Thoughts For Thursday

To be honest, I was really really freaking kind of depressed yesterday. You see, on Saturday, I went for a nice long run, and during the last half mile or so, I got this pain on the side of my butt. I thought it was just a spasm or a cramp, so I pushed through and didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t go for a long run again until Tuesday, and for the majority of the 5 miles I did, I was in pain. Pain in my calf, pain in my knee, pain in my ass. Once I got off the treadmill, my butt/hip area was hurting so much, I could barely walk. I tried stretching, I tried walking around, and nothing helped. I hobbled home, sat on the heating pad, and tried not to sulk. I woke up in pain, and made an appointment with my General Practitioner (GP). My GP had me do some stretches and determined that based on the location of the pain, I had bursitis. She prescribed me an anti-inflammatory, and told me to make an appt with my orthopaedist to get x-rays. Oh, and she told me not to walk unless absolutely necessary. No walking, no running, no biking, no elliptical. Umm, excuse me?

photo cred: sportlink.co.uk

To say that I took her advice lightly would be a flat out lie. I was immediately overcome with feelings of anxiety, guilt, and depression. Doesn’t she know that running is one of my biggest stress relievers? How can I go from doing cardio 5-6 days a week to nothing? Why me?!

I think my responses were pretty standard of someone who has established (and become addicted to) an exercise routine. The important thing to do is to challenge those emotions, so that you can return to thinking rationally. I don’t talk about my job or internship that much, but I’m currently interning at an Eating Disorder Outpatient Program, so I facilitate group and individual therapy. On Monday, I led a group about distorted thoughts and the importance of recognizing and replacing negative self-talk. There was a lot of discussion about All or Nothing thinking, and ways that you can compromise with yourself to accept alternatives. I did a lot of emphasizing on the fact that behaviors do not define a person: this is something I had to remind myself of yesterday.

Just because I can’t run for a few days/weeks/whatever, does not mean that I am a bad or lazy person. The amount of exercise I do, what I do or do not eat, and how messy I allow my apartment to get during midterms is no indication of how good a person I am. In a society in which those who have a “healthy” diet or frequent the gym for hours at a time are deemed “good,” I think it’s easy to lose track of what actions and activities make us feel good about who we are. I also think that we focus on our exterior more than our interior because not only is it easier to make changes, but it is the side of us that people see more. Receiving validation from external sources is a huge self-esteem booster.

photo cred: coachbetty.com

So what’s my point in all this? That we are a society of labels, and it is up to the individual, not their peers, to determine what they want their labels to read. Instead of letting one label, that may or may not have a negative connotation, define us, I think we should embrace the multitude of things that we do. Someone with a psychiatric diagnosis is not bipolar, they have bipolar disorder. I am not an injured runner, I have an injury. There are so many more activites that I do in one week than run, and I will not let an injury disregard the rest of the challenging and rewarding things that I’m capable of.

–Ariel

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Slow and Steady

When it rains, it pours. The past few weeks have been nothing short of chaotic (as shown by my absence from the interwebs–sorry!!). I have 3 major papers due in a week and a half, I strained my left gastrocnemius, and I’m just getting over a stomach virus. Needless to say, I haven’t been having the easiest of times. However, my papers need to get done, I want to be able to run without pain, and I’d like to get all this done without pulling out my hair.

photo cred: irunnersblog.com

I’m going to start with using the crap out of my planner. This time last week, I was making a schedule  to allocate my time this weekend. It may seem excessive, but I wrote down what time I plan to wake up, what time I want to get to the library, and how I plan to use my time (45 minutes for an outline, 35 minutes for research, etc). I benefit from this type of structure, and by breaking down one big project into manageable parts, it seems less intimidating.

Listening to my body is going to be vital for both my recovery and my papers. Sitting at the computer for 12 hours in an attempt to finish all my work is not going to be productive. It’s quality, not quantity, right? I also have to listen to my body as far as exercise goes. While running is my main source of stress relief, if it hurts, I simply can’t do it- there are other cardio machines at the gym that I can use to cross train. In order to be an active participant in my recovery, I’m attending physical therapy once a week and have been a stickler about doing my exercises and stretches.  I also got new running shoes because although I loved them, mine were a hot mess.

Womens <em>New Balance 749</em> Running Shoes WR749ST

photo cred: newbalance.com

Lastly, I’m going to go easy on myself. This one is going to be challenging. As a perfectionist, I have a tendency to beat myself up if I don’t live up to my (unrealistic) expectations. It’s important for me to recognize that my expectations are ridiculously high, and if I let something falter, it’s not the end of the world. I think this will be a process, but my injury has shown me that pushing too hard too frequently doesn’t yield desirable results.

Oh, and I’m scheduling a facial after I hand in my last paper 🙂

How do you handle stress?

 

–Ariel

Keep On Keepin’ On

I have been a bad, bad blogger, you guys. Not only have I not been cooking anything exciting, I haven’t even been on the computer in over 54 hours. Getting to the gym has also been a struggle. I don’t know about you, but this winter is hitting me hard. If I had the energy, I would make a line graph showing the positive correlation between the snow accumulation and my level of motivation. Shoveling every other day + 20 hours at work + 21 hours at my internship + running as much as I can =

Exhaustion!!!

Apologies for complaining, but I believe that venting is an important stress management tool. Recently, I’ve been going out of my way to do things that reduce my stress.

Mike and I have been going for long walks on the weekend to get some exercise and absorb a little vitamin D. We recently took a 5 mile hike around this lake, in which we encountered a flock of birds. Swans are enormous, by the way.  Don’t these remind you a little of The Beatles?!

Another way that I’ve been relieving some stress is by indulging in an hour of knitting a few times a week. I’m not very skilled yet, so I’m just trying to practice making things that are outside of my comfort zone.

Kind of like these 1 Up mittens for Mike! These were the first mittens I’ve ever made and the first intarsia work I’ve ever done. As you can see, the left one is a little wonky because that’s the one that I did all by myself without the help from my very talented mother.

Indulging in delicious sushi has also been part of my stress relief routine. It’s important to treat your body, mind, and soul every once in a while.

 

What are some ways that you get yourself out of a mid-winter funk? I’d love to hear your motivation tips!

 

–Ariel