Good Stress: The Best Routine-Killer

April 18, 2016 • Health, Inspiration, Mental Health, Recovery, Wedding • Views: 1410

Life is crazy right now – the good kind. I have two jobs, both of which are going well and leaving me very fulfilled. I’m planning a wedding to the man of my dreams.

I have so much going on… maybe, too much. I recently shared about how good stress is still stress, and as my life filled up with exciting, stressful, awesome things, I realized I was losing any sense of routine. The “busy” that I was so excited about was also becoming a burden as my self-care began falling to the wayside.

I needed to do something drastic to ensure I was building in time to care for myself, to maintain healthy habits vital to managing my bipolar disorder and staying in recovery for bulimia.

So, I did something that seemed totally rational in my mind at the time, but might seem insane to anyone else who isn’t a runner: I registered for my second half marathon.

I know, it sounds crazy. But bear with me.

Fear is a huge motivator. I’m too stubborn to NOT run the race, but I’m too scared of how bad the race will go if I don’t give it the due diligence of training. Impulse registering for a half marathon 13 weeks before the race, with 12 weeks to train, has essentially become my means for JOLTING myself into a routine. So, by taking on this extra commitment, I have built in a schedule for myself to manage my other stresses more proactively. And, because half marathon training starts small and builds up over time, as the half marathon requires more dedication and energy, I’ll be winding down on some of the major demands on my time right now.

Is it a perfect plan? No. I’m just a few days in and I’m sore – the good kind, but still. I’m 25 and I’m going to see a podiatrist because I’m prone to foot and ankle injuries. Some days you just don’t want to go for a run. But, I’m holding myself accountable for my well-being, when just weeks ago my fitness wasn’t a priority.

On top of that, fulfilling the goal of running another half marathon and proving that my body is capable of amazing things – despite the ordeals I put it through while battling my eating disorder — is such an empowering thing to do.

So, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, give yourself a routine. Anyone involved in care for those with mental illness, eating disorders and other well-being struggles knows the balance between flexibility and a routine is usually where thriving exists. Stress is a natural part of life, and putting stress in its place sometimes requires stepping back, taking a breath and restructuring.

For me, that meant registering for a half marathon. For you, that may mean planning meals for the week, or clearing out your schedule for a few nights to regroup. Take time for self-care and routine, whatever that looks like to you.

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