LOLZLetter 70 | May is Mental Health Month

Welcome!

This week I've felt less motivated for anything.

For work

For running

For blogging

I can attribute it to a lot of things. I feel like social distancing has been going on "forever," with no end in sight. It could be that I'm lonely and miss family and friends. The "glamor" of social isolation has faded away.  Half of my sentences begin with "when things return to normal" or "when this is over."

It could be news about Ahmaud Arbery. This information should have been reported weeks ago.

Then while reading, it hit me: I'm not alone and many people feel this way. Many of us miss the ability of just a hug, high five, or not going somewhere in fear.  May is Mental Health Month and it's something I feel passionately about.  A long time ago, when I worked in the public health field, I used to blog a lot more about mental health.  My college degree is actually in community health. Personally, I've also suffered from anxiety and depression. 

While this week's newsletter might not be exactly about running, it relates, so hear me out.

On the running front, when I go outside, it’s quiet.  There is less traffic outside, and it almost seems like it's an early Sunday morning...every morning. While I love peace, I don't love why we are doing it.

The American Psychological Association reports that social isolation carries several health risks:

Including:

  • Poor sleep

  • Poor cardiovascular health

  • Lower immunity

  • Depressive symptoms

  • Impaired executive function. When the Executive Function is impaired, you may find it more challenging to focus and manage your emotions.

Does any of that sound familiar? It does for me. 

As I continue to navigate my way through the pandemic, I've also learned to take time to work through my own mental health issues. I’ve slowly started to realize things I want to bring with me to the new normal, post-pandemic.

Here are Five Things I've Learned in the Last 8 Weeks: 

Lesson One: Priorities:

This can relate to life, running, or whatever you want. When you spend that much time by yourself, it's easier to assess which parts of your life might not be as fulfilling. What are you wasting time and energy on?

Maybe you hate running long. Maybe you love short, fast workouts. Maybe you want to spend more time connecting with friends instead of doing X, Y, Z. Whatever it is, this is a great time to figure it out.  

Lesson Two: Identifying What is Bringing Happiness: 

During this period, we might have a little extra time. Extra time could be from less commuting, less in-person socializing, or fewer events.

Maybe you have time to read, or take up that new hobby. Maybe you have time to mindlessly zone out or just relax.

Here are a few things you can ask yourself to figure out what is bringing you happiness:

  • What activities make you feel rewarded? 

  • What activities keep you from obsessing over the news social media? 

  • What kind of activities do you see yourself doing in 10 years?  

Lesson Three: You Can't Control What Happens, But You Can Control How you Respond: 

There's a brutal truth in life, "You cannot control everything."  It relates to everything you do from life to sports.

You can't control the race day weather, but you can control how you respond to it.

You can't control the pandemic, but you can control your response to it.

You can do things to help yourself get the best outcome, so control those variables. Stop obsessing and trying to control things that aren't in your control.

When you find yourself worrying, take a moment to think about what you can control. Sometimes, all you can control is how you respond, your attitude, and effort. 

Lesson Four: Finding Something Positive Each Day:

Elite runner, Amelia Boone, writes an entry in her gratitude journal every day. I'm always in awe that no matter the situation she can find the positives. It can be hard and overwhelming to "find the positives," but here are a few tips I've learned:

  • Start with a positive affirmation each morning. What will make today great?

  • Focus on the good things; nothing is too small. Accomplish cleaning out your inbox? Awesome!

  • Turn your failures into lessons. No one is perfect; ask yourself what did that teach me?

  • Focus on the current moment. Instead of asking, what will happen next week, next month, next year...ask yourself what is happening today? 

Lesson Five: There Is No Right or Wrong way to Get through the Pandemic:

If you are safe and healthy, good, this isn't the time for judgment. 

We will all make it through this together. Who knows, you might pick up a few new hobbies along the way.


What is Keeping me Interested This Week?

Article: Ahmaud Arbery and Whiteness in the Running World If you read one thing, read this by Alison Desir. 

Article: Shalane Flanagan on Motherhood: “It’s Overwhelming Infatuation”

Podcast: Ali on the Run Show Episode 236: Izzy Seidel Izzy is an accomplished runner and yes sister to Molly Seidel.

Blog: How to Stay Motivated to Run (with no races)

Shoe Review: Saucony Peregrine 10 (Trail Shoe)


Don’t Miss Out

This weeks sponsor, Solpri, is having a huge sale (ends Monday, May 11th at 11:59 pm). You can try their All Natural Anti Chafe Balm for $3.95 (including shipping).

As a small business, Solpri is trying to get it in the hands of more runners. This anti-chafe product is something I use every run. Because it only contains four ingredients, I don’t worry about breakouts or chafing.

Finally, thank you for reading, subscribing, and sharing. If you enjoyed the newsletter, I appreciate you sharing. Sharing is what keeps the newsletter growing and keeps it sustainable.

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