Exercise Is My Tantrum
By Heather Curlee Novak
(Find the audio file for this here.)
We all have stress that make us want to run screaming from the place we are in towards anything simpler and less...stressful. If you have short people in your life and spend lots of time around them you probably want to get down on the floor with them and have your own tantrum thank you very much. In your work life when you are so hemmed in by red tape and policy or so frustrated with people who aren't as (brilliant) broad minded as you are a little floor rolling hollering tantrum might be just the thing.
We all want Our Way no matter what direction that may take our lives. Stress is pretty common in a world where lots of very different individuals want Their Way. After our second babe was born instead of it being My Way or the Highway, My Way literally hit the highway and our world has been run to some extent by folks who are not even two feet tall. FRUSTRATING. Difficult. Maddening. Stressful.
I went to the doctor to get input on my stress induced funk and she suggested exercise. She obviously didn't understand relaxing and de-stressing for me usually included my ample posterior on a soft surface and a cold adult bevvie in my hand. (OK...also a bowl of something sweet or salty or both in my lap.)Just the thought of exercising gave me more stress. Even so, I decided I had to do something different. So I started walking with the girls in the jogging stroller. Then I started walking a bit faster, lo, even breaking a sweat! The Husband and I decided to take on a Couch to 5K training group as a tribute to our fourth wedding anniversary theme which was "wood". As we went week after week walking less and running more (and faster too!) I noticed that every good day I had began with a run.
In the advice of my doctor and my friend Carrie I was taking frustration out on the pavement instead of my kids (which is never a good way to parent anyway). Any sense of laziness, disappointment, anger, sadness or frustration was smaller when I returned home from running most days. Because I took care of myself first thing in the morning by exercising, I had more energy to take care of these two tiny girls I love most in the world. I had essentially begun making exercise my tantrum.
Instead of yelling I was wheezing. Instead of flailing on the floor I was flailing through neighborhoods. Instead of loosing control of myself I was gaining it and decided that exercise would be a most days event for a long while. Not to get thinner. Not to be healthier. Exercise would free me from the heavy stress of loving people with a different worldview than mine. Exercise would help me to take better care of other people because I was taking care of myself. Exercise as my tantrum began turning a negative around to a positive energy and that makes me keep going with a big sweaty smile on my face. Most Days at least.