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06 Sep, 2022

Why I Run - An Easy State Of Mind Awaits me at the finish line


Today I woke up with all the signs of anxiety. Thoughts were racing, I was distracted getting my kids ready, I couldn't respond properly to anyone, I had one eye on my ever-increasing inbox and another on my youngest who was demanding another bottle of milk. I drank a coffee. Error. I downed a pint of water. The physical pain continued to increase so I decided to cycle into work - letting out some adrenaline normally does the trick. This time it didn't. I went straight into a meeting, and then another, and then another. This Monday was not panning out the way I needed it to.

Three years ago I would have just carried on and let the anxiety unfold until finally my brain would switch off and I'd be unable to form a sentence when I got home to my kids and husband. Not cool. Not good for anyone. Fast forward to today. I have a new tool in my box for dealing with anxiety. Running.

Today I cancelled my 12 o'clock meeting and ran from our deli, to Hyde Park, around the serpentine, in amongst the trees, breathing in the crisp air, listening to my heart beat, feeling the pounding in my feet. 40 minutes later I was back at my desk, a completely different version of myself. Focussed, clear headed, more confident, easier on myself. This is why I run. I don't do it for any other reason than to empower myself, to shake off the physical and mental effects of anxiety. And proof that it works is that I'm sitting here at 5.30 writing this article and I’m in a state-of-mind that feels easy. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? A state-of-mind that just feels easy.

I wanted to try and bottle that up for you and this is where I got ...

How to find your Easy State-Of-Mind

1. NOTICE YOUR STATE: Recognise when you are in a difficult state-of-mind. That’s really one of the hardest parts, recognising it and then acting on it.

2. STEP OUT OF IT: If you’re not in a good place, if the world is moving too fast, you're anxious, stressed, impatient, tired - try to step out of the situation and reflect on why you're there.

3. FIND A TOOL TO HELP CHANGE IT: Hard part over. Dig into your toolkit… don’t have a toolkit. Don’t worry you may just have one and not realise. I use running, deep breathing (literally just breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth for 5 seconds), cold water swimming (literally knocks the anxiety out of me because I can’t think of anything other than the cold), healthy food (a comforting bowl of soup, a protein hit, a pint of water), and a digital detox as my tools. I know that each of them, when used at the right time, can be just the counter I need to get back into a happy place. If you’re still unsure of your tools, now is a time to experiment. Go for a short run and recognise how it makes you feel after, go for a dip in your local river or lido or have a cold shower and see if it distracts you from negative thoughts, find and explore with foods, what foods make you feel nourished? All of these tools are within our power to utilise. And finally, remember, our health is an ever evolving thing, sometimes it's within our control and sometimes it's not. Focussing on the things we can control and making use of the tools we have available is most important. And remember to lean on us for guidance, lean on friends and family, and lean on other communities (like Sweaty Betty) that want to help you find your happiest self.

To read more about our Sweaty Betty programme please click here.

*If you are suffering with anxiety or other mental health issues please do consult with a doctor first. We believe in a holistic approach to wellbeing and recognise that something that works for one person may not work for others.