It’s inevitable that, from time to time, we have events that loom, stress us out and make us a little crazy. These events could be joyous ones or dreaded ones. It doesn’t matter what they are—only that they add stress.
The best way I have found to combat stress, anxiety, doubt, and fear is by running. If you have a significant life event on the horizon, I suggest committing to running beforehand.
The event can be anything:
· Kids leaving for college
· Kids starting school
· A big vacation
· The holidays
· A new job
· A move to a new town
If you have something big on the horizon, give yourself a running goal. Make yourself a promise that you will run at least one mile every day until the event. Or that you will run a certain distance per week. You can even make a time goal—and set an amount of time to run each week.
By committing to a running goal during a life change, you are committing to self-care. Taking care of yourself during stressful times is imperative to mental and physical health. Go for a healing, mind-cleansing run. Then follow that up with a restorative soak with Epsom salts in the tub. The run will clear your mind, and the salt soak will detoxify your body.
While running on a treadmill, if necessary, is still beneficial to your mind and body, getting out into nature is better. There is nothing like a run out in the open to clear the cacophony of life. Breathing in the fresh air, soaking whatever minimal amounts of Vitamin D can be had from the Pacific Northwest skies, will do wonders for your well being.
The monotonousness of the task and rhythmic sounds of your footfalls will lull you into a meditative state that works to clear negative thoughts and assists your brain in problem-solving. I find running without music to be the best way to work through an issue or problem I’m having.
Some studies prove that exercise helps you cope better with what life throws at you. Who wants to walk around all day stressed out and reactive? Why not get all that stress out of your body by running it out? This works best if you run before you enter a stressful situation— like work, or a stressful meeting, or a shopping trip with your teenager.
Too much stress is powerful and can damage our bodies in a myriad of different ways. You can reduce the amount of strain you experience simply by exercising often. Not only that, but by committing to a run goal, you will be in better shape to take the big things on your agenda. You will look healthy and confident in that wedding dress. Your body will be durable and robust before surgery. You will have more strength to carry your kid’s boxes up three flights of stairs to their dorm room.
Always follow your doctor’s recommendations before surgery. If you should not be running, then please listen to your doctor and not me.
Always follow the 10% rule when adding mileage, which means don’t add more than 10% to your mileage each week. Adding too many miles all at once is a recipe for injury—trust me, that’s how I developed a stress fracture last year.
Not only will a running commitment before an important life event make you stronger and reduce your stress, but it could lead to a lifelong commitment to your health. May you find as much power and assurance from running as I do when I’m going through the changes life throws.