Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Preparing for Fall: Self-Care and Exercise

It’s September - the start of many things, fall semester, new routines, sweater weather, and the end of fun summer adventures. September is the harbinger of lots of change in just a few weeks. Sometimes as life gets busy, we forget self-care, especially making sure that we take time to get some exercise. This happens to the best of us: school, work, family, friends, studying, Netflix, social media, commuting, sleep, exercise, relaxing, etc … the list keeps going. When I get too busy, I’m susceptible to hitting the couch with a good book when I get home because I’m overwhelmed.  It’s easy to feel like you are running out of time in the day to keep up with everything, and that you have to skip a thing or two on the list because something has to give.

The problem with skipping self-care and exercise is losing the balance between working our brains and our bodies.  Missing a day or two of working out can be healthy for recovery, but when you miss being active too many times it can affect you negatively. So how do you avoid this?

I avoid it by scheduling in self-care time and trying not miss it. Scheduling self-care and exercise, just like a dentist appointment or class, may seem like a lot of work but it doesn’t need to be. I don’t always make it to the gym for weight training workouts but I don’t miss my Monday night dance class, I walk for my errands every day, and I lead weekend Active KSA events because I have them scheduled in.

You may be saying, that’s nice but I don’t have time for that. But, making time to for self-care and exercise will actually give you more time in the day. Taking time regularly for self-care and exercise helps your brain take a break from the busyness of your day and lets your body get the workout it needs. Helping you to sleep better, focus better, maintain your health, and overall boost your mood.

There are tons of apps help you reach your exercise goals. The apps I use are Google Fit and Carrot Rewards on my smartphone. Google Fit tracks your movement and counts your steps. It can tell when you are walking, running, or cycling fairly accurately. You can then add in all the other activities that you do and then the app shows you your trends in activity reports. Google Fit also connects to Carrot Rewards, which is a free app the BC Government made that has little health quizzes and fitness challenges that allow you to earn points for Scene, Petro-Points, Aeroplan Miles, and more. It became a game with friends on who could get the highest amount of points by hitting our fitness challenges. You can check out Carrot Rewards here: www.carrotrewards.ca/home/. There are so many other apps out there that you can check out that might have the right setup for you, such as a running app where you’re chased by zombies or Strava which has tons of technical details about your exercise.

On days you can’t get a work out in, or you’re on a recovery day, self-care can be simply stretching for a few minutes (outside for even more benefits), going for a walk with a friend or spending time on a hobby you love. If you miss a workout or self-care one day, don’t stress about it, just make sure to get it in the next day. Avoid making yourself feel guilty, instead focus on something else positive you achieved that day and try again tomorrow. 
As grey fall days start become the norm, it gets dark out earlier and earlier, and the assignments start to pile up, make the time for self-care and exercise so that you can make this your best fall yet. 

If you need help figuring out what to add as your self-care and exercise, checkout one of the mental health events coming up this October at www.kusa.ca/calendar.html and you can join our Active KSA events at www.kusa.ca/activeksa. Take care of yourself and hope to see you soon!


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