Portrait of gorgeous young woman practicing yoga indoor. Beautiful girl practice cobra asana in class.Calmness and relax, female happiness.Horizontal, blurred background.Visual effects

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For millions of Americans, finding the time to fit in exercise and overall self-care—such as de-stressing—is hard. We lead busy lives and have many responsibilities, and over the years, our priorities change. We find ourselves putting our kids first, and we do what we can to be successful at our careers. As much as we may want to take care of ourselves, sometimes it simply comes last in the order of all the other things we have to do.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can balance self-care with a fitness routine and merge them to fit more easily into your schedule. By finding ways to integrate things you love into your exercise routine—and finding ways to be completely present in your workout―you can take care of both your physical and mental health at the same time. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

Be present Group of young attractive sporty people practicing yoga lesson with instructor, doing Push ups or press ups exercise, standing in Plank pose, friends working out in club, indoor full length, studio

Being completely engaged in your workout is important. If you find yourself looking at your phone, scrolling through emails, or checking social media, your exercise time will feel more like an annoyance or something you have to finish quickly.

“The most important self-care action I can take during my workouts is to let my mind be in my workout 100%. I’ve had to create a rule so that I am not responding to emails, checking social media, or replying to texts when I workout. If I can escape and truly enjoy my workout, my life is fantastic,” says fitness author Holly Perkins.

Create space Young businesswoman meditating sitting on working table in lotus pose in her office.

One of the best ways to ease into a self-care routine is by designating a safe, quiet space in your home for yoga, meditation, or even just a few precious moments of silence. If you don’t have much space in your home, don’t worry. Your meditation space could be as large as a spare room or as small as a corner of a room. You might include photos of loved ones, soothing essential oils, or even just a chair and a candle to get started.

Check guilt at the door Strong and determined female in sportswear standing in the gym and looking at camera. Sportswoman after intense crossing training workout session in gym.

Taking time for yourself is crucial. It’s imperative that you learn how to take that time without feeling guilty because it will help you stay motivated and boost your self-confidence. Not only will taking care of your needs help you stay healthy both physically and mentally, it will allow you to be the best version of yourself as possible.

Spend time with your pet Woman playing with her dog at home.

Spending time with animals can work wonders for stress, anxiety, and depression, so integrate time with your dog and exercise by setting aside time each day for a long walk, a trip to the park, a hike, or playtime in the backyard. Not only will it allow for bonding time with your pet, it will help both of you stay active and healthy.

Help yourself through recovery Fit woman performing child yoga pose at gym class. Fitness woman working out on yoga mat indoors.

If you happen to be in addiction recovery, getting through the process can be a long, stressful road. It’s important to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy, and to help yourself heal in every way. Exercise is a great way to start. Finding a new routine such as yoga can be hugely beneficial, since yoga mixes physical workouts with focus and meditation. However, it’s important that you don’t jump in too quickly. Take things slowly and work at your own pace.

Finding a way to balance your self-care and fitness routine will help you in many facets of life, from overcoming stress and anxiety to learning how to be a better parent, spouse, friend, and/or employee. Self-care means many different things to different people, but it’s essentially simply activities that make you feel good, whether inside or out. Think about the best ways to be happy and healthy, and come up with a plan to get started.

Author bio: Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.

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