Knowing your value means knowing that you must work out — and also realizing that sometimes you can’t.
I love to run. I was a huge runner in college; long distance was my thing. And I ran through both my pregnancies and thought I was superwoman.
But over the years, my relationship with exercise became complicated. I would feel guilty if I didn’t run, and the activity that used to energize me started to feel gutting.
Running also started to feel connected to food and calories instead of the fun of the run. I wrote about a lot of that in my book, “Obsessed."
But it was a time and energy commitment that started to feel too hard to reach. My life was at a complicated stage, and it felt daunting. Running wasn’t a stress release anymore, it was a stress inducer.
Trying to get a run in on top of co-hosting “Morning Joe,” going through a divorce, being there for my kids and taking care of my parents was becoming too much.
I would run, but it was hard and I really had to push myself. And I was disappointed when I didn’t fit it in.
I went through a stage where I wasn’t mentally in top shape, and it impacted the joy of running for me. So finally, I took a step back and started running less — a lot less — then walking. In fact, a lot of walking.
I stopped feeling guilty and did what I could do, which was walk.
I did a massive reset on what was possible for me.
I took a look at my life and spent a lot of time walking and focusing on mindfulness, which I used to be skeptical about. Now I think about it a lot: smoothing out the edges, lowering my reactivity, letting life breathe a bit.
I took a year off from running and instead focused on the health of my mind. And guess what? Things started lining up for me. And what I thought was in the rear-view mirror is now back!
I’m running again. I also bike with my mom and make sure she exercises every day. I found myself liking it again — choosing to run because it was fun.
Can you believe this, I’m up to five or six miles a day now … and may even do a race next month!!
Taking a big break from running gave me the time to realign my relationship with running … and my life.
I also look at running very differently. It used to be a box to check off on my daily to-do list.
Now, it’s my time to relax, let my brain take a rest and focus on the air, my breathing, the trees, the sky and just being in the moment.
I always tell women to listen to their bodies. I also want you all to listen to your minds. If you are strained, stressed, sad, overwhelmed and you are feeling these emotions over a long period of time, it’s time to change things up. Take a break, walk instead of run. Give yourself the space to get back to where you want to be.
Remember: If you are too attached to something and it’s a chore that causes guilt — it’s a bad relationship.
I hit reset, and now I'm back on track.