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Running: My Coping Skill for Anxiety 

The winner of last week’s Spartan Race entry giveaway is Maggie! She has been contacted 🙂 Remember to check out the Spartan Season Passes here.

If you’ve read my blog for more than a few entries, you’ll know that I experience anxiety. You might also know that I work in the mental healthcare field. After 2.5 years in the field, I’ve confirmed everything grad school taught me about anxiety and more. An important thing to know about anxiety is that it is different for everyone. Some people have anxiety/panic attacks with little explanation of why they are having anxiety/panic attacks. Others experience anxiety and/or experience panic attacks when they are triggered by certain things. Additionally, some people are generally anxious and others mostly have full-blown panic attacks. Some people get to experience BOTH.

My anxiety often has a lot to do with social situations. I have improved immensely in recent years – especially in regular daily activities. I can meet new people and feel relatively confident. I can speak in front of crowds with only your average amount of stress. However, this past month has been pretty anxiety-heavy. The fact that I am getting married in less than 9 months and have seen TONS of family/friends in mass quantities due to the holidays has REALLY sparked my anxiety.

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Wedding planning is not as much fun as the engagement photo shoot was 🙂

As I mentioned in a previous post, everyone and their mom has an opinion about how our wedding “should be.” And, now, I’m SEEING everyone and their mom.  Some of the things Andy and I want for our wedding are not very traditional. I love this, but some people have a serious problem with it. Their opinions truly do not matter, but my anxiety was/is higher because of these opinions… if that makes any sense.

Dealing with these “shoulds” is hard. It hit me that my anxiety may have been higher because I was barely running at all. My lack of running was due to the fact that it’s COLD outside and because I don’t have races to train for right now. I miss the days of sweaty/super hot runs followed by intense Slurpee cravings.

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I’ve realized, however, that running is still something that will benefit me during this off season. I like to have a reason for what I do, like a race to train for when it comes to running. What better reason to run than to calm myself down? And to stay physically healthy while I’m at it!

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I just want to feel like this ALL THE TIME.

That runner’s high? I want it year round. And I can have it. For some reason, I convinced myself that it wouldn’t be possible. BUT IT IS. For about 1.5 weeks, I have been running on the regular. It’s very cold and snowy out here in Chicagoland, but I’ve taken my runs to the treadmill and couldn’t be happier. I feel a bit less anxious already and love that running can always be my outlet – even in zero degree temperatures.

My anxious brain slows way down when I’m running. Running is like a vacation for my mind and I try to take one at least twice a week 🙂