Fitness is an important pillar of health, but when motivation is lacking, it can sometimes be difficult to find the energy or the time to crush your workout goals.
Some people think about it as something that must get done—a task or chore that has to be checked of the list every day. If that sounds like you, and that’s the way you like to get your heart rate up regularly, then great!
But for many, having another thing on the to-do list creates more anxiety because you’re already overloaded. It’s hard to find the motivation to exercise amidst the daily grind, but what if fitness wasn’t on your to-do list?
What if you considered it as important as getting eight hours of sleep each night or eating a nourishing, healthy breakfast?
It’s time to reframe fitness as self-care
While the benefits of fitness reach further than a face mask or massage, at its most fundamental level, fitness (and fueling correctly to facilitate fitness) are important components in the quest for optimal health.
May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s always a great time to highlight how fitness and exercise are truly self-care essentials—just as important as meditation or taking your favorite yoga class—to help reduce stress and anxiety.
So, how exactly do you reframe fitness as self-care? You can’t exactly just wake up one morning and decide you love it just as much as your favorite TV show. It’s takes time and even some motivation of its own to get used to.
But with just a few simple steps, fitness can be an important part of your self-care toolbox.
Change your mindset
Thinking about exercise as something you get to do rather than something you have to do can go a long way to help shift your mindset around how you prioritize working out.
Yes, working out can be hard, but think of the endorphin release you feel afterwards and how great the rest of your day is after a workout. You’re usually more productive, have more energy, and are in a better mood, too.
Now, if those things don’t feel like self-care, I don’t know what does!
Do what you love and mix it up
You try different types of facials at the beauty salon, right? Working out should be no different. You don’t have to join a gym and lift weights or run 5 miles a day.
Do what you enjoy and keep things fresh by trying different things. It can be jogging around the park with your kids or taking a walk during your lunch break at work. Try new things and think about moving your body in ways that feel more like fun self-care versus a grueling workout.
This is an important one. If you view exercise as important as other appointments in your life, you’re less likely to skip or reschedule it. Imagine waiting at the gym or park is an important client or potential investor for your business.
Honor yourself by honoring the commitments you make to yourself. If you tell yourself you’ll go to the gym, treat it as a sacred agreement.
View your workouts like an appointment on your calendar and show up. All of your workouts, even the small ones add up to big things!
Avoid an all-or-nothing approach
This is a common issue with exercising but even more important when you’re trying to reframe working out as a form of self-care.
If you’re continuing to hate on your workouts and can’t seem to get to a place where you consider them self-care orientated, don’t give up! Shifting this approach can be difficult, but it is possible. Know there will be days when you are not feeling it, and that is ok. Do what feels right that day and then get back at it the next.
Why do you work out? Ask yourself this question often. Reminding yourself of your “why” is an important part of your fitness journey as you work to reframe exercise. Motivation is a crucial driver for success but at times can be hard to find.
Instead of constantly trying to find it, give gratitude to your body for being strong enough to workout and exercise. When you view exercise as something that will help your body stay strong and healthy while supporting your mental health, the pressure is lifted, and it can become something you love.