I am well aware of the fact that exercise releases endorphins–which is why it is often called nature’s “anti-depressant.” I don’t think I have ever fully grasped how much this is true for me, until my children were born. Running is my therapy–a daily appointment with myself.
I have been a runner for most of my life. As a young runner, my running was motivated by athletic achievement and physical appearance. As I have aged and become a mother, running has become much more of a mental release for me. Running is my daily appointment with myself–either to zone out and think of nothing but listening to the sound of my footsteps or the sound of my breath or to work through one of the multitude of issues that crop up in our everyday life. Whether it’s my three year old’s latest meltdown or an argument with my husband, things always seem better after a run.
As a mother (or a father), I think there are also times when you just need to run (literally and figuratively) out the door as fast as you can. When your patience is shot and you are not sure if you can handle another moment of whining or toddler rebellion, going for a run seems like a lifeline to sanity. For me, it certainly is.
When running, my mind is somehow able to work through challenges and think of new ways of dealing with problematic situations. There have been times I have laughed out loud on a run, cried, and just gritted my teeth to stop myself from yelling out loud out of anger and frustration. But at the end of my run, I am somehow calm, cool, and collected. That feeling is the gift that running gives to me everyday; it’s my therapy and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!