Hey Bookish People,
This post might seem off topic on a blog about writing and author Instagram branding, but for me it’s really not. Since November of 2017 I’ve been running 3 times a week with minimal exceptions and I started that habit to keep my mental health in check and my writing and business afloat. I’ve been dealing with anxiety for about two years now with winter being an especially difficult time for me and a combination of running and meditation has helped keep me balanced.
When I was at my lowest points over the winter, running was the only thing that would shift my mood some days. Of course, I’d like to remind everyone that I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice, but for me personally running has been my brain maintenance. I’ve even grown to really enjoy the time I spend running (and I have always HATED exercise).
So how did I get into the habit?
The first step was just setting the goal. Three days a week seemed reasonable so I planned to run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. The hardest part was telling myself that this was a commitment for the long term. I know it’s a habit I need to maintain and so I accept no excuses for missing a day other than illness or injury (because running with either will probably take me out of running even longer). Not wanting to run is not a good enough excuse.
The second rule I set for myself that contributed to a successful habit is that I don’t force myself to go further than I want to. If it’s a four mile run day and I feel like crap and I only make it two…then that’s ok. If I feel good, I keep running. I have a general idea of what I’m capable of (5.5 miles from 1.5 orginally!) and I do try to increase my mileage every couple of weeks by a small amount to give myself a sense of progress, but I never force it. Most days knowing that I don’t have to go far is what gets me out the door and then I surprise myself with a better run than I’m expecting.
I also try and make my runs as fun as possible. I run the route that’s prettiest (while still being safe), I make a playlist of my favorite upbeat music, and I hoard my favorite podcasts for those morning runs. I make my time outdoors as beautiful and upbeat as possible and some days I even look forward to stepping out for my run. While I think getting myself up and dressed to go run will always be somewhat of a struggle it’s nice to know that things are going to be upbeat once I’m out on the run.
As an added bonus I also make sure to use the Charity Miles app. For every mile I run a donation is made to a charity of my choosing. A run is a lot more motivating when every run is a small donation to a cause like my current charity: She’s the First. She’s the First provides scholarships to low income girls in other countries that will be the first in their family to graduate from high school. Now that is something worth stepping out the door for. I also use Charity Miles to earn points for my Hogwarts Running Club team (go Gryffindor!). Be sure to check out both Charity Miles and Hogwarts Running Club!
Let me be honest; there are many days it’s a struggle to get out the door. The things I’ve done to tweak my perspective on my runs is the push that usually gets me that last step there. Runs are inevitable every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for at least a little while so I might as well have fun with it. And most of the time it is fun once I warm up. After 6 months I know that I will come away from my runs with some awesome endorphins, a clear head, and a feeling like I can tackle my day (and my writing).
Do you have a regular exercise habit? Do you think it helps your mental health and your business? I’d love to hear what you think makes your habit successful so leave a comment. We’ll be back to writing and Instagram content tomorrow :).
Happy Creating (and running!)