Self-care goes a long way for any person’s fitness goals. Recovery is a crucial part of any program whether you’re focusing on strength, building cardio, losing fats, or gaining muscle mass. Unfortunately, people tend to overlook self-care thinking that the more they work, the more that they can see better results.
Stress can slow down your progress in different ways. You might notice that you’re not losing the way you want even if you’re putting in more work than usual. You might also find yourself moodier than usual.
In a study, stressful situations can increase your cortisol level by up to 9 times compared to your relaxed state. Cortisol, also known as the body’s stress hormone, can have negative effects if its level gets too high. This can lead to rapid weight gain, blood sugar imbalances, and even muscle catabolism.
That being said, self-care plays an important role, especially for an active individual. Here are some self-care strategies that can help you in different ways.
Know what causes you to lose sleep
With people’s busy schedules, it’s common to encounter individuals who haven’t slept for eight hours straight at night. Individuals who sleep less are likely to feel fatigued and feel sleepy during the daytime. It’s also common for sleep-deprived individuals to exhibit sedentary behaviors due to low energy levels. Plus, those who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to having conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Sleep can play a major role not only in your mood but even in your body’s immune responses.
So how do you get enough sleep? People don’t get enough sleep for a variety of reasons. Some tend to drink too much caffeine during their waking hours while others tend to feel too stressed that it has already affected their sleep pattern.
One way to improve your sleeping habits is to know what keeps you awake at night. Do you drink coffee close to your bedtime? Perhaps, you tend to still use your mobile phone while you’re already in bed? You will have to first determine the reasons why you are awake at night.
Some people make it a habit to do physical activities 3 to 4 hours before going to bed. This way, they get to feel the urge to sleep due to feeling exhausted. A good way to monitor your sleep pattern is to have a notebook and write down the activities that may have contributed to good or bad sleep. This will make you more self-aware of what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
Yoga for 10 to 15 minutes daily
Yoga is a good way to stretch inactive muscles, make your body more flexible, and strengthen your core. Yoga shouldn’t be difficult. It is possible to start progress from beginner-friendly poses to more advanced poses as you increase your flexibility. A short yoga session of 10 to 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference in the long run.
Ever wondered why camping gear is such a big hit everywhere? That’s because people realized just how good nature is for their mental health. There’s a Japanese concept called Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. In one study, it has been discovered that forest bathing or exploring the outdoors has a positive psychological effect on a person. It has also been discovered to improve mood states and lower blood pressure among individuals.
Go for high-protein snacks as an alternative to sweets
A lot of people tend to go for sweets whenever they feel stressed or hungry. What they don’t know is that it only worsens the situation. Sugary treats can make you feel energized at first, but will always leave you crashing a few minutes after. Make it a habit to turn to high-protein meals whenever you feel hungry or if you need an energy boost. Nuts and hard-boiled eggs are some of the few treats that you might want to have.
High-protein meals are better since not only does it make you feel full, it also helps in your overall recovery. It can help maintain your muscle mass which can also help boost your body’s metabolism.
Choose foods that can lower your stress
A lot of people whenever they feel anxious stick to sweets. What happens when people eat sweets after a stressful event is that it triggers the release of dopamine that signals the event to be positive. It means that eating sweets in stressful situations are being reinforced leading to unwanted calories and even spiking up your blood sugar levels.
Instead, what you might want are foods that can reduce stress. Omega-3 rich foods are believed to have the ability to improve mood. On the other hand, foods containing vitamins C and B6 can help reduce stress.
Drink at least 2 liters of water every day
Water contains zero calories. Also, it is needed by the body to perform a lot of its functions. Yet, a lot of people forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. Make it a habit to drink at least 2 liters of water every day. This can help improve your mood and even make your body burn more calories. Plus, you can avoid stress eating just by staying hydrated.
Self-care plays an important role in your mood, recovery, and overall health. These self-care tips are not exactly difficult to do. Unfortunately, many overlook these things in their everyday routines. Try doing any of these things and enjoy their benefits to your health.