Friday I was a flood of hormonal mood swings before I start to bleed, and I felt anxious and sad and utterly overwhelmed. Also nearly sick again. Then Saturday came, and the sun was shining through tatters of clouds and I went for a run for the first time in a month, and dear god, why canâ€™t I remember this?
I need to exercise.
Every day I need to feel my body move, outside, among trees and open spaces, side stepping puddles, feeling my lungs suck in cold air. I need to exercise not because I want to look a certain way, but because I need to feel a certain way. Itâ€™s the only variable I can think of that genuinely affects how I manage stress. Itâ€™s the only thing that really makes a difference: being outdoors, feeling my blood hot in my cheeks, feeling my muscles sore afterwards.
Exercise brings balance to my life, yet regularly in the winter I let it slip by. Day after day I come home, to the sun staining the west a meek orange, and the shadows already those of dusk. I feel selfish then, setting out on a run, having not spent time with my small boy.
Yet without exercise I start to become irrational. Guilt becomes an entire harbor in my heart, sheltering a whole fleet of inadequacies: I do not spend enough time with my son; I donâ€™t cook enough or clean enough or see my husband enough; I am not a good enough teacher or writer or reader.
The only difference between days like this, and days where I feel like Iâ€™m on top of the world is that on the days where Iâ€™m kicking ass, Iâ€™ve also gotten outdoors and moved.
Seriously. Itâ€™s that easy. And that incredibly difficult. Does anyone else experience this?