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Everyone has a slightly different take on what a personalized self-care plan looks like. Some focus on the luxuries, like an outing for mani/pedis, while others consider lounging in a hammock devouring a good book, a rare pleasure. Or, some enjoy time socializing with friends., particularly friends who support each other’s core belief systems. But total self-care, that benefits both your mind and body fully has to include a little bit of sweat to go along with the indulgences. After all, while these wonderful self-care rewards provide plenty of great mind space, they aren’t doing a ton for the body, or physical health, side of the picture.

According to the experts at GoodTherapy.org, self-care has to include three core components to be comprehensive.

First, is mental health care. This can include things like we’ve already talked about, such as enjoying mindless time on books or pampering oneself. But it can also include more directed self-care routines, like meditation or journaling, which both provide mindfulness time that is scientifically linked to improving your mental health.

Second is social or spiritual self-care. This is about visiting those friends and sharing time with people that have the same value systems. It can be at church or just through time spent together. Spiritual self-care requires operating from a position of gratitude to be most successful.

And lastly, physical self-care is the third component. This clearly means the sweat portion of your self-care plan, aka the hard part. Healthy adults should get at least 75 to 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity each week according to The Harvard School of Public Health. The easier, but equally important parts of self-care, are proper rest and good eating habits.

Self-care is often neglected because of underlying reasons. These can include depression, addiction, domestic abuse, dementia, or even several more complex mental health issues like psychosis. And yet, self-care may be one of the easiest ways to work on advocating for one’s own health, and yet often people feel too crippled to start. For example, physical fitness is scientifically proven to help with both addiction and depression. It’s no guessing game, it works!

If you’re suffering from one of these health setbacks, or if you’re just looking to make a fully comprehensive self-care plan, it’s time to add the “hard part.” But before you go getting too defeated, remember there are simple ways to add physical fitness to your routine without making yourself miserable.

Let’s look at several ways you can sneak fitness into your day without making it feel like the “hard part.”

  • Select a new route – Instead of driving to work or errands, walk or bike there. Same goes for places you’re forced to drive to, instead of scanning the parking lot for the closest spot, find the spot farthest away and walk.
  • Find new ways to kill time – Maybe you’re sitting in your car waiting for your child’s practice to end or waiting in the kitchen for water to boil; use idle time to do strength training like lunges or pushups with your bodyweight. According to Peak Fitness, strength training changes your body’s aging biomarkers, and in one study it genetically turned the clock back ten years.
  • Find stairmasters everywhere – You don’t have to be a member of a gym to find a good stairmaster, instead find stairs wherever you go. Don’t hit the elevator button, instead find the stairs.
  • Multi-task while watching your favorite show – Pick up some inexpensive resistance bands and some dumbbells and stash them in your family room. When your favorite program starts, give them a workout.
  • Get cleaning – Spring is here and it’s time for annual spring cleaning. Fifteen minutes of cleaning usually equals around 80 calories burned.

As your set about adding fitness into your self-care plan, it’s important to remember there’ll be no surer path to giving up than if you overdo it. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your new physically fit body won’t be either. Instead of waking up in pain and agony, or worst yet ending up with a stress injury, pace yourself. You’ll find by slowly adding physical fitness to your day, you’ll be improving your whole health, both body and mind.

 Guest Post By: Susan Treadway; Rehab Holistics