I remember the feeling starting every Sunday in the late afternoon. The sadness and sense of disappointment that crept in and hung over me which I dubbed, “The Sunday Blahs”. I figured its normal to feel this way on a Sunday, after all, everyone identifies with “a case of the Mondays”, no one looks forward to another week of work, right?
But the longer this went on, and the more intense my Sunday Blahs got, I knew something had to change. I was only 29, way too young to be looking forward to retirement! The thing is, I worked at a small non-profit that I highly respected and with people I enjoyed. We did good things and our work meant the world to people. But it didn’t to me.
I felt guilty for staying in a job my heart wasn’t fully in, and knew I couldn’t ignore my feelings or waste anymore time spending 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday doing something I wasn’t excited about. But what could I do?
The thing I enjoyed most about my job as a grassroots event manager, was managing our charity running team. What I liked most was responding to emails or talking on the phone to our marathon runners who had questions about training, nutrition on the run, or the most common freak out, “OMG how am I going to run 26.2 miles?!” The next question I asked myself was, what excited me outside of work? When was I happiest and felt my truest self?
It’s no secret, running makes me happy. The endorphines may have a lot to do with that, but it’s more than just the feeling I get when running. It carries over into other aspects of my life and makes me a better person. But I’m not fast enough to make a career out of it, so what else? I loved my Thursday night boot camp class, but why? I loved that my friends asked me questions about working out or the healthy meals I cooked, and planning rooftop yoga with my girlfriends was something I looked forward to. I knew I was onto something, but couldn’t pinpoint exactly how to make a career out of enjoying exercise. I was a little frustrated but decided to keep fitnessy (it’s a word, trust me, just don’t look it up) things as a priority and wait for it to come together. I truly believe if you immerse yourself in what makes you happy, good things will come from it. Whether its new friends, job opportunities or new experiences, it’s all positive.
Then Pi Day came around (what, you don’t remember life events based on when Pi Day is?) and I paired my favorite hobby – running – with a pay it forward deed – volunteer pacing a Fleet Feet fun run. This particular fun run was celebrating Pi Day with a 3.14 mile run and post-run food from local pie shops and pizza places back at the store. A true win-win.
I had fun pacing the 9:00/mi group and we crossed the finish averaging 8:56/mi! I high-fived those in my group and stuck around until nearly everyone finished and headed back to the store. Two girls near me were gushing about how much fun they had, “I can’t believe I ran the whole way!”, she was literally jumping up and down, “I can’t imagine doing more than 3 miles, though!”. Without hesitation I interjected, “you can’t think of it that way, it get’s easier and easier. I walked a few blocks during my first 5K and have run marathons since!”
I’m a quiet person, but hearing this stranger express excitement about running was so energizing to me I was compelled to share my own experience and things I’d learned. She was a new runner and I was well past her in terms of running experience, but it did not matter at all. I felt true excitement for her and I wanted nothing more than to tell her all the ways running was great. That’s when it hit me. This is what I need to do. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew coaching people in some way would give me the spark I was searching for.
I researched career options and found Health Coaching was a thing! Walking the dog that night I was excited for the future. I was looking forward to planning my next move, to getting the study materials I’d need and mapping out a timeline. I wasn’t feeling the Sunday Blahs that weekend because I was actively taking charge of my future.
I know not everyone likes running, and it isn’t the catalyst towards a healthy lifestyle – a balanced mind, body and spirit – for everyone, but running taught me how to love exercise and use it to make my life better. It taught me to view food as fuel and not the enemy like many girls are tricked to think. It made me want to be stronger, to eat healthier and introduced me to some wonderful people and experiences. My goal became helping other women find their running. To be a positive influence in a world obsessed with superficial looks, showing that taking time for yourself isn’t selfish, being healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself, and that exercise shouldn’t be punishment.
Want to discover what makes you happy in a relaxed and creative way? Check out my e-book Positivity Through Creativity for 52 small creative projects designed to reconnect you with your best self! Click here and get started on your first project today!