Ready, Set, Go! When the shot heralded the ‘end’ of Covid a few weeks ago, it’s fair to say it was met with mixed feelings of relief sprinkled with some fear and trepidation. No wonder when you consider that we have followed a partly completely new way of life.
What we need to realize is that the fear many of us felt was a normal reactive response to an abnormal experience. It’s also normal not to feel very safe at the moment as we try to get back to “normal”. After all, we didn’t think of such large gatherings or crowds before Covid showed up. It’s hard to see things as they were BC (pre-Covid) because this isn’t the new normal – it’s different and we’re different. The trick is figuring out how to get used to what feels right for you with some gentle nudges to move forward.
Covid brought with it uncertainty, and uncertainty always comes with a solid entourage of fear. Any sentence that starts with “What if” ends in anxiety, which wells up from fear of what the future will hold – which is beyond your control.
The big question is, “Okay, what do we do next?” The answer is that step by step we take on a new challenge. We allow and accept worries and take calculated risks. One of the best tools taken away from psychiatrists during the pandemic was the recommendation of a social connection.
This connection can come from participating, belonging and being part of something bigger than yourself. Many women’s mini-marathon participants are very passionate about running for charity and there is a palpable sense that we are all in this together. This time, however, it is not a virtual concept, but personal – many people!
What you can control now is how you want to react, and by inserting a pause for reflection you can choose how you want to react. I can remember wearing a mask at the supermarket for the first time just before it became mandatory and I felt so unsafe. With amazing speed, my routine of getting out of the house quickly changed to mask, keys, wallet, phone. Today I walked into the supermarket without a mask for the first time in about two years. It felt both good and weird, and that’s okay. By noticing how your thoughts affect your mood, it can lead to a greater sense of personal autonomy. You could go one step further and ask these few questions about your concerns or concerns:
- Is this thought true?
- Is it a fact or an opinion?
- Is this thought helpful?
- What is within my control and what can I do now to improve this?
Before answering these questions, breathe in four times, hold four times, and release four times.
Letting your mind wander is easy – most of us have had a lot of practice at it. Being in a chronically elevated state of arousal because you’re in a fight, flight, freeze, or fawn mode is something you need to actively deal with in order to reduce stress hormones like cortisol.
Walking and running are great antidotes to this, and research proves that consistent, regular exercise is one of the pillars of health.
If this is your first mini-marathon or you’re a seasoned pro, break it all down in the next 16 weeks.
Start with the goal and work back week by week, then day by day in terms of training and rest days.
I don’t believe in the idea that if you do something for 28 days it creates an indefinite new habit – you create and reinforce habits through your daily actions and thoughts. If you want to achieve anything significant in life, it takes work, time, sweat (a few tears), and more work. This is the crux of the truth about achieving your goals, and you need to be very specific about what the goals are, how you’re going to achieve them, and build in days when things don’t go to plan. On those days, you recalibrate and figure out what’s going on for you, what you need, and how you’re going to meet those needs—and then you start over. That can mean going to bed a little earlier, resting when you need to, or recognizing what blockers or resistance are coming up for you, all through the prism of self-compassion.
Planning exercises is the gold standard to reach your goal and the way to go.
There is no magical motivation – it doesn’t exist. Even professional athletes have to drag themselves out of bed or off the couch on dark and wet Sunday mornings when nothing feels less appealing than going for a run. Be human and normal about your training and realize that you’re not going to feel like Rocky all the time. Celebrate the days when you get into your flow and feel strong – those are the moments when you need to retreat and retreat on a wet morning when you have to push your way out the door.
Again, motivation isn’t magic. Motivation is a drive and you need to develop not only your physical stamina but also your mental agility to tolerate not wanting to do it and do it anyway. That’s not harsh, it’s true.
A wall calendar is an essential part of your training kit. Planned exercises need to work ergonomically in your living environment, and it’s good to let everyone know what you’re committed to and when you’re going to do it to balance them out and meet their needs.
Exercise and training are a future investment in healthy modeling that will have a positive impact on those around you. Showing that you prioritize your health and take time for yourself has a multiplier effect in creating good health rituals and boundaries within a family if you are in a family.
Sitting with things that are a bit uncomfortable at first is good for us as it builds our tolerance – especially our stress tolerance. Everyone has gone through a difficult time in recent years. In a way it was like a collective experience with very different individual experiences. I have found that it has increased a collective compassion and broader understanding of mental health in a tangible way. As social beings, we are hardwired for connection.
A great word to get you moving forward is to remember “and” – you can feel happy going back to a bit of normality, “and” can make you feel insecure and insecure. It’s okay to have both emotions at the same time.
As people adjust to the new cognitive Covid fulcrum, so it is OK if it messes up your head a bit. It might be helpful to ask yourself what it means to go back to doing things we used to do — like being in big groups like the mini marathon — that feel alien, strange, and uncomfortable to you.
If you’ve done the pre-Covid mini-marathon, there’s often been a buzz of joy as people prepare to do it alone or with friends – the fact that 25,480 people attended the party in 2019 might not have given you before once came to mind. You can be sure that you are very aware of the amount of people now; We’ve been counting numbers for two years and taking daily Covid numbers, worldwide numbers, how many are in hospital – these numbers were important and impacted your everyday life.
This is not a new normal – nothing about what was experienced was normal. It’s helpful to remember that one of your best human strengths is your adaptability and psychological flexibility, which I would add to your warm-up routine for this event.
https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/womens-mini-marathon/feel-the-fear-and-run-with-it-getting-back-into-a-crowd-after-two-years-of-covid-41413167.html Feel the fear… and run with it: Coming back into a crowd after two years of Covid