Sport & Nutrition: How to escape the self-optimization trap!

A healthy life requires exercise and a balanced diet. But you quickly drift towards self-optimization. We explain how to achieve physical well-being without stress and find the right amount of exercise for yourself.

Mavie editorial team24/10/2023

Blog Sport-und-Ernaehrung-optimieren

A healthy, fit lifestyle – how does it work? One might quickly think that constant monitoring and self-optimization are needed. We are encouraged to count steps, track our sleep rhythm and increase our own performance. And in the end you just feel more stressed by the many requirements.
Here it helps to take a step back and ask: What is the difference between “taking care of your own health” and “optimizing yourself?” The answer is simple: self-optimization is aimed at a future state; you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve with great ambition. Physical well-being is about the here and now: What is good for me right now? How do I feel? What does my body need in terms of exercise and nutrition? And this path is usually one that allows us to persevere better - because it is individual and responds to our needs.
But how do you learn to listen to what your body needs? How do you find the right balance without falling into the self-optimization trap?

In 2 steps against the need to self-optimize

Step 1: Regularly analyze your well-being needs
Dedicate one hour a day and one day a week to your physiological and psychological needs. Many people initially find it difficult to recognize their needs. What are you in the mood for? Where do you feel tension that could perhaps be relaxed with exercise? When are you really hungry and when do you just eat out of habit or boredom?
Over time you will get a better sense of what your body needs. Maybe incorporate regular stretching into your evening routine. Or you cycle to work more often. Maybe you cook more at home or go to the market more often to buy fresh vegetables. Your body may also need variety: sometimes a piece of chocolate, sometimes just fruit and vegetables for a day.
Step 2: Don’t “track,” but observe your body
Write down: Which physical activities are good for me and which ones are difficult for me? It is also useful to take notes about your diet. You may find that you have trouble sleeping with a big dinner in your stomach. Or that you always reach for chocolate when you feel overwhelmed.
These observations can help you get to know your behaviors and needs better.

Exercise: Self-care in three steps

Take a few minutes. Write down what you need to feel good. Imagine everything is possible. Leave the “Yes, but…” aside for the duration of this exercise.
Now you have your ideal version of self-care. Now set a minimum value for each point at which you are still in the “green zone”. For example, instead of “sleeping in every day,” specify “sleep at least 7 to 7.5 hours every night.”
If that is still not very realistic, the next step is to think of new ways to fulfill your need. For example, plan a short lunch break on some days. Or two to three short relaxation sequences that you can easily integrate into your everyday life. This gives your head a break and gives your body the opportunity to switch from a tense position to relaxation. In addition, you can reflect on the reasons for the lack of sleep. And where you could get support to mitigate these reasons.

Get active now

Our Mavie Counsellors will help you with professional and private issues. Get in touch and make an appointment for a personal counselling (assuming your company has a contract with Mavie). Call our hotline on +43 1 585 388 1 or email:
Share article