Running as Therapy

If my lack of a mid-week blog post is any indication, it’s been a long and busy week at our house.  I knew that life as a mother with an infant wasn’t going to be easy.  Though I’ve been trying my best to balance all of the demands of my life, most days I’m not able to accomplish most of what I set out to do.  As each day passes that I’m not able to spend as much quality time with little man as I’d like to, work out the way that I way want, or straighten up my house to the point that I’m satisfied, I become increasingly more frustrated.

On Tuesday I hit my breaking point.  After a full day at work, followed by what turned into a 2.5 hour doctor’s appointment for little man, followed by sitting in massive traffic and an almost 45 minute drive home from the doctor’s office, I’d had it.  I was in tears on the phone with Preston as I drove home, partly the result of the stress of the doctor’s appointment and partly due to yet another day when I’d been away from home for over 12 hours and once again didn’t have time to go for my planned run.  By the time we got home Tuesday evening, it was time to start little man’s bedtime routine, after which Preston and I finally sat down to eat dinner around 8:45.

Working out and blogging have been two of my coping mechanisms during my transition into motherhood.  And to have my time for both of those things become extremely limited as I juggle all of the competing demands for my time is becoming more and more debilitating to my mental health.  After hitting what felt like was my breaking point on Tuesday, I wanted nothing more than to just go for a run.

After an 11 hour day on Wednesday, I came home fully determined to go for a run.  Even though it took some compromising on Preston’s part, I was able to head out the door for a run.  The further that I ran on Wednesday, I more I felt like I was able to let the stress fall off of me.  The further that I ran, the better I felt about our busy schedule and being able to tackle it all.  Who knew that all it would take was a pair of running shoes and the wide open road to help make me feel better in the midst of an incredibly busy time of the year.

After several long days in a row, nothing felt better than to take some time for myself and head out for a run

After several long days in a row, nothing felt better than to take some time for myself and head out for a run

I know how important it is to practice self care, especially as a new mother.  But that doesn’t make balancing everything while also making time for myself any easier.  All I can do is remind myself that I’m human and that all I can do is try my best.  And sometimes that means taking a step back from everything when I feel like I’m about to explode, and heading out the door for a run.

QOTD: How do you manage your stress?  What are your coping mechanisms?

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46 Responses to Running as Therapy

  1. Pam says:

    Good for you for figuring out some of your own needs too. While working, caring for your baby and household are important, self care is near the top of the list so you can handle everything else. At least you have a summer break coming up which should give you a chance to spend lots of time with your son and find time for running.

  2. I don’t even have to deal with the kid part of your equation, but I can definitely relate! Sadly, my blogging outlet has suffered while trying to balance work, school, and that pesky little thing called life. Not being able to run for more of the past 12 months than I could has absolutely taken a toll on my mental health. Limited as my mileage needs to be now, at least I know that road isn’t going anywhere. It just patiently waits for us all. No worries chica, it will always be there for you whenever you’re able to pay it a visit. 🙂

  3. I wish I knew the answer for managing stress. Ever since I was pregnant with Ellie 2 years ago we’ve had one stress after another in the form of my husband needing a job, me getting laid off from my work at home job, selling our house, my husband working a crappy job and finally getting a better one just a couple weeks ago…I could go on and on. I think what keeps me sane is prioritizing time for myself, no matter what. Ask for and accept help so you can put you first sometimes. Whether that’s a run, a bubble bath, or a pedicure, doesn’t matter. Once I started letting myself do things for me, I felt better despite all the stress we had to deal with.

  4. Lesley says:

    Running has always been my go-to therapy to handle stress. When I fell out of shape and stopped running during my first job, I reached my breaking points many times, especially when things went south at that job. I’d get home and explode, which wasn’t fair on my parents, but sometimes I needed to get all the anger and frustration out, and the only place to do that was at home. I made getting back into shape my #2 priority when I moved to Dallas so i could handle stress better.

