I haven’t always loved running, but once I started I couldn’t stop. I use it as a way to relieve stress and free my mind from life’s little hurdles. It truly is my “me time” that I find very rewarding.
It’s hard to admit but I struggle with anxiety, and running helps me to relieve stress. It’s probably the endorphins released by exercise that make it so addicting, but I notice when I don’t work out, my anxiety increases. I’ve used running as part of my work out routine for almost a decade, but trust me when I say it took time for me to realize how much I actually enjoy the experience.
I first started running on the treadmill at the gym, setting goals for myself. Starting out, I’d only run a mile and my first goal was to simply complete it…Ha! It was a lot harder than it sounds. Then, I eventually worked my way up to three miles as a standard for myself and when I complete four, I’m more than happy!
In college I found a track near campus, and from then on I was in love with running outside. The changing of the seasons and the beautiful colors of nature make it an enjoyable experience and remind me to slow down and celebrate change.
Some tips for first timers…
- Start with a good playlist. Music helps set the tone and I usually choose a playlist that goes along with my mood (or my desired mood).
- Stretch it out. Stretching is so important, not only to warm up your muscles but starting with five minutes of stretching, focusing on your quads, calves and ankles, helps to focus on the goal ahead.
- Get going. Lately, being short on time as a new mom I’ve stuck to a couple of routes in my neighborhood, but Houston has some pretty great trails that are easy on the eyes. The scenery gives me mental clarity and a boost of happiness. I suggest looking up some of your local trails or heck if the tread mill is all you have, go with it and set a distance goal. Don’t be too hard on yourself either. It’s a marathon, not a race.
- Meditate. I always end my routine with light stretching, a few yoga moves and meditation. It’s nice to sit and reflect on what I’m grateful for, while considering the changes I want to make in my life. Yoga stretches are a great means for calming the mind and body while setting intentions for the day.
Do you make it a point to schedule in some YOU time? I would love to know what you do to relax. Let me know in the comments below.