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running is hard - Elizabeth Wendland Photography - Portland, Sherwood, Oregon

note: this post was written as a guest post on another site, with the topic being Refresh.

As I sit down to write on this topic of “refresh”, I must say part of my mind is screaming “hypocrite!”, because this is something I struggle with every day. Some days I win. Some days, well, not so much 🙁

Maybe you know what I’m talking about. You know you should be doing something to refresh your spirit. You know you need some time to yourself. You know that putting everyone else first all. the. time. is not healthy. You know, you need down-time to refresh and revive your spirit, or eventually your going to snap, but… And that’s the thing, there’s always a but. There is always something demanding your time, your energy, your attention, your skills. You feel like you can’t let anyone down. You don’t want to say no to your kids, your spouse, your job. But… at the end of the day, you’re at the end of the day. You have spent another 24 hours doing for others, and you feel spent. You feel lonely. You miss you.

suggestion or command? Elizabeth Wendland Photography - Portland, Sherwood, Oregon -IMG_0368

Refreshing your spirit need not be a huge, time consuming, or expensive thing. Sometimes when we think about refreshing our spirits, we only consider the big ways to refresh. Vacation. A week off (or two!). And while those times are important, it’s the little daily moments of refreshment that keep us going. Maybe a nice massage is your perfect respite. It might be a half hour in the early morning where you sit with your warm cup of coffee and your journal. It might be that quiet time when the rest of the world seems to have settled in for the night, and you curl up in your chair with a good book. It really doesn’t matter what your “thing” is, it just has to be something that allows you to be quiet. To be alone. Alone with yourself. Alone with your thoughts. With your worries. With your hopes.With your dreams. Remember those?  Dreams…? Your mind needs time to hear the quiet whisperings of your heart.

run because you love the feeling of living - Elizabeth Wendland Photography - Portland, Sherwood, Oregon

I’m going to tell you a little about how I refresh my spirit. Exercise. And my exercise of choice… running. There is an unfortunate predilection toward depression in my family. Especially among the women, and I (unfortunately) am not immune. Thankfully a routine of regular running keeps most of my personal demons at bay. Not everyone is so lucky, but for me running is my Prozac. Without it, well let’s not talk about that right now. For me, running is the only thing I’ve found that banishes every other thought and worry from my mind. I’ve run through…

  • fear
  • happiness
  • anger
  • sadness
  • love
  • frustration
  • loss

if I didn't run I'd have gone crazy by now - Elizabeth Wendland Photography - Portland, Sherwood, Oregon

Running is the only thing that stills the constant barrage of thoughts, ideas and worries, that seem to bounce around in my mind nearly every moment of the day. Don’t get me wrong, running is not easy or fun for me. It is a challenge. Every. Single. Day. Sadly, it is no easier for me to put on my running shoes today, than it was last week, last month, or last year; but I do it, because I must. It keeps me sane, and for that, I force myself to lace up. It sounds terrible to say “force”, but that is the truth of it. Even though I know how much better I will feel when I’m done, it’s still an exercise in mental fortitude to take those first steps. There are a couple of sayings I hear over and over from runners. They make me think I may not be alone in my battle…

running never takes more than it gives back - Elizabeth Wendland Photography - Portland, Sherwood, Oregon

or maybe this sounds better…

dead last is greater than did not finish - Elizabeth Wendland Photography - Portland, Sherwood, Oregon

It would seem that this may be a demon that I battle forever. As I wrote this, something tickled my brain. Something told me I had been here before, so I went searching.  Sure enough self- criticism and denial were waiting there to greet me.

And a final thought to make you smile, before I send you along to the next lovely teacher to read about her take on the refresh theme…

what I feel like when I run - Elizabeth Wendland Photography - Portland, Sherwood, Oregon

Made you smile, didn’t it! 😉

keep the green side up,

~Beth

update:  so many of you have emailed or private messaged me this morning about this post. I cannot begin to express how humbling it is that this has touched so many of you, thank you. I will be responding to every single one of you. Please be patient as I work my way through these messages. Thank you, again.