Change Your Definition

 In Fitness, Mind-body connection, Running

We all have a word or title that we assign to ourselves, that we identify with. Whether it’s your job, the thing you love to do the most, or state of being, we all have something; world traveler, hockey player, chef, painter, wife, mom, fit, healthy, etc. But what if that one thing changes, and you can no longer be that definition? It’s difficult to rewrite this definition since that’s what you have identified with for so long. I am a runner. Well, was a runner. Maybe I can still be one day. All I know is that the one thing I always truly identified with, was good at, and connected me with so many friends and my community is now gone. Chronic back issues have forced me to hang up my running shoes and every time I think about it, or see someone out running, I can feel myself fighting back tears. So how can we rewrite this definition of ourselves to stay sane and move forward in a positive direction? Here ares some possibilities:

View it as a lesson. Maybe this situation, injury, move, whatever, is trying to teach you something. I can sit home and cry as I look out my window at other runners (and believe me, this has happened), or I can choose to believe that this is the universe’s way of telling me to slow down, listen to my body and do more yoga. What if getting laid off from your job is now your opportunity to follow your passion? Your divorce may be a sign that you need to be your own person for a while. You  may not always see the lesson clearly at first, but if you look closely there is one there, whether you like the lesson or not.

Use this as an opportunity to try new things. Perhaps you were a world traveler, but now you’re in a different financial situation and can’t quite make that happen anymore. You could plan a weekend camping getaway instead, or take a low-budget road trip to a place you’ve never been. If you’re an athlete and are told you have a heart condition and can no longer elevate your heart rate, you have to find a new outlet. Yoga, tai chi, meditation, hiking, etc. are great ways to keep yourself fit mentally and physically. If you have knee issues and can no longer do high impact activities, you may have to start swimming, walking or cycling instead.

Journaling and self-reflection. What is it about this activity or thing that you so need to identify with so badly? This one thing should not define who you are. Writing things out can give you a clearer understanding of what is troubling you so much about the current situation. Journaling about other things you are passionate about can also help you to rewrite your story. You are so much more than “fit” or “an athlete.” You are smart, funny, caring, compassionate (you get the point), so focus on some of those traits.

An opportunity to serve others. Use this opportunity to help someone else who is going through something similar or worse. We all have a need for connection and community, and when something happens that is life altering, it can feel very isolating. Lending an ear or a hand to someone else in need will not only help them, but help you in your journey as well. It’s hard to throw yourself a pity-party when you’re helping someone else who is struggling as well.

Look at the positives. There are so many things in this world to be grateful for, and so many things you CAN still do, so do them with everything you have! Although I can’t run or do a lot of the other physical activities that I love, I can still walk my dogs, train my clients, do yoga, brunch with my girlfriends, go see live music and give and receive love. Every day we’re alive is a gift, so don’t waste it.


If you need help with this, or any other health and fitness related issue, contact me:

Showing 2 comments
  • Bob Wood

    Thank you for the blog. Just what I needed when I needed it. Although you think of yourself as a runner , I think of you aa a good friend!

  • Jen S.

    I swear, so often it’s like you pull the thoughts right out of my brain. Grateful to know you and be inspired by you, too. 💛

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