Are you a disciplined person, or are you more "fly by the seat of your pants"? I used to think that I liked spontaneity until I realized how ungrounded it left me. Over time, I realized that I needed routines to help me remain consistent. If I don't follow a routine, I feel out of sorts and don't get as much accomplished as I want.
Routines can help make tasks that you don't enjoy more tolerable. For example, I have found that creating rituals out of tasks I don't like makes them more pleasant for me to complete.
Once I started looking at exercise as part of my ritual time, it made it much easier to work consistently into my day.
I have discovered that the best time of day for me to exercise is in the morning, right when I wake up. I must leave my house to work out because I will not hold myself accountable if I am at home. Having a set training schedule helps me to stay consistent. This routine also gets me up and out of bed and out of the house early. If I accomplish a workout in the morning, it primes me for a more productive day. It also forces me to get in the shower and prepare for the day as soon as I get home.
Some people like to exercise in the evening to help them relax and burn off excess energy from their day. In the evening, many find exercise helpful after the workday, either hitting the gym or a workout class on the way home. When I used to go to a gym, I loved combining a workout with either a steam or a sauna, so I felt that I had a part of the process that I enjoyed more. Also, in pleasant weather, evening walks are a great way to ground and have quality time with your partner or friends.
Some days showers don't seem appealing when you have depression. However, one sure-fire thing that always gets me in the shower is feeling sweaty from exercise; even a few minutes is enough to move some energy, warm up, and stretch out my body. A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the NYT 7-minute workout, and since then, the internet has exploded with quick, at-home video tutorials. At least once a week, I like to take extra time to make my showers extra luxurious with the addition of moisturizers and a skincare routine.
Self-care means doing things in the present moment, even if you don't want to do them, for the benefit of your future self. This may look like exercise to help your body build strength and flexibility. I have stuck with my exercise routine for almost two years to build muscle to support my body through chronic illness. It's not something that I particularly enjoy doing, especially in the early morning hours, but I know that my body will reap the rewards later. As self-care routines can look different for everyone, a self-care ritual may include yoga and stretching before completing a meditation and grounding.
Many practices help to improve your love of self, including journalling, mirror work, and physical activity. Finding a physical activity that I didn't hate and that I could do safely has allowed me to work on my self-love. Even though I don't love standing in front of a mirror and looking at myself, I can appreciate the gains I make week after week. Finding a sport that I like has allowed me to build confidence, strength, and stamina. I am able to do more than I ever thought possible!
Exercise can be one of the best tools for relieving pressure and tension. Exercise is an excellent platform for releasing excess and pent-up energy at any time of day. When I need to clear my head, I like going on walks to get a change of scenery and move my body. Dance is also an excellent method of stress relief, allowing the body to move freely while connecting with the energy of music. Finding a proactive ritual in helping to move energy can help in times of stress and anxiety.
How have you been able to work exercise into your spiritual routines? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!
Arielle is a best-selling author, holistic life coach and intuitive energy healer.