The Intersection of Self-Care and Exercise: Promoting Mental Well-being

What does self-care mean to you? Self-care is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. This can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.”  Self-care can be small acts, such as your nightly skincare routine, or brushing your hair and teeth in the morning.  Self-care can also be something like exercise, which takes a little bit more thought and effort, but in the end pays off big time.



The list of benefits that exercise has to your mental health is long and truly amazing. lists some of those benefits as:

  1. Depression: Studies show that exercise can treat mild cases of depression just as well as medication, but without all of the side effects that typically turn people away from these types of medication. Physical movement promotes many changes in the brain like reduced inflammation and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calmness.
  2. Stress and Anxiety: The way that stress and anxiety can affect the way your body feels, is truly something to think about. Getting up and moving can relieve the tensions of stress that your body may be holding onto.
  3. PTSD and Trauma: There is evidence showing that when you really focus on your body and how it feels as you exercise, your nervous system becomes “unstuck” and can move away from the stress response of immobilization that comes as a PTSD response.


Some other benefits that come with exercise are better sleep, more energy, higher self-esteem, and sharper memory. The best part is, that these efforts that we can make to have better self-care do not have to be overthought. Incorporating exercise into your self-care routine can be as simple as starting small. There is no need to have a big goal of being able to lift crazy weights or go for mile-long runs. Begin with fitting in a couple of 15-minute walk breaks into your workday. This is not only a great way to start getting some physical movement in, but it also can increase productivity when you return to your tasks. Finding activities you enjoy and setting realistic goals are key to making exercise a sustainable part of your routine. Remember, self-care is about prioritizing your well-being, and it's important to do what works best for you.


A great way to start practicing more self-care habits is to first look at your current habits. Are there some that could be removed? One that could be modified to be either a little harder or easier?  Once you do that, you can easily reflect on what self-care needs you personally have, and then can find a way to fit them into your day-to-day life.  I like to write these practices down in my planner so that I have reminders to create time for them, as I know it’s important for me to do. 


Now, we at ClipDifferent are by no means physical training experts, but we have a couple of things that have worked for us to better create a self-care routine. Here are ClipDifferent Tips:

  1. I like to have it in my head that I want to work out every day. I often wake up and look at my day and then try to decide when I can fit in an hour to move! But the other part of this is something that I stay true to even more than just planning to exercise. And that is to not beat myself up on the days that I just couldn’t find the time.  I know that there will always be tomorrow, and I can push myself a little bit harder for the lost time.
  2. Modify! If I had planned that I was going to get to the gym after a long day of work, and I come home just far too tired to get there I often opt for a walk outside instead of an intense gym session, just so that I am at least moving my body.  Half the time, once I do this I come back in the mood to pump out some extra movements like squats or lifting dumbbells.
  3. I love to reward myself.  Getting into the habit of exercise is hard, but so worth it.  I often like to reward myself on those days that I really was not in the mood, but did it anyway.  One thing to note, is that I try not to make a habit of this. It can be expensive and not always the healthiest. (Grabbing a latte every day after the gym will add up!)


As you reflect on your own self-care journey, consider the power of starting small and being flexible in your approach. By examining your current habits and making intentional adjustments, you can tailor your self-care routine to suit your individual needs and preferences. Whether it's modifying your workout plans, setting realistic goals, or incorporating innovative solutions like ClipDifferent for nail care, the key is to find what works best for you and stick with it.

Above all, be kind to yourself throughout the process. Self-care isn't about perfection—it's about progress and self-compassion. So, celebrate your successes, learn from setbacks, and remember that every step you take towards prioritizing your well-being is a step in the right direction. With dedication, mindfulness, and a commitment to self-care, you can cultivate a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

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