​Finding ways to balance a fitness routine with overall self-care can be tricky, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle or are dealing with stress or depression. It’s essential to your overall health, however, to achieve that balance and maintain it in a healthy way. Since self-care can mean any number of things—from finding ways to relax to learning how to eat more balanced meals—it doesn’t have to be difficult to fit it into your life. Think of the things that make you happy and incorporate them into your daily routine alongside a workout program.

Fitness goals differ from person to person, and what works for your friend may not work for you. Keep this in mind moving forward to avoid becoming overwhelmed and to stay motivated. The best way to work out a new routine for your physical health is to merge it with things you already enjoy doing, such as swimming or spending time with a loved one.

Here are a few tips on how to incorporate fitness and self-careinto your daily routine.

Take it easy

Particularly if you are starting a new routine after being inactive for a while, or if you are in recoveryfor substance abuse, it’s important not to overdo it. Start out slowly and work your way up to avoid becoming overwhelmed or sustaining an injury. You might begin with a low-impact exercise, such as walking or simple yoga, and then add in different elements such as weight training or cardio.

Eat better

Part of physical fitness is learning how to eat well-balanced meals that will give you energy and keep you feeling good throughout the day. It’s also about finding the best way to keep yourself satisfied between meals, such as bringing small, resealable bags filled with fresh veggies, nuts, and dried fruit to work instead of relying on vending machines for a snack. Work out a meal plan that makes sense for you and your family and stick to it as closely as possible through the week. Not only will you feel better, it can also save you money!

De-stress

Taking care of your mind and body can be difficult if you’re stressed to the teeth, so finding a way to relax is imperative. You can actually incorporate something that makes you feel good with an activity that gets your heart rate up. Think along the lines of gardening, swimming, running around the backyard with the kids or dog, or playing a sport. Merge a hobby with something activeto get the most benefits.

Create an at-home gym

If you have a busy schedule or are coping with depression or anxiety, it can be difficult or impossible to get to the gym several times a week. One of the best ways around this is to create your own home gym, complete with all the things you need for a good workout. You don’t need to break the bank to do this. You can add a yoga mat, resistance bands, a stability ball, and some free weights for a small, manageable workout space in the comfort of your own home.

Get the dog involved

If you have a pet, there are several ways you can focus on your fitness and self-care routine and involve himat the same time. Dogs are loyal companions who love going for a run or having playtime outside, and they’ll keep you motivated even when you’re feeling tired. Take your pup to the dog park, head to the beach for a run, or just have some playtime outside after work. Since spending time with animals can reduce stress, it’ll work wonders for your mental health as well as your physical health.

Finding ways to incorporate mental and physical fitness into your busy routine isn’t always easy, but doing so can help you live a more fulfilled life and can aid in reducing depression and stress, even if you’re in recovery. Talk to your doctor before beginning any rigorous routine and start out slowly to avoid injury.