Good shoes – a mental health investment

This Sunday I got an itch to go for a run. It was at a time when I noticed myself going to the cupboard, believing I wanted to eat something.

In reality, I was not hungry. I was avoiding the task of writing up my ice breaker speech for my Toastmasters meeting scheduled for this Tuesday. Since I have developed a mindfulness practice when it comes to eating (and practicing for 3+ years) I realize this usually means one of a few things:

  1. I am trying to avoid doing something I find unpleasant.
  2. I am avoiding feelings that I believe are unpleasant, rather than just sitting with them.
  3. I am avoiding boredom or loneliness.
  4. I am feeling vulnerable or ashamed about something.

On that day, I felt a bit unfocused – I was trying to figure out how to begin the speech, and I wanted to start with a story about my Grandmother. Then I started wondering how much I want to reveal about myself.

In reality, I want to communicate a bit about myself that helps the group connect with me. And because I’m human, I want them to like me. Sheesh, that’s a bit hard to admit. I like to say that I’m losing my ability to care about what other people think. On an ideal day, that’s probably true.

But because human beings are wired for belonging (similar to the way we are wired for story), I had to take some deep breaths and admit to myself that it is where those uncomfortable feelings originated. The beautiful and true fact is that we are not control over whether others like us. Even if we want to control that, the emotions they have are largely based on the thoughts and beliefs in their own heads.

my hubby’s old running shoes that I borrowed on Sunday

So, remembering that, and realizing I’d been stationary all morning, and that fresh air and sunshine always seem to clarify my thinking, I started looking for my running shoes. Despite my efforts, and a fairly clean and de-cluttered home, they were nowhere to be found. I texted my husband to ask if he had seen them. Nope. He recommended I borrow his shoes, and maybe we could shop for new shoes next week.

I had put a lot of miles on those shoes, and my knees had been feeling that I might need a new pair. But I’ve been trying to be frugal these days, until my income is a bit more predictable (freelancers of the world, rejoice!). Then I realized that the clarity, focus and stress-relief I get from running (or yoga or dancing) are not optional. They are part of the mental health regimen that has kept me sane for decades.

Of course, they are not the only thing that has helped. Therapy, good dietary choices (more healthy fat – lovely!) and good sleep hygiene also receive high marks for getting me through challenging times. But getting out for some fresh air, a walk or run and sunshine? Priceless.

I used to say that a good pair of running shoes kept me from taking negative feelings out on others. They still help, for sure. As long as I am not running a “punishing” number of miles as I did that time I trained for a marathon (one and done), it is a lovely stress reliever.

Now, let’s see if I can get that speech written or at least outlined. To hold myself accountable, I will need to report back in my next blog on Thursday…



7 thoughts on “Good shoes – a mental health investment

  1. I love how you share your process here Cristy – starting from going to the cupboard, realising you’re not hungry, acknowledging the reasons you used to turn to food, staying with yourself to work out what you were feeling and then going for a run to feel better. This is so useful for anyone struggling with emotion-driven overeating issues. Good luck with the speech, looking forward to hearing all about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Julie. I am more aware of it, and I know I’m not perfect. Sometimes I indulge in the easy comfort of food anyway, though in a much more mindful and less destructive way than in my younger days. Then I give myself enormous self-compassion and forgiveness, and just begin again. It’s like meditation, when our minds wander. We always just begin again with compassion. And I recognize the human need for comfort as common to all people. Some of us use food, others use the internet, others use over-work, over-thinking and habitual anxiety, or alcohol or drugs. Knowing our own vulnerabilities helps us have empathy for everyone who might struggle in some way. So it can be a great gift as well as a struggle. Thanks for your comment! I am eager to get the speech over with now! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think it has to be perfect – even people who don’t have issues with food comfort eat sometimes. I agree that having issues of this nature helps us to have empathy for others who struggle with other substances or behaviours – we’re all just human! Again, hope the speech goes really well, I’m sure it will.

        Liked by 1 person

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