The Golden Mean: Find the Perfect Balance Between Your Fitness and Self-CareBy Sheila Olson
The Golden Mean: Find the Perfect Balance Between Your Fitness and Self-Care
Aristotle was convinced that maintaining a medium between two extremes—excess and deficiency—was the path to happiness. This concept is called the golden mean, and it can be applied to your exercise routine and overall self-care. It works for people in all walks of life—whether you’re recovering from substance abuse, an eating disorder, mental or emotional abuse, or are just looking to live a healthier life. Here are some tips on how to find your golden mean with fitness and self-care.
Make your goals doable but challenging
When you’re figuring out a routine, be sure not to make it too easy. You want to set realistic goals, but not ones that will be achieved with little effort. In other words, you want to work for it; otherwise your new lifestyle will likely be short-lived. Conquering uncharted territory evokes confidence and builds self-worth. If you hate cardio movements, start with walking 20 minutes a day. If your cholesterol is out of control, put down the bacon. If your legs are sore after walking up a flight of stairs, spend 15 minutes on the stair climber. Setting goals that are doable and challenging will motivate and inspire you to achieve them.
Make it fun
Though challenging yourself is important, you want to be able to enjoy your life. After all, that’s kind of the whole point of self-care. This means that you don’t want to overdo it. Don’t go from the couch to doing CrossFit six days a week. Make your goals measurable and set them to a reasonable timeline. Also, try to find fun ways to get exercise. Rekindle your high school love for hoops, get some laps in at the pool, or get a dog and go hiking. Be creative and you’ll realize that the possibilities are endless. Just make sure it’s something that will actually give you a workout.
Eat well…most of the time
Any kind of life coach will tell you about the importance of a good diet. Along with exercise and sleep, what you eat is among the most vital components to your health and happiness. If you eat well, then it will improve your will and ability to work out efficiently. Likewise, if you exercise well, it’s likely to make you desire healthier foods. The downfall of many who change their diet, only to end up returning to honey buns for dinner, is that they try to follow a regimen that is too rigid. By all means, find foods that are delicious and healthy. But also don’t be afraid to throw in a good splurge meal every now and then.
Make your schedule work for you
Another way to balance your fitness and self-care is to create a schedule that fits your needs. It will take time to figure out what works, but learning to dictate your schedule, instead of the other way around, will go a long way in helping you lead a healthy and long-lasting lifestyle. Evaluate your commitments to family, friends, work and leisure, and decide what exercise and sleep schedule fits best in your life. Since life can be unpredictable, you may never have full control of your schedule, but it’s important to have some structure in place to help you flourish in the long run.
Exercise is great for addiction recovery
Exercise is well-known to help people recover from drug and alcohol addiction. During running, weight lifting, swimming, and other types of physical movement, the brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that block pain signals in the brain and can lead to a feeling of euphoria and reward, similar to that of drugs and alcohol. Many addiction survivors claim that this release of chemicals can serve as an alternative reward and that it helps them to stay clean and sober. Exercise is also attributed to promoting better sleep; so it’s easy to see how the combination of a steady fitness and sleep routine, along with a balanced diet, can help people turn the corner to a better life.
Finding the perfect balance with your fitness and self-care is not an easy task, but it’s well worth it. You’ll notice that you sleep better, feel better, think more clearly and stress out less. If you challenge yourself, have fun, eat well and dictate your schedule, you’ll witness yourself becoming happier and more confident with each day. Remember not to overdo it and to enjoy the process.
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