Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stress Release

What's your stress release?  For some, it's drawing or poetry.  For others, it's kickboxing or yoga/meditation.  For me, it's running.  Balls to the wall, full-on sweat-my-butt-off running.  And if I don't get it, I have a problem.  Sometimes, I have to improvise.

While I was marathon training, it wasn't a problem.  Hubby had been away in GA for work most of April, but I had a goal and I wasn't going to not achieve it!  After the race though, and after yet another month of being mostly a single parent (and driving to see him the rest of the time), I've grown a bit weary.  My present gym contract is across town, and I don't really like my home treadmill (shin splints, anyone?) so I'm not getting to run as much as I'd like.  And it's making me a crazy grump.

Last night the kids were insane.  Like, the type of insane when they sit in the parking lot of Target and scream and they aren't even sure why.  The kind of insane where they argue with each other over who gets hugged more by the other.  What is that???  So after a bit, I just lost it.  I've run under 20 miles in the past week and a half, and I'm hurting for some stress release.  I started screaming.  The level of screaming that the neighbors probably heard (and since she reads this--sorry!).  As soon as I was done screaming, I felt horrible.  I hid in another room for a few minutes to cool down, and then I went to them, sat them both in my lap, and apologized profusely.  I told them that I was having a bad day too and that we would work hard together to all improve our moods.  They hugged me, thanked me, and apologized to me too, totally unprompted!  It was a sweet moment.  We were all still a bit weathered for the evening, and since I knew I wouldn't be able to run, I just put on my workout clothes and hid away for a bit with my yoga mat and a plan.  I pulled up my favorite quick workout, "The 100", and did a round while they wound down for bed.  I felt a bit better.  I got them to sleep, and I did more rounds.  I changed stuff up, and I ended up going until my legs were floppy and my head was clear.  It was glorious.  I woke up this morning feeling refreshed.

So what I'm saying is, find your stress release and indulge in it often.  If you don't know what it is, try anything and everything until you get there.  Give every activity a chance to really soak in before you dismiss it.  I despised running until I got better at it.  I couldn't run last night, so I tried something else until it worked.  And boy did it really work!  I got to snuggle the kiddos all night, and we're all a good bit happier today.

Here's a breakdown of what I did last night to make the crazy go away:

100 jumping jacks
90 forward arm circles, 90 reverse arm circles
80 crunches
70 sumo squats
60 leg lifts
50 chair hops (I used the coffee table)
40 regular squats
30 pushups
20 reverse lunges
10 curl-ups (go buy a pullup bar, they're awesome and cheap!)
Repeat from the beginning until you can't anymore, then do a few sun salutations/stretching to calm and release. 

Basically, I doubled the arm circles because they're easy, took out the leg hops to avoid aggravating my wonky shin, moved the other activities up a notch, and added in the curl-ups.  I also use a chair to put one foot on while doing them, so I can lessen the weight I'm pulling.  I promise that you'll be sweaty and happy when you're done!  And who doesn't love that?!

Oh, and this final thought:  Apologize to your kids when you mess up.  We require it from them, and we should teach by example.  I tell them constantly--Grownups have bad times too.  Mistakes happen, and it's how we handle it that makes the difference!

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1 comment:

  1. I never thought I would say this, but I really love hitting the stairmaster when I'm stressed. It "burns so good."

    I also completely agree on apologizing to the kiddos. I have had to do that more times than I like to admit.