Updated: Mar 25
What exactly is self-care? Why is it important? And why should exercise be included? Are those the questions you are asking because I know I once was. I used to struggle to slow down, to put myself first. Truth be told I still sometimes struggle with that. It is in my nature to always be looking out for others and to be helping them whenever I can, but that’s got me into trouble more times than I care to remember when it comes to my own health – both physically and mentally.
Your definition of self-care might be a little different to mine but I think it’s important that we explore what it is and then it will become apparent just why it is so important. Have you ever felt like taking time out to do something for yourself, that you absolutely love, is you being selfish? That rather than spending time on you, you should be doing something for others? Or you should be cleaning the house, or cooking from scratch, or helping a friend, or anything else that is NOT doing that one thing that you really wanted to? Well, that is the complete opposite of self-care.
Self-care means being able to slow down, it means being able to say no, it means finding a pocket of time, no matter how big or small, where you just close yourself off from the world and do something that is just for you.
Self-care doesn’t have to be big; it doesn’t have to be flashy and it really doesn’t have to be expensive. But it should make you feel good about yourself and it should put a smile back on your face.
Why should I include exercise in my self-care?
Okay, so I said that self-care should put a smile on your face and maybe exercise isn’t the first thing that would spring to mind, but actually if we think about all of the physical and mental health benefits that it brings then I think it’s a worthy way to spend your time.
Help to reduce stress levels.
Help to improve your quality of sleep.
Help to improve your overall mood.
Help to reduce bouts of or severity of anxiety attacks.
Help to reduce the risk of depression.
Help to pull you out of the early stages of depression.
Help to build self-esteem and self-confidence.
Help to decrease fatigue and leave you energised.
And so much more.
As we exercise, we encourage the release of several natural hormones within the body, including endorphins - our own natural happy pill - and we can also make the brain more susceptible to the effects of serotonin, which is proven to reduce feelings of depression.
So, it stands to reason that including exercise in your self-care routine is a great way to really put yourself first and look after your needs. But sometimes it is easier said than done, and with so much information available at our fingertips getting started can feel overwhelming.
3 Tips to help you get started.
1. Try out a few different things.
You might not find something that you love straight the way, so before you invest lots of money give a few things a try.
2. Make a plan that you can stick to.
Book yourself some time slots in your diary for exercise so that you can actually get it done.
3. Be realistic, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The benefits will come, but they won’t happen over-night. As long as you are having fun right from the start then that is what matters. Trust me, the rest will follow.
What exercise should I do?
Wow, that’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string! We all enjoy and respond
differently to different things, so it really is a personal choice. I love to dance. I just love the way that I can close my eyes and lose myself to the sound of the music and just let my body move any way that it wants to.
I like to turn the music up and just be fully absorbed in it. Whether it’s a quick 5 minutes
dancing in the living room or a full tap class that I am taking, I know that by the end I will
feel so much ‘lighter’ and happier. I think the combination of music and movement is what really does it for me. In April 2020 an article published by Healthline.com showed that music has many of the same benefits as exercise, so combining the two creates an incredibly
Dance and music mean so much to me, even just thinking about them can put a smile on my face. I love to dance, I love to learn new dance styles and techniques, and I love it when I bring groups of adults and children together to put on incredible shows and competitions.
What you choose to do in order to stay active and to look after your physical and mental
health really does depend on what it is that you enjoy and where your passion lies. If you find something that you love, then you will keep on doing it. If what you love is dancing, then get in touch and see how you can get involved with our shows.