for ourselves?
Count back nine hours from when your alarm is scheduled to sound. Wind down before bed with a relaxing routine. You’ll be more likely to get quality sleep and it could make it easier to doze off. Up to an hour before bedtime, choose calming activities. Try a hot bath, reading a book or listening to soft music.
Avoid stressful television shows, books or conversations. Make a to-do list, to get everything off your mind before your head hits the pillow.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t end with a good nights sleep. It continues throughout the day. Use these self-care strategies as often as you can, to care for your body, mind and spirit.
- Hydrate – The body is comprised of 80% water. Many beverages we consume de-hydrate us. Soda, coffee and energy drinks are prime suspects. Stick to water or super-hydrate with coconut water. Eight glasses a day is a good place to start and more if you’re exercising.
- Nourish – Your muscles need rich nutrients to function properly and re-cover from exercise. Exercise is a form of stress. It breaks down muscle tissue, so that the muscles can rebuild and get stronger. To rebuild, your muscles need a balance of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats. It’s worth the investment to consult with a nutritionist or attend a class to learn more about this subject.
- Meditate – This can be done for moments while you’re sitting on the toilet, for five minutes at your desk or for 20 minutes on a lunch break. If you’re not sure how to meditate, start by closing your eyes and breathing. We have five senses that are bringing information into our mind all day: touch, sight, smell, taste and sound. Shut down sight and sound momentarily – your mind and body will benefit from the break.
- Walk outside – Natural light and nature are beneficial for our mind and spirit. Many people exercise intensely to achieve goals. It’s nice to give your body a break, with a gentle walk. Stop and smell the roses once in awhile. It’ll lower stress levels and enhance your quality of life.
- Massage – Treat yourself to a massage therapy session. You can also try acupuncture or a yoga class. Do something gentle once or twice a month that allows your muscles to stretch and unwind. This helps balance all of the time they spend contracting.
- Journal – Take time each day to write down frustrations you have and also things that you’re grateful for. Try this first thing upon waking or right before bed, as a winding down activity. Stress can be held in our bodies through our emotions. Release some of that tension by putting it on paper and throwing it away. Hang up what you’re grateful somewhere that you can see it.
If you found this helpful, please share it with your friends. They’ll thank you for the ideas!