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Running and Mental Health. It’s a state of mind!

What’s your state of mind during Covid-19?

Kate Dainton is a member of the Shepparton Runners Club, a mental health social worker, a real life mum juggler and a runner.  She knows how running and mental health can improve your state of mind. So as part of our #staystrong campaign we asked Kate for some top tips on how to deal with the change of routine, the restrictions and uncertainty that we all facing.  This two minute read could change your state of mind and change your day!

Mental health issues rise in a pandemic and finding motivation to run can become a struggle when routines have changed.  I have written some tips on the importance to keep running and stay somewhat sane.

1. Running can give you a sense of CONTROL

We can’t control the restrictions and the cancellations around us but we can control our mind and body. Doing something constructive and healthy for yourself gives you some much needed empowerment.

2. It brings us CONFIDENCE

In these times we need to feel like super hero’s! Pushing through excuses such as           I can’t do this” brings a shift in thinking of “I can

Neuroscience tell us that the more we use mind muscle power the stronger it gets and you become brain strong!

3. It teaches us RESILIENCE. The secret to running? Putting one foot in front of the other!

Take it one step at a time. As long as you’re moving forward, eventually you’ll make it through. This Virus is going to end. Keep moving sideways or forwards but not backwards. 

4. It gets you OUT OF YOUR HEAD 

We have more time to think and it is easy to get caught on the worry train. Running gets you out of your head and into nature. If your mind keeps talking to you while running have some great tunes or a podcast on hand. It’s a great time to practice mindful moving meditation while you run. Start with tuning into what you can hear, smell and see. Just try this for a for a minute and build the time. Brain muscle building again, right here.

5. ENDORPHINES. 

Runner’s high isn’t just an expression, it’s a real thing. It floods your body with joy and adrenaline. It’s a free natural drug and better than other alternatives of high sugar food and  alcohol that increase weight gain.

6. It allows us to be A SELF MOTIVATOR!

Running teaches you that you can surprise yourself. Despite not wanting to get off Netflix you can self-motivate and get your feet out the door.

 7. It gives you CONNECTIONS

Yes!!! True. You can run with others (no more than 10) as long as you practice physical distancing, run with a pet or virtually and connect via strava. Listening to a podcast makes me feel like someone is talking to me. It also connects you to nature, the great outdoors which is a known depression buster. 

With all of this in mind the most important thing is to incorporate KINDNESS,  ACCEPTANCE and GRATITUDE. Lower your expectations on everything at the moment and try to embrace these challenges. 

I’ll end with a quote fitting to the current climate of missing out on things we love. 

“Shoot for the stars but if you happen to miss, shoot for the moon instead” Neil Armstrong.

There are still some great running events and milestones to be had, If we don’t see you at Shepparton Running Festival this year we hope to see you in 2021. And if you are new to running use this time to prepare for the return of Park Run 5km and many other fun events.

If none of your strategies are helping relieve symptoms of depression and or anxiety, reach out to a friend, GP’s and mental health professionals. We have got your back so you can get back on your journey for reaching for your own star. 

Take care, Kate.

Download this article here

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