Good morning! I wasn’t really planning on posting today, but apparently it’s National Running Day!
Did you know that? I did not. I found out via twitter this morning, and, obviously, that’s sort of a holiday around these parts, so I can’t let it pass unnoticed.
This sort of a holiday comes as a nice lead in to a post I’ve wanted to do anyway. It’s about stress, but it comes back to running eventually, so bear with me.
It seems unfair and dishonest to let you believe that everything is sunshine and roses over here all the time. I don’t want to be a downer, and long rambling rants aren’t really my thing anyway, but I also realize that things on the old blog make life look awfully easy and perfect most of the time, and that’s not the case. I share here the parts of my life that I want to remember, which are usually the best parts, but I think, for the sake of authenticity, it’s best to share the not so great parts sometimes too.
This weekend was indeed a beautiful celebration of love. It was also an impossibly stressful 3 days for me. I had and am still having a tough time. First, I’m a worrier. Knowing Chris was in Miami a day earlier than me had me stressed and worried about him pretty much all day/night Thursday/Friday. Next, I don’t like flying. I dread it. The thought of flying by myself on Friday night was terrifying. I have very physical reactions to anxiety, and I woke up sick to my stomach on Friday morning and was unable to eat almost anything the entire day. I ALWAYS have an appetite, so when I’m not hungry, something is wrong. It’s my barometer for overall health and wellness.
Being in Miami was difficult for me too. New situations and new people make me very nervous. I have mild social anxiety, and, while I know it could be much, much worse, it still overwhelms me at times. With Chris as the best man, I was essentially on my own for a lot of the weekend. I’m so lucky that the other girls invited as dates of the groomsman were lovely because they made the whole experience much easier, but it was still not the relaxing weekend it appeared to be.
I felt then, and still feel now the physical effects of stress. While there, I never finished a single meal. I just couldn’t calm my nerves enough to allow my stomach to settle. I was exhausted and found myself short of breath quite often. My hair has been coming out in clumps, and I’ve got a nasty canker sore (TMI?) to prove that stress is a very real issue.
Things are beginning to turn around now. I ate everything in sight on our first night home, and I’m starting to feel much calmer, but I’m still exhausted and I feel like I’m recovering from the flu. Feeling incredibly stressed for a few days can actually take quite the toll on your health. Anyway, it may not seem it, but it could have been a lot worse. I wanted to share with you how I felt, so that any of you who also feel overwhelmed and under pressure can rest assured knowing you’re not alone. I also wanted to share some ways that I cope with stress.
- Therapy– First and foremost, I rely on the advice of a psychologist to help me handle my stress and become more mentally healthy. I’ve been going for almost 4 years, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. I eat right, exercise and rely on physicians to keep my body healthy, and I seek the guidance of a mental health professional to keep my mind healthy.
- Friends & Family– I keep the ones I love clued in on what’s going on in my head so that they can understand me better and so I can rely on them in times of need. This weekend, I leaned heavily on my mom and sister and of course Chris, who’s love and support is the equivalent of a 50lb weight being lifted off my chest, to help me through the tougher parts.
- Self Care– When I know I’ll be under a lot of stress (whether it’s social, work-related or otherwise) I try to take really good care of me. I make sure I eat right (mostly clean, a little fun), get lots of sleep and take time to focus on myself. When doing so, I try and seek out quiet time to rest my brain and recharge my energy. Yoga and light meditation help with this too.
- Running– And that brings me back to the focus of this post
In additional to the rest of the tools in my arsenal, running really helps me deal with my stress. In Miami, knowing that I would start every morning with a run allowed me to maintain a sense of regularity and a feeling of normalcy. Getting out and forcing my body to attain a rhythm helped distract my brain long enough to allow the rest of me to relax. As my breath naturally found its cadence, my nerves calmed, and I felt at peace. Some days, I’m able to carry this peace with me throughout the day. Other days, I’m not so lucky. No matter, God willing, there’s always tomorrow and, if I’m lucky, there’s always another run.
So now, I celebrate National Running Day with a love letter to Running (because that’s not weird at all 😉 )
I’m so glad I found you. I can’t imagine my life without you. I took up with you to help me manage my stress, and you’ve never once let me down. I know we have our highs and our lows, but we’ve got the right stuff to stick together for a long, long time. I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to share you with the real love of my life (although he does get jealous of our relationship from time to time) and that you’ve managed to be there for him too. Some people say my obsession with you is unhealthy, but I think you’ve been one of the best parts of my life.
How will you be celebrating National Running Day?
What helps you manage your stress?