Practice self-compassion strategy to become healthy and fit

 

  Certainly, everyone aspires to get fit and to be in good health so they follow the food diets and exercise routine to achieve this. But have you ever thought that self-compassion can give you good health and achieve your goal of being fit and getting in shape?

 

So what is self-compassion exactly? According to Kristin Neff, PhD, the foremost researcher on the topic, self-compassion is treating yourself the way you’d treat someone else who is suffering. That might sound a little “soft” for someone who wants to get fitter, but what many don’t realize is a little kindness and compassion toward yourself can actually make it easier to achieve your health goals, particularly when stress is high.

 

 Health and fitness professionals explain their preferred methods of practicing self-compassion, as well as how these methods can make staying on top of your mental and physical health easier.

 

1- Spending time in nature

You might not be able to go outside as much as you want right now, but getting some interaction with nature is one of the best ways to be kind to yourself because of the health benefits. “So many scientific studies show us that even listening to sounds of nature or looking at a photo of a natural scene significantly and quickly lowers stress hormones and anxiety,” explains Elesa Zehndorfer, PhD, an author and certified personal trainer. “A great tool is listening to thunderstorm, rain or ocean sounds as you fall asleep.

 

 2- Press Pause to achieve your goal to lose weight

If  trying to lose weight while spending more time at home than usual, you might be running up against issues like being in the kitchen more often and not getting as much everyday movement. That may be an argument for backing off of weight-loss goals for a while and just focusing on doing exercise you enjoy and doing your best to eat well. “Too many people are constantly on the hunt to lose weight, slash calories or punish their body into being exactly what they think is ‘perfect,’” says Adrienne Herrenbruck, PhD, a professor, researcher and personaltrainer. “By reframing our perspective to one of health, we can then see the value in taking rest days, pushing it hard when we feel great or indulging in treats when we need social connection.”

 

It’s also worth noting there’s some evidence that practicing self-compassion could help people avoid bingeing. So, focusing on being kind to yourself could help you meet that weight-loss goal in an indirect way

 

 3- Do some movement exercises

Letting go of certain types of goals might be helpful, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid goal-setting altogether. “If you’re someone who does want a goal during a time of stress, mobility is likely one of the best things you can work toward,” Herrenbruck says. “Since most are moving less or potentially sitting more, now is the time to get down on the floor and work on our range of motion. My favorite mobility exercise of all time is the 90-90 hip opener. I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from incorporating this exercise.”

To try it: Sit on the floor with one leg in front of you, bent to 90 degrees, bring your other leg behind you, also bent to 90 degrees. Lean forward and stretch, then switch sides. 

 

  4- Spend some of your time doing nothing

Most of us were over-scheduled before social distancing entered our lives. “It’s a major shift for many of us to pause,” notes Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN a registered dietitian. Many of us feel pressure to continue to be productive — and meeting our health and fitness goals is no exception. But for many, motivation is taking a hit. “One way to practice self-compassion right now is to honor your body and take time to rest,” Feller says. “That may mean implementing off days from home exercise, as well as creating ‘nothing time’ during the day so you can be in your body and with your breath.”

 

   5- Start practicing body gratitude exercises

You’ve probably heard of a gratitude journal. This is like that, but specifically about your body. “Identify what your body has done for you each day or how your body has allowed you to experience peace or enjoyment,” recommends Whitney Russell, owner and founder of Brave Haven Counseling. “Shifting your perspective from being critical of your body to having appreciation for it will help you to take better care of it.”

 

 6- Try to breathwork

How we breathe has a big impact on how we feel, which is why breathwork might be worth experimenting with. “Every morning before I meditate, I dedicate about five minutes to breathwork,” says Grayson Wickham, DPT, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, founder of Movement Vault. “This helps pump my body full of oxygen and get my nervous system in a relaxed, parasympathetic state to start my day.” Wickham recommends rapid breaths in and out of the nose for about three minutes, then two minutes of very deep breaths which helps stretch out and contract the lungs and respiratory muscles, including your diaphragm. 

 

  7- Self-acceptance practice

There’s something to be said for being ok with how your habits are changing right now. “You’re probably not the best version of yourself right now, and that’s 100% OK,” says Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, an Austin-based psychotherapist. “Now, more than ever, our world can feel upside down. Embrace this absurdity, and go ahead and have that donut, drink that glass of wine or use a little more profanity than you might otherwise. Do so without judgment or shame, and truly allow yourself to indulge and transgress. You may ‘need it’ in ways that you wouldn’t under normal circumstances.”

self-compassion can give you good health and achieve your goal of being fit and getting in shape
self-compassion can give you good health and achieve your goal of being fit and getting in shape


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