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  • Writer's pictureDoreen @ UnfancyFitness

One Way to be Self Compassionate - Exercise

Are you kind to yourself like you would be kind to a loved one? For example, when a friend feels down, do you step in and give some support? Yes? You show compassion to your friend. How about you? When you’re down, what do you do for yourself? When you feel stressed, depressed or experience failure, it’s your inner-support system that can help lift you up. But do you use that system for yourself? We have inner tools to help ourselves but we've also been conditioned to believe that we need to look outside of ourselves for comfort. Plus, if we feel bad, how many times have you heard to be tough and suck it up? Well, exercise is one proven tool to help you feel better. Right?

And what better way to be kind to yourself than to move your body every day. That's right. Let your body move more and do what you were made to do. Utilize your muscles and bones and let the movement settle into your thoughts to clear your mind. The effects of exercise directly connect to your mind and can affect your mood, stress and thoughts. So are you ready to move and to give yourself some self-compassion?

Kindness - when we think of being kind - the idea usually crosses over to your words and actions toward another human being. But when you place that kindness in your heart just for yourself - you’ll feel more belief and confidence in yourself - you realize all along that being kind to yourself is a necessity.

I believe that exercise is a necessity. We were born to move.

Should I have to elaborate? No.

Must I elaborate? Yes.

So in order to function throughout the day, humans move their bodies through space - not rocket science, I know! But the issue with our current health & lifestyles stems from lack of movement. Ever since we didn’t have to move through our day having to grow our own food, wash all our clothes by hand or walk to our many destinations, we’ve steadily become incredibly sedentary simply by choice. We have every modern convenience imaginable to foster less movement in our lives for most every single minute of the day. Amazon or Door Dash, anyone?

That sedentary lifestyle creates a plethora of health issues, conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity & chronic pain which are not 100% preventable. Instead, the chances of developing these conditions can be lessened to a significant degree with more movement throughout the day.

So What’s Up with Self-Compassion?

Exercise is self - compassion

When we give ourselves the kindness that we deserve we give our brains a boost. You see, your brain is a living organism that needs to be treated like the rest of your body. Mental health is physical health where both are like puzzle pieces that fit together. But the balance between the two can often move off center. Both physical and mental health become scattered within ourselves. We’re not just brains and knowledge and we’re not just skin, muscle and bones. Being self-compassionate through regular exercise means we are treating our bodies to a healthy activity that activates and improves the health of our minds. And we begin again to move toward a whole-body/mind equilibrium.

  1. How about simply taking care of your body including what you eat (small changes) and how you expend energy (move more throughout the day).

  2. Learn from your mistakes and mess-ups and comfort yourself with kind words and a walk around the block (it's a start!) .

  3. Go for it and give yourself encouragement. That’s right. I bet you encourage others all the time. Why are you leaving yourself out?

  4. Be mindful of your movement. Notice how exercise and everyday movement makes you feel. Energized or calm, stronger, confident, healthier?

Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of ourselves is something different for each of us.

What we think about self-care it's individually different across the board. I know that taking care for some people means regular check-ups and eating well. Instead, let's all think about MORE movement. More vigorous exercise that will increase blood flow and strengthen our bones and muscles? That’s hard. It really is. Our lifestyles are designed to keep convenience and less movement at hand. Just a walk to start is truly more than just a walk. One foot in front of the other outside or on a treadmill creates a new beginning every day.

Mess-Ups are OK. Give Yourself a Break!

When we practice self - compassion, we give ourselves a chance to make mistakes and be ok with it.

"To Err is human, to forgive, divine." Alexander Pope

Why put this in a post about exercise? Making mistakes is well, inevitable. But we think mistakes are just bad news and a path to imperfection and so we avoid what truly is inevitable. See where I'm going? Here come those negative emotions. On the other hand, we can embrace those mistakes. Learn by them. Shifting to accepting errors can also help us control the frustration and anger associated with making mistakes. Yeah! Embrace that mistake, forgive and move on.

When I work out, I mess up ALL the time! Yep. Today, I forgot a few intervals in my live class which was recorded for VOD. I just skipped a section by mistake. It happens. I was ok with it and guess what? We finished those intervals. So the job was done. To me. That's still a good workout. And good-enough.

In order to love ourselves, bodies included, let’s acknowledge our imperfections, understand that life is messy and know that living to please others and or to strive for perfection will only make us miserable. Loving ourselves through moving more means giving ourselves well-deserved time to be good to ourselves. Exercise is good in any way, shape or form. Our bodies will thrive and the connection opens our minds to new possibilities.

Cheer for YOU! You are so Worth it!

You are your best advocate and that's self compassion at its best!

You can do this. You are amazing and deserve to feel better. Take the time to move more because you’re worth it! Are these encouragements that we tell to others or do we consistently tell ourselves how amazing we are and how our health is worth the time?

My younger self would use exercise as punishment for overeating. Yep. I would count calories in and monitor exercise for calories out. Is that a way to live healthier? Never. But that’s diet culture and I was hooked because I was bombarded with messages detailing how exercise would make me a skinny person. And somehow I was convinced that skinny meant happy. Boy was I wrong.

Exercise is meant to be a joyous time. Yes! Like the holidays but celebrated every day and in big or in small ways. That hour exercise class, the 10-minute walk - an afternoon of gardening. All good, fitness friends. All good.

Feel the Effects of Exercise

Exercise just feels good

Every opportunity when you exercise for any amount of time is time well spent. Check-in and ask yourself how you’re feeling? Maybe you’re tired but a bit of movement has energized you and that was what you needed. Or you felt the sweat and heat of HIIT class and you are just pumped and feeling elated! You see, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to you making the decision to move more.

When you shift the paradigm of exercise benefits from shaplier booty and rock-hard abs to clear mind, boosted mood and feeling happy, you’ll stand your ground for how compassionate you are to yourself. See. You did something healthy and valuable for your body and mind. You did it for you.

Just Move and Create a Spark

Create a spark and keep that fire burning inside you to live a fuller life.

We live in a hustle culture. And there's this long-standing belief that long days of hard work with less days off means success. We must hustle to make money, to make us successful. But one important reminder is to slow down and think about what it is that you NEED for your own personal success. The hard fact is that if you truly want to move more - you will move more.

I love what I do and it might seem small in this world but to me everyday movement is incredibly rewarding. My goals are to keep my body healthy through regular movement, to be kind to myself by acknowledging my movement successes and failures. And just keep that fire burning inside me to live fully.

For me it’s to simplify and become aware of myself and respect my own body’s rhythms. Exercise does so much for me and will do the same for you. Just begin to move more. 10 minutes to start. And just feel everything with each step. Go ahead. Love yourself like you’d love a friend because you matter the most!

Be Well,



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