The New Year arrived and everyone around me was gung-ho with their resolutions and goals while I was recovering from illness after the holidays and travels. I wanted to join in on the enthusiasm, but I was still dragging. I went out for my first run in awhile and managed just 2 miles. My first workout of the year was all of 30 minutes and I felt like I was crawling through mud. Initially I was frustrated, but then I took a step back and looked at the situation as if I were advising a client or friend. That’s when I decided that I was going to start the year just “going through the motions.” Since going full speed/strength was not an option, I was going to focus on just going through the motions to get myself back in the groove until I was feeling stronger and healthier again. As mid-January came and went, I realized I was still just going through the motions. What the heck is wrong with me?
One evening my husband and I were having a conversation about the snail’s pace progress on the build of our new house and it suddenly hit me (in the form of an abrupt onset of unexpected tears) how stressed I was about it. The process of building our house was supposed to last about 9 months and here we are over 2 years later – getting close, but not yet done. You may find it strange that I was just now realizing that I was stressed, but here’s the thing: I am very good at compartmentalizing. I know that about myself. I just didn’t realize how good I was. So good that I had managed to stuff all of my house-related stress into a little box without noticing that the box was overflowing – into the rest of my life.
Once I began processing that, I realized a few things. That lack of motivation I’ve been experiencing for way too long – STRESS! My fatigue and lack of ability/desire to push myself – STRESS! Weight gain – STRESS! Feeling overwhelmed and out of control – STRESS! Ladies and gentleman, this girl just had a breakthrough!
Now what? Well, let’s be honest, I’m not really sure because one of the “side-effects” of being amazing at compartmentalizing is the lack of practice in dealing with your stuff. Hmmmmm . . . I guess this girl is about to start practicing.
Realizing my stress has been a good start. With that in mind, I mentally threw out my list of goals. Why? Because while usually goals help direct and motivate me, adding them to my list was actually adding to my stress. I realized that getting in a run or a workout had become more about checking an item off of my to-do list instead of being a healthy stress release.
This week I went for a run and for the first time in forever, I got lost in my thoughts. That’s the running I love! It was pretty awesome.
My stress has been crazy this week. I’m not really sure how to deal with it, but I’m acknowledging that I feel stressed and trying to avoid the unnecessary things that add to that stress. I noticed that negativity was a huge factor in the increase in my stress level. So, I have been making a concentrated effort to avoid the negativity of others. While that isn’t always possible, I am eliminating the things I can control.
I know this is a process and I will continue to have to deal with stress, but I feel like I’m finally on the right track in getting back to me. I’m actually looking forward to my runs and workouts at the moment. That’s kind of a big deal.
Stay tuned. I will continue writing about this journey back to me in 2017 with the hope that this will help someone else who is in the same boat and needs some encouragement. Join me! How do you manage your stress?