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Exercise, I’ve had a funny old relationship with it. I was a ‘work hard or go home‘ kind of girl, always willing myself to push harder or go faster because I thought that was the key to true health and happiness. Working out 6 days a week wasn’t unusual and the endless guilt trips that I had missed a workout even when I was ill and physically incapable were common.
I’ve documented a lot over the years about my earlier disordered relationship with food and and happy to say that I’ve turned a massive corner in doing right by my body and using exercise as a way to nourish my mental health and physical fitness and not as a form of punishment. Today I wanted to share some of the mindset shifts and habits that have helped me on this journey in recent years that have led me to have a happier relationship with exercise and allowed me to enjoy it more.
Moving for pleasure and for my health
As mentioned above, I used to push my body to extremes as a form of punishment, particularly after a night of indulgences or too many chocolates. Exercise was a way to burn off those excess calories the next day that I’d consumed to help balance things out – such a damaging mindset to own! These days, moving my body comes from a place of love and pleasure. I pay no attention to the latest fitness fads and concentrate on what I enjoy because life is far too short to be doing something that you hate. Plus, when something brings you enjoyment you’re more likely to do it more, which is what I’ve found. I truly love the uplifting effect that it has on my mental health, which makes me want to do it more because its fun.
Mix things up and try new things
Even though I do enjoy the gym, I’m conscious of the fact that I tend to just stick to gym workouts week in and week out because it’s the easiest option. Including a variety of different exercises in my weekly routine like gentle walking, Pilates, yoga along with the gym workouts really helps to mix things up and keep me interested.
Treat my body once a week
Painting my nails feels like such a treat these days, considering that this is something that I used to do regularly, I think I’ve painted my nails a couple of times since having Aiden. I’m very much into self-care practices and looking after yourself for the sake of looking after others. I’m pledging to take some time for myself once a month to indulge my body, whether it be painting my nails, having a haircut (because annual haircuts have really become a thing in my life!) or a face mask. Going for more massages is also high up on my list to relieve my body of any niggles or aches. I’ve definitely felt the restorative benefits after having a massage in the past and really want to make sure I book a couple in this year – who doesn’t love a bit of pampering.
Also, I’m going to make more of the opportunity to get an early night, such a simple thing, but so powerful for our wellbeing and our recovery after exercise. The material on a Tempur is designed to support and offer you the optimal comfort each night to aid better sleep. It’s so often overlooked, but I always feel better after getting a decent 6-8 hour snooze and feel more energised when working out.
A rest can be just as good as a workout
The mental battles I put myself through when I missed a workout were draining. If your body needs to rest, it needs to rest and recover, however, at the time I thought the best option was to push through the tiredness and carry on as normal. Not only does this risk potentially injury, but it can also lead to burnout. Listening to my body and honouring its needs has been a revolutionary mindset shift for me because in most cases a rest can be as good as a workout, it’s restorative and a massive dose fo self care.
Something is better than nothing
This one has been a slow burner for me, but now it’s something that I hold in high regard. In the past, a workout had to be 1 hour or more or it wasn’t really a workout. However, since having a baby when time is really not your own anymore, I’m of the mindset that a 10-minute yoga sequence is more than good enough. More so, now that I’m focused on how fantastic I feel after I’ve done some exercise rather than trying to get those 6-pack abs. Life really does get in the way and something really is better than nothing at all.
What mistakes did you use to make concerning exercise? Are there any significant mindset shifts around exercise that have helped you enjoy it more?
*This post was commissioned by Tempur, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to do what I love, bringing you wellness content and recipes to help you find your version of balance