Run.

Any good psychologist will tell you that in times of stress you should ask yourself what you need and how to give it to yourself.  Lately at work the answer to that question has been ‘sleep’ and ‘food’ and not much else, which in itself tells you that you’re just surviving and not really living.  Asking yourself that question though is a great way to block out all the noise coming in from your senses, all those worries about what other people might think of you, and causes you to refocus things.  You distract yourself from your distractions simply by asking yourself what you need from yourself!  The answer sure isn’t “I need to be worried about that look that person gave me”, the answer usually is “well I need to go to the bank at lunchtime, and god I’m so tired, I need to sleep earlier tonight ,and eat better and etc etc”.

Sunday rolled around today and I found myself wound up and annoyed at work.  On my day off.  Who wants to be at work in their head on their day off?  So I put on these new babies and went for a run.

I didn’t run because I want to lose weight.  I didn’t run because I want to get fit or because some magazine told me I should for my ‘health’.  I ran because I wanted to feel better, I wanted to feel powerful, and I wanted to feel in control.  And I did.  And as I ran I saw people on my path, and anyone whose not that confident with exercise will understand how sometimes the people on your path can make you feel wounded in some way – but as I passed them and that automatic process of what they must think of me started, I just asked myself what I needed.  And the answer was “I need to run the f*** forwards”.  And I did.  And I forgot about the people on my path.

It’s been over a month since I did any exercise.  There was a bad chest infection in there and long hours at work.  In the past I’ve let that hold me right back and not re-start for fear of starting at the beginning again.  But this time that didn’t even matter, I needed to do this for myself, I needed to do it to feel better about things and it worked.  Maybe it’s because the act of running forces oxygenated blood to your brain and floods it with the nutrients it needs to think better, maybe it’s because you’re making a conscious choice to do something hard because it makes you feel better as well as being hard, I don’t know.  Afterwards I did a Nike Training Club 15 minute workout (longest fifteen minutes of my LIFE) which I’d been putting off for ages because it was too hard.  And it was really really hard.  I had to stop a few times.  I used to beat myself up for that.  But today I stopped because I needed to and continued because I needed to.  For me.

Then I came home and made this,

It’s salami, buffalo mozarella, watercress and heritage tomatoes on Afghan bread by the way.

So here is my challenge to you.  Today when you start to worry, when you start to wonder what someone thinks of you, when you feel unhappy – ask yourself what you need.  And remember that needs and wants are different things.  I frequently want a giant chocolate donut, but what I need is some downtime to relax and maybe some sleep to make the sugar cravings go away.

What do you need?  I’d love to hear your answers.

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2 comments

  1. Good on you! I use exercise as my form of stress relief too – when I come home from work and I want to crash on the couch but I have a tonne of more work to do (I’m a teacher) I head out for a run to refresh my mind and come back feeling in much better spirits and ready to tackle what’s ahead. On the weekends I run long with my friend – it serves a dual purpose – we are training for a half marathon, but it also nurtures our friendship. Sometime we have long, soul-searching discussions, sometimes we tell funny stories about the kids we teach and sometimes we run in silence just enjoying being together and pushing ourselves physically.
    I’m enjoying reading your posts! 🙂

  2. Yesterday I needed to have some fun, and get moving, it has been way too long, so despite all the things I have to do I went to zumba, and it was a blast 🙂

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