  5. Running is such a great form of therapy!

  6. Chaitali says:

    You’re doing so well! I think that long day followed by the doctor’s appointment and sitting in traffic would have been frustrating for anyone. You handled it and managed to take time for stress relief the next day. The fact that you’ve identified running and blogging as two coping mechanisms in advance is great too. Take it easy on yourself and expectations 🙂

  7. Blogging and running are two things that definitely take up some time and it can be hard to fit both in when your scheduled day is already packed full and then I suppose you get some unplanned things that sneak up on you as well as a new mom. You are doing the best you can and I think that’s awesome!

  8. Running and working out is so important for me. Yesterday I was exhausted, but I KNEW I’d feel better if I went out for a run and I did. It helps with my anxiety and raises my confidence.

  9. Running is my therapy for sure. Coming back from vacation I could not wait to hit the road. In fact I did a short run in the morning and another one in the afternoon. Now if I can just figure out how to get caught up with my blogging…. 🙂

  10. Erica Gorman says:

    Oh darling! I have been there and feel your frustration. Hang tough!

  11. SuzLyfe says:

    Fitness is totally a coping mechanism–even just getting up and going for a walk is incredibly therapeutic! And my blogging and writing is just as important to me, in a very different way. That is how I work through my mental knots, as it were.

  12. running and working out are great stress relievers for me too. Sorry you had a rough week but hopefully we will have fun tonight at the fit foodie party

  13. I’m sorry you had such a rough week, but I’m happy you have a healthy outlet to destress. You and Preston seem to make a really great team and you are both doing an amazing job as parents. Keep reminding yourself how amazing you are and what a great example you are setting for little man. He’ll be big enough to run along side you before you know it!

  14. Know that you are not the only one dealing with the working mom balancing act ❤ It WILL get better! Hang in there!

    I've realized lately that working out, while adding something else to the day, actually makes me feel like I have MORE time to do everything else!

  15. I have to run. It’s not optional – it’s my anti-depressant. Thankfully, my husband understands that and has always tried to make sure I got my runs in. (I was also lucky to have a gym at my office that I could hit during lunch if all else failed.) Hang in there – it does get easier and you’ll be on school break soon.

  16. Good for you for making running a priority. It is not easy to make it happen as a new mom with an infant but when there’s a will there’s a way. Have you thought about getting a running stroller? That could be good for you when your baby is old enough. You are a super mom!

  17. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    I’m sorry that things have been so tough to balance lately. I have definitely found that running works as a form of therapy for me too, even if the run isn’t as long or at the ideal time that I’d want. All we can do is our best!

  18. I totally get this. It’s so hard being a working mom. It doesn’t get easier–as evidenced by my most recent adventure with my 16 year old/leg fracture. The only thing that gets me through is being able to run. I don’t even know if it’s the running that makes me feel better or the time for myself. No matter, it’s great to just get it done. Hang in there and keep on running. It really makes you a better mom.

  19. I’m with ya, girl. It’s so tough to balance everything – work, taking care of the little one, keeping the house clean, cooking, working out…I don’t have any sage words of advice other than I’ve tried to let my notions of ‘perfection’ in many of these areas go and just be happy with “good enough”. Prioritizing those runs is big for me too because of the anxiety relief. When I’m stressed out it’s definitely something that helps.

  20. Wow, this sounds so familiar!!! This is totally true: “Though I’ve been trying my best to balance all of the demands of my life, most days I’m not able to accomplish most of what I set out to do.” I have let a lot go – my standards for my house, and stuff like that. But it’s weird, after Kid #3 I got a handle on the balancing act in a way that I 100% did NOT have with #1. So it does get easier. I am glad you got out for a run – the running and other fitness has been the thing that kept me together throughout these years.

  21. natrunsfar says:

    I’m so glad you got out for a run! I totally believe running is therapy and a great way to take a step back and do something just for you. The first year of being a new Mom is tough, but it does get better. Hang in there – you are doing great!

  22. Glad you found the time to run! The gym is definitely a way I relieve stress. It feels so good to sweat!

  23. I think you’re doing amazing, and you’re such an inspiration to all of us — seriously! I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to make this huge transition in your life and try to juggle all the demands of new motherhood with everything else in your life, but it’s great that we, as runners, DO have this outlet to help us stay sane! I’m sure in time you’ll be able to strike a balance that works for you and your family. 🙂

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