You’re getting your life back on track. You’re determined to finally commit to an exercise routine, fix your diet, and make self-care a priority. But what does that actually look like? If you’ve been running yourself ragged for years, placing career and social ladders over personal well-being, the reset button can be hard to find.
People looking for a change often approach health like it’s all or nothing. As a result, they go all-in on gym memberships, diet plans, and cleanses. But spending all of your time at the gym and in the kitchen leaves little room for anything else. Neglecting hobbies, relationships, and relaxation simply isn’t sustainable over the long term.
For lasting change, you need to balance diet and fitness with other kinds of self-care. Here’s how you can do it.
Schedule ExerciseWhether you go to the gym, head outdoors, or work out in a home gym, it’s smart to schedule workouts into your week. This promotes habit formation as you grow accustomed to working out at the same time on the same days. It also enforces rest days, which are important for recovering and preventing injuries. And for people with addictive personalities, it prevents an exercise habit from morphing into an exercise addiction. This is particularly important for people using exercise to help their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. While exercise can be a powerful tool for overcoming cravings and negative thinking in recovery, transferring addiction from one habit to another is a dangerous path.
Plan MealsCooking a healthy dinner doesn’t need to be a multi-hour affair. You can eat healthy without sacrificing your evenings when you plan and prep meals in advance. Pick a day of the week for shopping and preparing meals. Cook staples like grains and legumes in advance and chop vegetables and meats into meal-sized portions. Using repeat ingredients saves time and reduces food waste, and it doesn’t have to mean eating the same thing every night. Check out these lunch recipes from MyRecipes for ideas on how to reinvent the same ingredients into several recipes.
Prioritize HobbiesHobbies aren’t just for kids. No matter your age, hobbies offer important benefits like stress relief, increased confidence and self-esteem, and a basis for meaningful relationships with others. But when you’re chasing career success and trying to keep your home life in order, it’s hard to find time for leisure pursuits. Instead of waiting to find time, make it. Reserve one evening or morning each week to pursue your hobbies. Whether you spend an hour reading, getting your hands dirty in the workshop, or tending to your garden, you’ll come out the other side feeling refreshed and more in tune with yourself.
Appreciate DowntimeIn a world where everyone is obsessed with talking about how busy they are, downtime can seem like a frivolous luxury. In reality, stepping away from your mental load is incredibly important for wellness. As Mental Health America points out, skipping out on relaxation leaves you tense and stressed out, which increases the risk of health issues ranging from digestive problems to depression. Spend a little longer in bed on weekend mornings, cuddle with your pets, play with your kids after work, take a walk while the sun is out, and practice meditation when you need deep relaxation.
While these tips are simple, implementing them isn’t easy. It’s hard to make time for yourself in a world that constantly tells you what you can produce is more important than who you are. But when you silence the noise and truly focus on personal wellness and self-care, the results are incredible. If you want to feel more at peace and in tune with yourself, this is advice you can’t afford to ignore.