The importance of adding self-care to your training routine
Ready for a little R&R? A little “me-time”? Let’s go!
The importance of adding self-care to your training routine
Are you familiar with the concept of self-care? It might seem perfectly obvious, but it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of our overall wellbeing. And that doesn’t just apply to professional athletes; the same goes for fitness enthusiasts, like so many of us.
The self-care formula isn’t just about physical exercise. There’s way more to it than that: getting a good night’s sleep or even making new friends are also essential ingredients in a self-care recipe that can make our day-to-day lives that much better. And it all goes towards honing your physical performance!
What is self-care?
Self-care has never been more important than it is right now. It’s a real buzzword ! So, what’s all the fuss about?
The definition of self-care is “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote and maintain health, prevent disease and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.
In other words, self-care is a pretty broad concept. Whether it’s about healthy habits or even everyday activities in your personal life, such as socialising with feel-good friends or engaging in alternative practices such as meditation, the term is quite extensive. We’re covering the basics for you to know a bit more about it, ready?
Why is self-care important?
Let’s face it, as fitness nuts, we often push our bodies to their limit in order to reach a target, don’t we? Even beyond the fitness world, you might end up pulling several all-nighters in a row to meet a work deadline, go for years on end without taking a holiday, or subjecting yourself to a punishing training regimen. These are just a few examples of the kind of
constant exertion that can actually prove harmful to our bodies.
Those who play sports, even at an amateur level, also run the risk of injury. And under those conditions, things can only head one way. There will come a time when your performance takes a nosedive or, even worse, you might have to break off from what you’re doing altogether in order to recover. And it’s not what we’re aiming for, right?
The importance of self-care can also be underlined by drawing a parallel with the pre-flight safety demonstration on a plane. When the flight attendants take you through the safety procedures, they explain that if oxygen masks are needed, you must put yours on first before helping children or people with special needs with their masks.
Self-care is, well... just like that oxygen mask. It’s essential to take care of yourself first before you can turn your attention to your exercise routine and day-to-day activities! So take a bit of time for yourself, you know that “me-time” that we’re all thinking of?
Ways to level up your self-care routine
So, you get the idea: sprinkling little seeds of self-care throughout the days is actually GOOD. But how should you go about it? Well, let’s first break down the two main types of self-care – physical and emotional.
Then, once we’ve covered the basics…well, it's only a matter of building them into your routine. Simple right? Let’s go!
Physical self-care practices for your everyday life
Think of your body as a temple, your dwelling place. You must maintain this temple if you want to have the energy and attitude you need for your training. Let’s take a look at some of our tips for physical self-care.
● Adopt a consistent sleep schedule. Everyone has their own sleep cycle, but as a rule an average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night, according to the US National Sleep Foundation. The more reinvigorating your night’s rest, the better it is for your health, wellbeing and general get-up-and-go!
● Prioritise a healthy, balanced. diet You are what you eat! You’ve heard people sing the praises of a colourful, richly varied plate of food, right? They’re not lying! You can also feed your way to wellness by experimenting with foods and recipes from different cultures as it can also be a great source of pleasure and discovery!
● Take time off It’s okay to have some rest days. It’s actually great for you pro-ams, who are always looking to surpass yourselves, to recharge your batteries. Actually when we exercise, our muscles shorten in order to perform movements, but in doing so they can cause microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. So that’s why we need to put our feet up! That’s when our cells repair themselves and the tissue recovers. If you’re working out every day, remember to set aside at least a day or two of rest every week.
Make time for me-time with emotional self-care
If your body is a sacred temple, then your mind is the altar. You might be familiar with the Latin saying ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’, which translates as ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’. We’ve set out some suggestions below on how to practise emotional self-care.
● Forge new and healthy friendships Continuing to make friends throughout your life—and maintaining existing friendships that do you good—really pays off. Friends aren’t just there as a shoulder to cry on or as companions on a night out. Friends increase your sense of belonging and purpose, reduce stress, foster self-confidence and can even help to boost your health, reducing the risk of issues such as depression. Now, we’re not suggesting that more friends are always better. We’re simply saying that maybe a new friend or two or just deeper connections with the friends you already have could work wonders for your health.
On top of all that, getting to know new people can spur you on to take up a new hobby or adopt healthier habits, among other things. Who has never looked for a sports buddy when lacking motivation?
● Talk to your friends and family. It might seem obvious, but most of us will find our support network in our family and closest friends. So, if you’re feeling listless, stressed out or just a bit down, try setting up a video call with someone dear to you. This can lift your spirits even just a little bit!
● Set aside time to do something that you really love. Nothing tops taking the time to immerse yourself in your hobbies and interests. Anything goes! So set aside a few minutes for you and don’t feel guilty about taking it. You might indulge in a viewing marathon of your favourite series, head to a bookshop to pick out something new to read, go on a long walk … you name it! All these are healthy habits that could make up a self-care routine.
● Give meditation a try. Meditation is all about finding a moment of calm to breathe deeply, clear your mind and connect with yourself. The goal is to attain inner peace through breathing and mental focus. It can be as simple as breathing calmly and deeply for a few moments while trying to concentrate on your own body. But taking some meditation classes or setting aside a special time and place to meditate every day can also prove worthwhile. Apps can help, but silence also works wonders on its own.
Now that you know how to practise self-care, it’s time to draw up your own list and move on to the best part: actually doing it.
Written by: Green Park Content
Any medical advice and views expressed are those of the author; readers should obtain medical advice.
 Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School. 6 self-care steps for a pandemic – always important, now essential.
 World Health Organization. Self-care for health.
 World Health Organization. Information sheet – Alcohol.
 World Health Organization. Information sheet – Tobacco.
 Health Direct, 2021. Sleep. [online] Healthdirect.gov.au. Available at: <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sleep> [Accessed 29 November 2021].
 Psicologia em Estudo, Maringá, v. 13, n. 2, p. 257-265, abr./jun. 2008. RELACIONAMENTOS PESSOAIS E SOCIAIS: AMIZADE EM ADULTO. Available at: https://www.scielo.br/pdf/pe/v13n2/a08v13n2
 Mental Health America. Taking Good Care of Yourself.
 American Psychological Association. Self-care has never been more important.
 Brazilian Ministry of Health. Como a atividade física pode te ajudar a aliviar os sintomas da ansiedade.
 Hirshkowitz Max, Whiton K, Albert SM et al. Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Short Communication. Volume 1, Issue 1, P40-43, Mar 2015. Available at: https://www.sleephealthjournal.org/article/S2352-7218%2815%2900015-7/fulltext
 Brazilian Ministry of Health. Healthy Eating. Available at: https://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoes/alimentacao_saudavel.pdf
 Alencar TAMD, Matias KFS. Princípios fisiológicos do aquecimento e alongamento muscular na atividade esportiva Rev Bras Med Esporte (Brazilian Journal of Sports Medicine) vol. 16 no. 3 Niterói May/June 2010. Available at: https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1517-86922010000300015#:~:text=O%20encurtamento%20do%20sistema%20muscular,da%20t%C3%A9cnica%20nas%20habilidades%20esportivas
Curious to know more?