I’m currently blogging about my fitness journey thanks to my ambassadorship with Smooth Fitness. While these posts are sponsored and I received a super sweet treadmill in exchange for my story, I’m taking this opportunity to get in shape extremely seriously. OK, mostly seriously anyway…
I have a very good friend who has gone through more personal heartache that I could ever fathom experiencing. At one point in her grief, I asked her what type of antidepressant she was on. For me to be so bold wasn’t an invasion of her privacy, we have a friendship dating back to where I’ve been there to hold her hair out of the dorm room toilet after a wild night partying, and then later in life to helped her pee while she wore a ballgown of a wedding dress.
Her response when I questioned her happy drug of choice blew my mind. She told me she’s never been on an antidepressant, because running and exercising is her drug. She works out 5-6 times a week, as a way to stay mentally healthy and strong.
Um, yeah. That’s not something I can relate to whatsoever. Over the years, I’ve been pretty open about my battle with anxiety and depression, and the things that have (and haven’t) helped me deal.
Antidepressants have worked. Although it was living hell trying to wean off them.
Talk therapy really didn’t do it for me.
A change of diet and taking supplements is good – if I can stay on them, which is a challenge for me.
With the Belgium move date inching closer and closer on the calendar, signs of anxiety and depression are starting to creep into my life. I obsess over to-do lists ranging from purging all our stuff and selling the house, to spending quality of time and seeing/doing local experiences one last time before I miss them forever. I know the move isn’t forever, but right now it’s starting to feel like forever.
I’m finding it hard to be restful and content. Or, on the flip side, it’s sometimes hard to get out of bed, and face the reality of said to-do list.
So I’ve taken up running, per my friend’s suggestion. And because I’ve always had a hard time committing to something without a tangible goal, I’ve decided to run the Indy Mini Marathon this spring, which is an experience I’ve always wanted to have while living in Indianapolis, and then running a collective 500 miles for the calendar year as a long term goal.
How am I doing?
I’m in week 3 of a 12 week 1/2 marathon training program. Guys, it’s hard. Today I had to run 3.5 miles, and this weekend my long run is 5 miles. The good news is that I’ve haven’t missed a day yet, and the program has you either running or exercising 5 days a week.
I’ve ran 60 of the 500 miles to-date. Yes, I’m a bit behind pace from where I should be, but I hope that through the half marathon training program I can catch up to where I need to be by the end of next month.
So is running/exercising helping me with my mood?
I’m sleeping loads better at night, which is major for me. Physically my body is more tired at the end of the day because of running. Since my anxiety often keeps me up at night, this is a really big deal to be able to fall asleep without the tossing and turning.
As a result of running, I’m eating better and drinking way more water instead of soda. I know some people exercise so they can “cheat”, and I totally 100% get that. But after I get done with a good run, I’m mentally motivated to eat more healthy and not “undo” what I just accomplished on the treadmill.
Just call me Pharrell Williams, because I’m totally more happy. Something about healthy endorphins, I don’t know – I got a degree in interior design not sports medicine so I really don’t know how it works. But daaaaamn girl, whatever is happening inside my body after a run is a total high. I SO HAPPY.
The state of the wardrobe is looking happier too. It’s a cycle I know all too well. Feel sad, eat to feel happy, drink to wash it all away. Because of getting into a running routine, it’s helping me eat better with a lovely side effect of loosing a wee bit of weight. I’m not sure if I ever said it here before, but I could stand to loose a few. So far, I’ve lost around 5-7 pounds, which isn’t life shattering or anything, but I can tell my clothes are starting to fit better. Yes, this makes me smile.
As I look out my window, snowflakes are flying, this winter has been the absolute worst especially if you’re prone to depression. But I can honestly say that thanks to making the effort to go downstairs and run on the treadmill a few times a week, it’s absolutely improved my mood for the better.
Running. Who knew it could make me so happy. Or at least a little bit less of a grandma grump….
*worth noting: I’m not suggesting depression and anxiety can be cured by simply hopping on a treadmill a few minutes a day. Oh no-no-no, not even one single bit. I’ve merely telling my story, what has worked for me, and what hasn’t. For me, daily exercise helps alleviate some of the heavy feelings caused by the SADS.