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A Runner’s Guide to Self-Care In These Stressful Times

A Runner’s Guide to Self-Care In These Stressful Times

These are sad, scary, stressful times. We’re worried about our loved ones. We’re worried about ourselves. We’re worried about our jobs and financial well-being. Amidst all this stress and distress, our usual coping outlets—training, racing, and group runs— are being disrupted or canceled.

Depending upon your circumstances and where you live, you may still be able to get out for a safe solo run. Or maybe you’re a single parent at home with three wall-climbing kids and your only outlet, when you can get it, is a quick couple of miles on the treadmill or core workout. No matter who you are, your new normal is anything but.

For those of us who use endurance sports to anchor ourselves and manage our mental health during the best of times, having our routines disrupted during this enormously stressful (and sometimes surreal) period is an added blow to our well-being.

While getting exercise may feel insignificant in the big picture of a global pandemic, for long-term health and wellness of not just our individual selves, but society at large, self care is very important during these stressful times, says Brandon Alderman, Ph.D., department of kinesiology and health at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“To save lives, we’re doing the right thing right now,” Alderman says. “The work on our mental health also needs to begin immediately, though, or the risk of other problems with depression, addiction, and alcohol abuse will develop that could be very long lasting.”

So while flattening this curve is paramount, taking care of yourself right now will help prevent a spike in mental health problems that linger for years after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has run its course.