Have you ever noticed how when you are so overwhelmed about what you have to do, you do nothing? Because that’s pretty much how the human brain works. Helpful. But also very likely to happen during school holidays. I love school holidays. I love that I can have a sleep in and not make school lunches and we can do fun things and probably most importantly I don’t have daily battles about school uniforms and freaking socks and even more importantly I don’t have to worry about separation anxiety that happens during the year.

But the reality of school holidays is that as much as the girls are pretty good at entertaining themselves, I get almost nothing done. It’s not that I don’t have time, exactly. It’s more that I don’t have any focused or uninterrupted time. Every five minutes someone needs frozen raspberries or milk or second breakfast or that doll they didn’t care about but are now absolutely beside themselves desperate to find. All of which I tend to forget during term, because I have blocks of time to get stuff done so having to fulfil a list of demands at 5 minute intervals kind of flies under the radar when they are home.

At first you don’t really notice it because it’s novel and it’s Christmas but as I near towards week 5 and week 6 of my school holiday marathon I really notice it. It goes beyond work too, I can’t seem to stick to my regular training schedule either. I begin to have doubts about what I should be doing, the structure of my programming, all of it gets drown in a big bag of overwhelmed, indecisive second guessing.

Some of this might have something to do with packing up and moving and new mortgages and contracts, but still I’m pretty sure this happens every year. Or some version of it does. And it couples with this intense desire to treat the arbitrary new year date as some kind of beginning point for whatever I’m doing. But I don’t know what I’m doing. You see my problem.

The good news is I have an end point. We move on the 8th February, and we hand back the keys to our rental property a week later so we can get all the cleaning stuff done and the girls (thankfully) go back to school the week before that. You can withstand almost anything if you have an end point.

Even so, I don’t do a month of limbo very well, so I had to come up with something. I couldn’t face my normal sessions so I’ve just been running. Sometimes when you are a highly structured person, you can forget that this is a thing you can do. I often don’t really know how far or how long I’m going to go for, sometimes it’s slow, mostly it’s easy and sometimes I completely change what I’m doing half way through.

Going through a period of overwhelm it would have been really easy to do nothing. Write it off as a period where I just wasn’t going to be doing anything and settle in to my festivity slothdom and that would have been ok, but it wouldn’t have been great. I’m continually telling people in Learn to Run that you don’t need motivation to go, you can just go. So for this month, I’m just running. And the view from here is pretty outstanding.

“I like what running does for me, even when I’m not running.”

Learn to Run starts on the 13th March

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Zoey Dowling

Written by: Zoey Dowling

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