I saw a meme the other day that had me in stitches. I have not been able to run for the past week due to sickness but I could relate so much. It is inevitable that we will go through periods where will not be able to run and be active, either due to illness or injury. What I didn’t expect was changes in my mood due the fact that I was unable to be active.
From my own experience these are some of the changes I encountered.
- Short tempered
- Mild depression
All of these symptoms can be the cause for other mental issues and illness. What made me ponder the whole runhole theory is, it came exactly when I stopped being active and slowly subsided once I started my normal routine and active levels. a study
Exercise as a drug
We all know you feel good after running or hitting the gym, this is because your brain releases endorphins and dopamine to make you feel good. It’s ok to admit you have phone full of motivational quotes, when you are pumped up with happy hormones it’s easier to see the bright side to life and be more positive. If your body can do amazing things, why can’t your mind too. See how great exercise is! Now stop the production of all these happy vibes, what will your brains normal reaction be? Maybe it will be thinking what is happening and why am I not getting the goodness anymore. Enter sulk mode and actual withdrawals, not from the activity but from the endorphins and hormones that make us feel good.
How to Cope during the Runhole Period
This is tricky depending on why you are unable to run. If its short term I think it would be easier to tell your brain its short term you will get back on track ASAP. For longer injuries here are some suggestions.
- Find alternative ways how to be active
If you run 20km per day and hit the gym 7 times a week with high impact activities. While in recovery find alternatives like Pilates or Yoga. Some places even has swimming aerobic classes which have very little impact on your joints. Speak to your health care provider to look at other options.
- Keep your diet on point
Believe it or not, but you can also eat yourself happy with healthy foods. Eating the rainbow is always advised but foods like bananas, salmon, turmeric and Quinoa are happy foods. Try and stay clear from foods high in saturated fats and high in sugar. Keeping your body healthy is more than just being physical food plays and important role in recovery and brain health.
- Get enough Sleep
I am a firm believer in good bed time routines, even when you are not suffering from running withdrawals. There have been many books written on just this topic but I found this works for me. No TV in the bedroom and no cell phone an hour before bed time. Sprinkle some lavender drops on your pillow, and I like to listen to sleep sounds.
- Essential oils that help with mood
Some essential oils that can also help with your mood. Bergamot can create a feeling of joy, freshness and energy by improving circulation of blood. Roman Chamomile great for relaxing especially in teas and maybe a candle. Ylang Ylang , has been known to stave off depression and negative emotions.
A period of inactivity can be a great way to learn something new or be active in a way you would not have considered any other way. I would love to hear about your runhole experience and how you coped with it, so drop me a message or a comment.