Over the last two weeks, I’ve had constant low-grade anxiety. I call it low-grade, because I’m not in full blown worry mode, which took me years to recognize. But I have been feeling like I’m forgetting something, and that my to-do list is super long and impossible. These things aren’t true. Rationally, I know this. My to-do list is short, and they’re items of my own choosing. I haven’t forgotten anything. But this is my natural state – a sort of high-alert filled with worst-case thinking.
Why two weeks? Well, I usually run three to four times a week. Over the last two weeks, I’ve only had time to run twice. The lack of exercise and lots of travel (a work trip and a Christmas visit to my parents) has thrown me for a loop.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact, I’m in a few Facebook groups for runners, and many, many people talk about using running to combat depression and anxiety. And there’s science behind it, also.
So this morning, I had the option to go to church with good friends, or run, and I chose to run. I know they both would have done me good, but the idea of church really amped up my anxiety, and so did the idea of NOT running for one more day.
When I run, I usually listen to the same playlist every time. Songs move on and off the list. But there are a few constants. Each one has a fast enough beat to keep me moving, and lyrics to help me clear my mind and some help me focus on God.
It’s not all or even half Christian music. But faith is a funny thing. Some of these songs make me feel empowered. Some remind me of my blessings. Some help me take a little stock and ask for help when my own strength is not enough. Sometimes an actual church and the people inside is just the thing. But sometimes, a sunny trail and my headphones bring me closer to God than anything else could.
I hope you’re finding the things that brings you peace and joy this holiday season. I’d love to know what they are! And here’s my running play list – I’d love to know what you’re listening to.