Part of adopting a new health and fitness regimen is accepting that your body, mind, and routines are in transition. And transition can be difficult, even painful. For reals.
Last week I talked about how making small changes will increase my likelihood of fully living this lifestyle shift. And I absolutely believe that is the right path for me. But – I’ll be honest – I was also expecting it to be a very easy transition. And that part was incorrect.
News flash: I’m not in my 20s anymore.
Starting something new can be really exciting. And in those moments of excitement, I tend to get a little too enthusiastic – which leads to injury. So, sure enough, by Day 6, I overdid it. Big time. It took me 4 days to shake the headaches and exhaustion and, a week later, I’m still more tired than normal. But in the moment, I’ll be honest – I never would have guessed I was pushing too hard.
You see, when you start new eating habits, the shift can be exhausting for your body. Add a more intense fitness routine and you get where I’m going: it’s exhausting. Your stomach biota is not only having a “WTF” moment, your whole body is working hard to keep up with a big increase in physical activity – and it needs more fuel. Good fuel, yes. Healthy fuel, certainly. But definitely more than what I was giving it.
Which forced me to take a hard look at self-care.
Self-care is different for everyone. In my ideal world, I would get regular sports massages and soak in a hot tub every day – which is exactly why I held on to my spa gym membership for so long. Sure, it was ridiculously far from my house. Sure, it was twice the cost of the gyms around my town. But it had a hot tub. And massages. And wonderful child care.
In my less ideal, real-world life – I take hot baths, hydrate, exfoliate, and mud mask my way to healthy skin and repaired limbs. And I do this partially because relaxation is awesome. And I do it partly because if I don’t do it, I know what will happen – I’ll get tired. And frustrated. And undo all the work I just did.
And that’s exactly what happened.
In all of the years I went to a spa gym, I knew one unwavering fact: the hot tub was more than a place to relax. It was critical to shortened recovery time after tough workouts. It had the intensity and benefits of a deep tissue massage. And during the winter, it was sometimes the only way I could warm up my body – a critical component to maximizing workout performance.
It was also just plain wonderful.
So last week I drank more water. I did more stretching. And added lean proteins and healthy fats to my diet. And I’m feeling better now. Cautiously optimistic. But I’m mindful of my needs and I know that sometimes it’s easier to hear self-care advice from others. So here is my list of 5 things I’m going to do to help me focus on self-care as I transition into a new fitness and health regimen #getfit2015:
- I will sleep more.
- I will drink more water.
- I will take care of my skin – exfoliate & hydrate.
- I will eat lean, healthy foods.
- I will eat small whole-grain snacks if I’m hungry.
It’s basically a short promise / reminder to myself. I’ll probably write it on a note card and hang it up somewhere. And when I do – I’ll post it on IG for everyone to see.
If you’re starting a new health and fitness routine, or working towards some other challenge (like awesome career things or growing babies), consider developing your own self-care plan. You don’t need hours each day, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time and energy, but your body and mind need rest. You need time to repair. It’s the only way you’ll have the strength and energy necessary to follow through on your goals.
For more on my #GetFit2015 challenge, check out Sustain.Health > Fitness or read from the beginning with this post (Find Your Fitness Routine #GetFit2015).