Mom running to reduce her anxiety

How Running Saved Me

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Last week I wrote about how I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life and how it has gotten worse since I became a mom. Running has helped me deal with my anxiety and keep it at a level I can manage.

I haven’t always been a runner though. I played basketball in high school and when our coach made us run suicides, I was always the last one to cross the line.

When I got to college, I realized I could go for a run without sprinting until I felt like I was going to puke. That’s when I found my love for running. I remember running through campus on Friday afternoons seeing all of the campers getting set up to tailgate during football season.

In the off season, I’d run with some of my friends to where the Florida Gator practice field was and sometimes we’d be lucky enough to see the players leaving the field. There are so many benefits to running that you wouldn’t think of. You can get to more places on foot than you can with a car!

Running To Explore

There have been times when we’ve been on vacation and my husband and I have run in places that we wouldn’t have normally seen if we didn’t go for a run. Once when we were in wine country, we ran for a few miles and explored some of the wineries we wanted to check out later.

There’s nothing like running down the Las Vegas strip before it gets too crowded. You will have to dodge a few homeless people and shameless promoters trying to shove their pamphlets down your throat. You can avoid some of it if you go early enough. If you get out before everyone wakes up from their hang overs, you won’t have to run as much of a maze dodging the sea of tourists.

In the summer you can find me running on the beach in the morning before it gets too hot. I love listening to the waves, the cool breeze next to the water, and the smell of the fresh salty air.

mom running on the beach to relieve anxiety

Running is good for bloggers too. Blogging can be really isolating at times. Being your own boss is awesome, most of the time, but sometimes it’s not.

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Somedays I wake up and I just can’t get motivated to write.

There are days when I literally want to crawl back into bed and get up on the other side to see if it feels any better. Sometimes it works, but that usually just makes me groggy and less motivated to write. On those days, the last thing I want to do is run! But if I can just get my shoes on and my butt out the door, that’s usually all it takes.

Once I get outside, I almost always end up running. It may only be for a mile or two sometimes, but even if I walk, I still feel better. Most of the time, I end up running more than I thought I could. I ALWAYS feel so much better after a run. Just being outside can be an instant mood lifter for me. I love the outdoors and need natural vitamin d to make it through my day.

But once I get my feet moving, the endorphins start flowing and

I forget about all the stresses of mom life for a while.

I do some of my best thinking during my runs. Until recently, I ran without my phone because it helped me unplug for 30-40 minutes a few times a week. Then I got some pretty sweet headphones for Christmas, and I’ve grown to appreciate running with music. Sometimes I prefer to be alone with my thoughts though. It doesn’t really matter, as long as I just run.

WHY RUNNING IS GOOD FOR MOMS

1. HELPS YOU FOCUS ON YOURSELF

When you’re running, you can’t see how dirty your house is and you can’t do dishes, fold laundry, or vacuum the floors. You don’t have to wait on your children or break up fights. It’s just you and the road.

2. GETS YOUR ENDORPHINS FLOWING

Runners high is a real thing! Scientists did a study on runner’s brains and found that their prefrontal and limbic systems were releasing endorphins that led to feelings of euphoria and calmness. Apparently, exercising with others or listening to music when you’re alone can increase the spike of endorphins too!

3. INEXPENSIVE EXERCISE

Other than having to get a pair of good shoes, running doesn’t cost you a penny! You can run anywhere and you don’t have to pay crazy gym membership fees. Moms don’t like having to spend money on themselves so this is important!

4. MODELS HEALTHY BEHAVIOR FOR YOUR KIDS

Your kids learn from watching you. If they see you taking care of your body and making exercise a priority, they will hopefully eventually want to do it too.

5. GETS YOU OUT OF THE HOUSE

You know that feeling when you get after being stuck at home with a sick kid for 3 days in a row? I do and it’s not fun! Getting outside to run when it all passes gets me back on my feet. If I can get someone to watch the kids so I can get a break before then, I will quickly take advantage!

6. HELPS PREVENT DISEASE AND ILLNESS

Regular exercise can help reduce your risk for heart disease and several cancers including breast, colorectal, and uterine cancers. It also helps your body regulate its hormone levels which not only reduces your risk for developing cancer, but also helps improve your mood.

7. IMPROVES MEMORY

We all know that mom brain is a real thing, but a study by the mayo clinic has shown that regular exercise may reduce improve your memory and reduce your risk for Alzheimers disease!

8. YOU CAN RUN WITH FRIENDS

It can be hard to keep a conversation going while running, but moms need someone to vent to sometimes. Your running buddy can be your biggest support. If you don’t have one, there are usually running groups you can join in your area.

So get yourself a good pair of running shoes and hit the pavement. If you can’t run, go for a walk. I promise you getting your body moving is worth the effort and you will feel better, even if only temporarily!

picture of mom running to relieve stress

Running is alone time that lets my brain unspool the tangles that build up over days.

– Rob Haneisen

If you’re looking for more ways to add in self-care into your daily routine, stay tuned. I will be featuring a series on self-care over the next few weeks. Make sure to follow @momlifewithp on Instagram so you don’t miss anything!

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13 comments

  1. I LOVE this post! I also have anxiety, and it has gotten worse as a mom. Running and meditation have SAVED me. I can relate to everything you said. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I am glad that you were able to find an activity that helps you with your anxiety. I suffer from anxiety as well and I’m still working on discovering what activity helps me the most. Sadly, I do not think running will be one of them, but maybe I’ll try walking instead. Thanks so much for sharing and I look forward to reading your self-care series!

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