How to Use Your Workout as a Vehicle for Self-Care and to Decrease Stress

At Senior Care Therapy, we understand full well that maintaining ones emotional and physiological well being, requires a holistic approach that incorporates physical exercise and activity into the mix.

It is why we are thrilled to present you with this months exclusive article written just for our readers, by our friend Sheila Olson of

Putting yourself first is often easier said than done. With to-do lists stretching too long and calendars crammed with too many events, it’s all too easy to let basic self-care fall by the wayside. However, mastering the basics of self-care can make a huge difference in your mental health.

Schedule in that Workout

On top of the many physical benefits of exercise, working out has been proven to decrease stress and anxiety. The American Heart Association recommends doing a variety of aerobic and strength training for at least 150 minutes a week. That may feel like a lot of time, but it is more than worth it.

Look for activities you enjoy doing, because exercising doesn’t have to be a chore. However, if you’re struggling to find the motivation, try dressing for success in some comfortable workout gear. Or, if you feel you do not have enough hours in the day, block out time in your calendar and treat it like you would an appointment.

Watch What You Eat

A balanced diet is vital in feeling good about yourself. Healthline defines a balanced diet as mostly fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Eating well not only boosts your immune system, but also your energy and focus.

Too often, it’s easier to hit the takeout restaurant, but unhealthy foods will make you bloated and sluggish. To help resist this temptation, plan your meals out ahead of time. Meal prepping is also a great way to keep yourself healthy, and can help pad your wallet.

Keep in mind that your diet is the sum of its parts. There’s no need to constantly be counting calories. You are allowed to indulge in a delicious piece of cake or gooey cookie every now and then.

Catch those ZZZs

Nothing wreaks havoc on your mental state like not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is known to create emotional imbalance, sudden weight change, weakened immune system, and reduced focus. Experts recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

Be sure to turn off your computer and detach from any screens about an hour before you want to go to sleep. One of the best ways to unwind and get ready for bed is to do something relaxing you enjoy. Find a screenless hobby you can do before you hit the hay like reading, knitting, drawing or coloring. If you still have difficulty sleeping, keep your room dark and cool, and think about investing in a better mattress, pillow, or noise machine.

Remember to Breathe

Mindfulness is the ability to recognize and cope with stress. On days where everything just seems to keep piling on and the stress just keeps building until you feel like you are going to explode, the best thing you can do sometimes is literally walk away for a few minutes and go for a lap around the block. Though it may feel counter intuitive, giving yourself the space to breathe can help you de-stress and refocus.

Through mindfulness, you can learn how to reduce the stresses in your life. Another great mindful technique is to meditation. The New York Times notes that even just a few minutes of meditation a day can make a huge difference in reducing depression and anxiety. To help yourself get in the right mindset, try setting up a meditation space in your home. The area should be a space that you enjoy being in. Keep it simple and decorate the space using natural elements, such as leafy green plants and smooth stones.

Take Your Time

As simple as these tasks may seem, many of them are easier said than done. Sometimes, it really feels that there are just not that many hours in the day, but putting in the effort to properly take care of yourself can make a world of difference. Take your time, and ease into it. You’ll be feeling better about yourself in no time.

About SCT

Senior Care Therapy (“SCT”) was founded in 2008 by Alisa Y. Rosenfeld, LCSW, as a solution to the lack of sufficient psychological support for patients that she encountered while working as Director of Social Services in a Rehabilitation Center in Wayne, New Jersey.

SCT sees it as our mission to provide the best quality psychological services.


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