A few years ago, one could say that I was an exercise-aholic. I worked out six days a week, ran an average of 40 miles per week, and conquered five half-marathons in three years.
This was my life, and then … it wasn’t.
I had it all – two beautiful daughters, a good job working for a nonprofit, a wonderful husband who I adored and would romanticize about growing old with, a house we made a home, good friends, a loving family, and the perfect workout routine.
And in one second, it all changed. Before I even knew what was happening, my marriage was over. My new routine consisted of being a single mother, trying to figure out how to pay bills, raise my girls, deal with my broken heart, and still fit in exercise.
I bet you can guess which of these priorities fell off the list.
Running, which had been my go-to workout, was no longer an option, as time and energy routinely escaped me. I mean, you try finding a babysitter at 5:30 a.m. while you run laps around the neighborhood. To make matters worse, my “divorce diet” left me thin and unhealthy since I found it difficult to eat or sleep. I was literally falling apart.
Fast forward almost three years and I am finally working my way back to a routine that I can emotionally and physically feel comfortable with and confident about. Three years. It has been a long journey of self-discovery – and not an easy one. My physical activity routine was just one of the many pieces of myself that I had lost, and for some reason, it was the hardest to put back together.
- If I can’t run six miles, what’s the point? I had become so used to running long distances that if my mind or body would only allow me to run one mile or take a brisk walk, I didn’t see the value in it. But I was wrong. Any amount of physical exercise is beneficial in a number of ways. Tip: By downloading and using the free CDPHP® InMotionSM app, you can see how every step adds up to a life of health and wellness.
- My self-confidence was shot. After living through the trials and tribulations of my situation, the idea of running a race or joining the group of happy moms/wives who had become my “running friends” was not only intimidating, but depressing. I had the power all along; I just needed to find what was right for me.
- This isn’t working anymore. Obviously the days of 6 a.m. runs before work were no longer an option. My life had changed and so my routine needed to adapt as well. Tip: Check out these quick fitness routine ideas that you can fit in any time of day.
- What would Facebook say? I know it seems silly that this was actually a barrier for me, but it was. Facebook Time Hop kept showing me photos and posts of 10-mile morning runs, followed by snuggling in bed with my family and a trip to the local farmers’ market. It was like taking a bullet every time something like that popped up!
- What else can I do? Running had been my go-to form of exercise for years, but the thought of it made me anxious. So I tried new stuff. African dance, yoga, Pilates, spin class, etc. Find what works for you and go with it! Tip: CDPHP offers free health and wellness classes for members. Register today!
- Cut yourself some slack. I would hear this all the time from friends, family, co-workers, etc. Great advice. Do what you can today and try again tomorrow.
- Make yourself healthy in other ways. It wasn’t just exercise that fell off track with my broken heart. My diet, sleep habits, mental health, and more needed a reboot. Once I had tools in place to support my life, things started to shift. Tip: CDPHP has a number of resources to help you cope with whatever challenges you encounter along your journey.
- Make it a team effort. Involving my girls enabled me to make fitness a priority again. Yoga classes, going for walks in my neighborhood, walking a friend’s dog, chasing them on the playground – whatever gets you moving!
- Accept change. Your fitness routine will most likely evolve, get easier, and get harder. But commit to yourself and your health. It’s worth it.
- Believe in yourself. I always refer back to one of my favorite quotes, as it relates to exercise, parenthood, friendships, career – pretty much everything in my life:
There is freedom waiting for you
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?