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Unpopular Opinion: Running is NOT Therapy

In light of it being Mental Health Awareness Week I felt that it was a perfect time to shout this from the roof tops:

While I am a HUGE advocate for exercising to help physical and mental health, I am here to say loud and clear that is not a replacement for therapy.

I am by no means a mental health expert, doctor or therapist but I am a strong believer in mental wellbeing and want to clarify a very prevalent sentiment that is often used a bit to simply.

For those struggling with their mental health, running can be very useful in helping to manage, accompany and bolster the very taxiing aspects of managing a more “even” state. However, to replace true therapy with only running or insinuate that running is all you need is unrealistic. It can often make people feel that if they don’t get ALL they need from running to help their mental state than they are doing something wrong or even more “less than” than they already feel.

We have all heard of the runners high that can come from our favorite arobic activity but it’s not achieved on every run, every day, every week or every month. It’s not enough by itself to keep us “happy”, calm or less anxious.

The work that goes into managing mental health wouldn’t be possible by only running. Even though I know physical health plays into mental health, at low points it’s hard enough to go about your day to day let alone drag yourself miles on end. Some people lean into the miles and some people lean away. Regardless of where you may fall in that spectrum there is no wrong answer.

Don’t feel discouraged that running doesn’t fix everything. Don’t assume that means you are “less” of a runner because you don’t feel 100% better after a run. And above all else don’t believe that ONE thing, routine, trick or tip will change or “cure” your mental health.

It’s a puzzle and we are all just searching for the right pieces.

Get the help you need: whatever that may look like. Reach out to a professional, a friend or just someone you trust. As exhaustinggggg as it is, be your own advocate and know that brighter days are there, the storm just has to clear first 💙

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