Looking after kids can be really tough on your mental disposition. There are so many points during the day where you feel stressed, tense and at breaking point. And that tension always needs to come out. I’m sure it’s why so many of us need that teatime or evening drink (or why we’re smashed on the school run, if we believed how the media portray us). There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink. But what if we’re doing it for the wrong reason?
I hate Wednesdays.
Wednesdays are my hardest day of the week, no question about it.
Because of nursery and school schedules, it’s the first day since the weekend, that all three kids are in each other’s faces. And don’t they make sure I know it.
By 5.00 PM, I am looking at the wine bottle. And by 6.30 PM I am sending Daddy Pig angry texts.
Tonight was no different. Except I’m trying to drink less, so when I found myself eyeing up the bottle at 4.45 PM, I knew it wasn’t because I particularly fancied a wine but because the kids’ bickering over Barnaby, the sodding class bear (who we’ve got again), had left me feeling so frazzled I desperately needed a release.
If I could just go running, I thought. But Daddy Pig wouldn’t be home until 7.30 PM.
I’d be climbing the walls by then.
Mum on the run. Literally.
Running has always been my thing. For me, there’s no release like it.
I don’t run huge distances. 5K two or three times a week does me. I did do a few half marathons in preparation for the London Marathon 2011 and despite being told by some that I need to do another marathon to get below the four hour mark (I did it in 4.04), I’m not particularly tempted. The memory of getting to 20 miles and having a debate with myself about which was more painful, a marathon or labour, will probably never leave me.
So, I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead (with marathons AND babies).
Running and writing.
Don’t ask me how, but tonight, I managed to hold out on the wine. In favour of an evening run, the first I’ve done in goodness knows how long. Maybe two years?
And as soon as DP got in, I was outta there. Pounding those pavements and breathing in that cold air, the type that makes you catch your breath and hurts the back of your throat. It wasn’t my usual picturesque daytime route of Greenwich Park (if you’ve ever driven the A2, you’ll know what I mean). And I didn’t listen to music because I never do. My life is filled with enough noise; I want to be able to hear my thoughts, for once. Which is probably why I often write whole blog posts in my head when I’m running.
In fact, I wrote this post whilst I was running.
How to be happy.
If you’re still reading this and thinking, ‘Crikey, I hate running. What’s her point? She’s a right, smug cow tonight,‘ I’m getting there, I promise.
I’m just sharing something that I’d totally forgotten. That there are a million other things, better than booze, for releasing tension. Yoga. Pilates. Zumba. Swimming. Any exercise, which lifts the heart rate lifts the mood, something I have to personally watch since having PND. But if exercise isn’t your thing, or you can’t get out because of childcare, studies show that engaging in non-cardio hobbies, like painting, baking or writing also raise serotonin and dopamine levels, the chemicals in our brains that make us happy.
(Gin. Don’t worry. I still love you.)
Running for our lives?
This is not a post to make you feel guilty. We’ve got enough of that in our lives. So, if you’re tucking into a glass of red right now, good on you.
But, we’re all smart enough to know that any form of regular exercise is good for us. And our amazing bodies that have given us our babies probably need a bit of nurturing in return, especially when they’re under so much pressure looking after young kids. So, if you’ve never tried running, maybe give it a go. It’s free. And it’s liberating. I have tons of friends who didn’t discover running until they had kids (there’s something in that, I’m sure. Are we trying to escape?). Or go for that swim that you used to love, that you haven’t done since you had kids and can’t quite remember why not.
Finally, ditch those fad diets that make you miserable and focus on what you can give to your body and mind, not what you must take away.
Because as amazing as a damn good double gin is, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the natural serotonin that comes from using your body.
Let me know how you go.