Bicycle as a Prescribed Anxiety Cure

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike! — Queen 

I’m a thinker, in ways that often confuse those around me as I’m hard pressed to explain my full thought process. I once had a friend tell me we couldn’t hang out any more because he had started to think like me. I didn’t see the problem but apparently not everyone likes the random stream of connections I make constantly. lSed5VXIQnOw7PMfB9ht_IMG_1642

I commute to work daily on my bike. This makes my entire day awesome. I have in the past suffered from anxiety to the point that I make myself sick. This goes way back to when my parents would fight and I’d end up with a stomach ache. Many hundreds of hours of therapy, following The Artist’s Way once, and a slew of coping mechanisms, and I am worry free because I’ve worked hard to identify and manage triggers of my anxiety. I need to exercise. I used to call it my cheap form of psychotherapy. I can’t remember to take an anti-depressant or other pill on a regular basis. But I can always remember to ride my bike, walk the dog, go swimming, hiking or any other endorphin producing activity. I’ve found that my mental and physical state depends on me being active. I often experience a seasonal hibernation lull that is tough to crawl out of but I do, I compete, I race, I perform, mostly for the fun, the adventure, the experience but also for the mental benefits. 

There are easy signals that I see when I start feeling anxious: difficulty falling and staying asleep, lack of motivation to exercise, poor eating habits, irritability, and racing heart. I’m feeling this way now. The cause is easy to pinpoint but the cure is more difficult.

Caring for an aging parent is the cause, the cure is to be better about setting boundaries, maintaining my usual routine to include exercise and balance, and give myself a bit of a break that I’m doing a lot even though there is a whole lot more to do.

I’m a list maker. I often recount all the things I’ve done to both mentally track achievements and keep an account of all the things I’ve done so I know I’m moving toward a goal. In the not so distant past, I would make a list of goals in January and then break them down to achieve them. Buy a house, resolve the outstanding debt, reduce clutter in the house, find my other half, do good work. Just a few of my past goals.

I right this moment have an urge to list out all the things I did yesterday but I’m resisting because, really, who cares? Okay, here it is: Wrote a new blog entry, weeded and mulched the yard, did laundry, cooked a roasted chicken, made dog food, enjoy breakfast with my husband, call my mom.

What I didn’t do, which was on my list, was go swimming at the pool. It keeps slipping down the list of priorities…much to my own detriment. I’ve been remiss in practicing what I preach so maybe it’s time I adjust myself before I slide much further into a hole.

 

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