Why not start running?

I’m 37. I started running. In May.

Why?

Because I needed to do something. I know my mental health intimately. We are super bestie good friends. At the end of April I started thinking about June. Why June? Because that would have been our first due date. If you’re new here, you can check out our IVF Story.We came across the local 5K announcement and I jumped on it. For many reasons. I wanted to do something I couldn’t have done at 9 months pregnant. And since my mental health and I are two peas in a very small pod I knew that having a focus during May and June would be very wise. When anniversary dates are looming I get depressed. Anxious. I find it hard to get out of bed. I find it easy to sit around. And think. And think. And then think some more. About all of the “what if’s”.

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It was a rough start. Like less than a half mile. Holy shit. Running is no joke.

Each run I could go a little farther. That was rewarding. I felt like I accomplished something. Even if it was going 1/10 of a mile beyond my previous distance. It meant something.

Then I started to notice that on days I ran my mood was better. I felt better about myself. I felt good. That made me want to run more even though it wasn’t easy. I started to look forward to an evening run during the work day. That was motivation to drink more water so I felt better running. And THAT made me feel better too. All these good things. How awesome, right

I ran that 5K and I felt like a winner. No joke. I felt like I won the lottery! It was the first time I ran that distance. Before race day I only made it to 2.6 miles. My husband ran with me, supporting me, encouraging me, getting me to the finish line. I ran my best time too and finished in the middle. I didn’t die and I didn’t suck! I did it!

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I set out to achieve something and I achieved it (with help from my husband)! It felt so good. And this whole “run a race” business is so much like tending to our mental health. It’s uncanny! I even made this table to show you the similarities because who doesn’t love a good table? No one.

Learning to Run

Learning to Manage your Mental Health

Practice

·       Practice runs, lots of practice

 

Practice

·       Practicing self-love, self-compassion, mindfulness (lots of practice)!

Learning from failures

·       Not enough water, not enough stretching, breathing, too damn hot out, I could go on…but I won’t, no need to focus on the failures too much

Learning from failures

·       Getting stuck in a negative self-talk loop, being passive when you should stand up for yourself, not making self-care a priority

Having a successful run

·       Setting out to push yourself 1/10 of a mile farther, choosing to do it, and then doing it

 

Having a successful moment

·       Setting out to go against your grain, being mindful of your thoughts and actions, adjusting on the fly, and making the choice that gets you closer to wellness

Having a successful race

·       Lying in bed at night thinking “damn, that WAS a GOOD race! I feel so good!”

Having a successful day

·       Lying in bed at night thinking “damn, that WAS a GOOD day! I feel so good!”

Having a support system

·       Family, friends, running partners, and community encouraging you to practice running, reminding you that you are loved, and that you can do hard things!

·       Also – your husband running (as slow as molasses) just so he can be by your side encouraging and supporting you! Thanks, Brian!

Having a support system

·       Family, friends, therapists, and community helping you practice skills, reminding you that you are needed here in this place, that you are loved, and that you can do hard things!

·       Also – your husband hugging out the tears on hard days, encouraging and supporting you! Thanks, Brian

*side note – tables are stupid hard in WordPress

I ran this past Tuesday because I felt like it. It’s not easy. And I think that’s why I like it. I’m not good at it either but I want to be better. I have to practice. Just like when I started my mental health journey to wellness. My brain would go on auto pilot and I would say and do things that went against my plan to get better. I wasn’t good at it yet. But I wanted to be better. I had to be mindful and really choose to think and do things differently. I had to practice.

I’m going to go for a run tonight! I encourage you to find something that challenges you physically and focus on it. I encourage you to keep practicing mental wellness, lots of practice.

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