“You don’t need anyone else to empower you; you can empower yourself. Whether it’s a pep talk or putting on a good shade of lipstick, whatever you need to do, do it, but be yourself.” – Ayesha Curry
Last Saturday, I was running near a nature center midway through an 8-mile run. I had overcome resistance to get out running that day. Running eight miles by myself was a struggle, even though I was doing intervals of 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking. I tried giving myself a pep talk: “Only four more miles. I can do this.”
A man walking on the path said, “Where are you running? Are you training for a 3K? 5K?”
I said, “Actually, I’m training for a half-marathon.”
He answered, “Wow, you keep going! Keep running.”
This, for me, was a pep talk. The man did not need to encourage me, but he did. His words gave me the boost I needed to keep running. What about you? Do you need a pep talk? That is the intent of this post, to serve as a pep talk for you and me.
A pep talk can be more than words. During that run, a slim woman with a gray ponytail ran past in the other direction. She inspired me without saying a word, because I guessed she might be older than me, and she looked fit. Also at mile 7 of my run, the theme song from Rocky popped up in my MP-3 player. There was no way I’d take a walk break while that song was playing, and I played it twice. I’m a slow runner, but people said hello or waved, treating me with respect for being out there running. I also got a boost from seeing several deer at the end of my run.
When I recently went for a physical, I mentioned that I have knee pain, half-expecting my doctor to say, “Stop running!” Instead, she suggested I work to strengthen the muscles around my knee and said I have arthritis—which is normal at my age. I felt rejuvenated by her affirmation that running is good for me even with the discomfort, at least for now.
In one of my early blog posts, “Reaching for More”, I described how running one block was difficult. Running 8 miles is significant for me, but I have a friend who recently ran 22 miles . . . and then ran 10 miles the next day. But it’s all relative. It’s much better to encourage each other, rather than to beat on someone or be jealous. We’re not competing with anyone else. We’re competing with ourselves and how we were last year or even yesterday.
Many of us have been cooped up this winter, and even with Spring approaching we should avoid going places due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). But it’s my understanding that we can continue to go outside and walk or run, as long as we keep distance from others. How about going out and running a 5K? If that’s too much, walk a 5K. If that’s too much, walk a mile. If that’s too much, walk a block. If that’s too much, open your window and get some fresh air. Start with where you’re at.
Of course I have struggles in life besides running. We all do. Currently I need a pep talk for dealing with the stressful news about the Coronavirus. As always, I encourage you to be proactive in taking care of yourself and those around you. This includes keeping your distance from people, especially from large groups. This site has information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you don’t yet understand the significance of this virus and the reason for social distancing, please do some research.
In this blog post, we are talking on a personal level about dealing with this worldwide pandemic. For me, the worst of it is not knowing what will happen. It is scary to see what’s happening in other countries that have had the virus and how easily it spreads. For instance, hospitals in Italy cannot treat everyone who needs treatment, even patients with other diseases than the virus. There are only so many ventilators and hospital rooms to go around.
Life is different now for all of us. Shelves are empty in many aisles of our favorite stores. Schools, libraries, park districts, and fitness centers are closed. Large gatherings, including church services are canceled. I agree with this decision, but it’s the first time in my life that Mass has been canceled. It does not feel like normal life, and we are only at the beginning of this.
I’ve had anxiety about this and other issues, and I’ve been back in counseling. I don’t mind telling you this, because I hope it encourages someone else who feels anxious (for any reason) to get help.
So far, this discussion of the Coronavirus and its impact on us isn’t much of a pep talk, but we can’t pretend the problem doesn’t exist. What can we do? We here at Women Making Strides try to address challenges in a proactive manner.
In the United States and elsewhere, if we do well at keeping social distance, we can keep the virus from spinning beyond our ability to cope with it. Let’s notice and appreciate those who have prepared for various events, such as sporting events, which were canceled. People have set aside their passions for the common good.
We have more time at home now due to the Coronavirus. We can cope by listening to music, reading, and watching uplifting or funny shows. We can put together jigsaw puzzles while putting together the pieces of our lives. We can look for ways to help others.
We are fortunate to live in an electronic age, and we can gather online, even attending online church services. We can keep in touch with loved ones by phone, video calls such as Skype, or email. This is a good time to slow down and reflect on our lives and any changes we want to make. It’s a good time to pray for ourselves, our loved ones, and for strangers. We can talk to God and put our concerns in His hands.
Let’s get through this and look forward with hope for that time when our lives return to normal. And let’s be grateful for our “normal” lives when they return.
What encouragement have you received recently? How can you give yourself a pep talk to empower yourself? How can you be proactive in addressing the Coronavirus?