Buying My Way Out Of Problems
I’ve had a stressful few months for a variety of reasons. On top of the normal stress, I started having a lot of problems with running. Repeatedly, I would go out for a run and find myself unable to run at my usual pace / distance. I’m not complaining that I couldn’t complete a 20-miler marathon training run (though I had some issues towards the tail end of my training). Rather, I have been having intermittent issues with short 4-5 mile runs. In fact, sometimes I have to stop after a mile or two, almost as soon as I was warmed up! It was so frustrating!
I went to the doctor to check everything out, and physically, nothing is wrong. My hypothesis is that it is all stress related, perhaps combined with nutrition. Running is my most reliable stress relief technique, and stress might be what has been limiting my ability to run! Stress = reduced appetite = eating too little = unable to maintain a running routine = increased stress!
After months of frustration and a scaled back fitness routine, I finally decided to pay more serious attention to food and stress in late August. I’ve found a few things that really helped:
1. Eating out. I’ve been allowing myself to eat out more than usual. If my appetite sucks, take-out or a restaurant meal usually can revive it enough to get a meal in. While not ideal, the majority of my meals have consisted of oats, iron-enriched cereal, the occasional protein shake… and meals out. I can’t seem to manage better lately. When T is around, he cooks sometimes, but we are kind of in the same boat as far as stress goes. I often pick healthy take-out options (Veggie Grill All Hail Kale!), but I’d ideally be cooking a LOT more. I also started a multivitamin routine since I know I’m not doing my best nutritionally.
2. Massages. I only got one massage recently, and three over the course of the year. Prior to that, it had literally been 5 years. The most recent one worked a small miracle, and I know if I reach that level of stress again, I’m not going to worry about getting another!
3. Limiting my commitments. This includes social commitments, work commitments, and fitness. Things at work have shifted such that I am no longer splitting my time between roles, and I have to keep forcing myself not to go back to my other team and jump in on a new project. The role I’m focusing on is a little slow, but within a week or two, it should take off. For fitness, there has been a lot more evening hikes and a lot fewer runs. I’ve done almost no long runs, and I have only been running 1-2 times a week. We’ve gotten on the trail for an evening hike/run at least once every week that I’ve been in town, and it really bolstered my love of SoCal.
However, those first two things cost money! I haven’t been tracking our finances this year, but I can tell you we’ve spent a lot more on eating out. The massages are a splurge, but not a huge impact to the budget since they are so infrequent. They are in the noise.
In the long term, these two things are not things I want to spend as much money on, but in the short term, it is helping with my sanity. They are expensive solutions to my problems, but they are solutions that I can implement right now. The outside issues causing the stress should eventually be resolved, but not for some time. However, I already am starting to feel a little better. My appetite still sucks (but I’m eating!), and I finally was able to run 3 times this week, including a solid 4 miler at a good pace. I hope to transition back to my more normal eating out habits over the next month or so.
What about you? Have you bought your way out of any problems lately? Or have you been able to tackle your problems without resorting to extra expenses? Do you lose your appetite when you are stressed?