Is it just me or has this been an extremely long week? The past two weeks of work have been crazy busy, but this week it slowed down which has made some of my days drag.

Thankfully, it is officially Friday! Today, I wanted to focus on something that so many of us deal with, stress.

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Stress is not your friend.

If you didn’t know that already I’m a bit surprised, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t. I’ve struggled for many years with stress. Even the slightest things would stress me out. It has definitely caused a disagreement or two between Wes and me as well.

Stress is part of life, but it can’t overtake your life. Increased stress and cortisol levels over times can do some pretty frustrating things to your body. It can not only affect your overall health, but your weight and running performance too.

A couple weeks into this marathon training cycle, I knew I had to get a hold of my stress. I couldn’t let what used to be my stress reliever turn into a stressor. However, I really didn’t know how to go about it and I continued to let it become a problem.

 

I shared this quote in Wednesday’s post, but it was the perfect mantra going into my new week!

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If we keep doing the same things over and over again, you are never going to get a different result. In fact, isn’t that the definition of insanity?

It doesn’t mean the changes are going to be easy but it often times is what you need.

 

Here are some of the simple changes I put into effect to help manage my stress:

Sleep

The only option for me to get in a decent run, especially in the summer, is to get up at 4:00-4:30 AM and get it done. However, every night I battle myself with getting dinner, work and housework all done in enough time to get to bed on time.

It’s actually been very rare that I can get in bed in time to get even 7 hours, let alone 8. I usually average around 6.5 a night. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but did you know that the difference between 6 and 8 hours of sleep a night can result in a pretty large reduction in your cortisol levels.

 

I’m making it a bit focus to try to at least be in bed earlier. One step at a time.

 

Don’t Think About It

I do not let myself think much about my workouts prior to the night before. Wes has always been really good at not thinking about a workout until he’s about to do it, I haven’t.

The night before I write down my workout and time goals and then lay my clothes out and get in bed. That way I don’t have much time to think or stress about it.

 

You’re Just Tired (It’s 4:00 AM!)

For some reason, almost every morning the past couple weeks my alarm goes off, I get up and I stand in the middle of the living room contemplating actually running.  This hasn’t happened in a long time.

Early Morning

A lot of the time I find myself saying “you’re burnt out”, “you’re too exhausted” but the real reason is because I’m TIRED! Its 4:00 AM, most people aren’t up yet, my husband is still asleep, and I just want to go back to bed. It’s completely valid but no a reason to skip the run or workout.

I just remind myself “you’re just tired and once you get started it’ll be okay.”

 

Time Management

I’m not always good with time management, especially once I get home. I think it’s because I’m so focused at work day in and day out that by the time I get home I just want to check out. I end up wasting a lot of time and then quickly am rushing to get everything done before bed.

I’ve made it a point to really manage my few hours in the evening much better so I don’t end the night rushing and stressing.

 

Make it Easier on Yourself

Running is hard. Running the same course, in the same area, or in the same heat and humidity makes it harder. If that means running on a treadmill one morning, then so be it.

If that means going to a new place to run, then do it! This weekend Wes and I both have some tough runs on Saturday so we are packing up and heading to stay at my in-laws while they are out of town to use a great trail they have nearby. Not only will it be new scenery, but it will also make it easier.

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Do what you have to do. Don’t make running harder than it needs to be. Last Sunday I went out and did part of my run on trails. It didn’t make it easier physically, but mentally it did.

 

Control What You Can Control

This has been the hardest for me, but the most beneficial. Worry and focus on the things you can control and forget the rest.

The rest will eventually will pass and it’s not worth hurting yourself over now.

 

These tips aren’t anything earth shattering, but they have already really helped me this week! Sometimes we just have to decide to make a change and do it!

 

How do you manage your stress?

Do you ever find that running has become a stressor?

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