‘Running helped me deal with my heart-breaking divorce’

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I do – three letters and only two words, yet they’re the most powerful ones you could ever speak, especially when you’re standing at the alter looking into the eyes of the person of your dreams.

But fast-forward a few weeks, months or years down the track and it takes just one word to end the relationship that once was full of hope and happiness.

Going through a divorce is never easy; you spend hours crying, talking, crying again, and thinking about all those happy memories being buried away. For Veronica Stewart, going through her divorce three years ago saw her world spiralling downwards; and to top this off, she had the responsibility of caring for her three children.

However, as much of a struggle it was, Veronica mustered up the courage to pull herself out of her rut for herself and children.

“At the time it was quite devastating but once the dust settled, it’s all about dusting yourself off, getting up and heading into a new adventure,” the mother-of-three tells myBody+Soul.

“It was important for me to set an example for my children that life is not always pretty, and there are times when you lose more than you gain, but we pick ourselves up and move forward.”

While she now admits she’s in a “really good place”, Veronica looks back and realises she could have taken a completely different path if she didn’t stay mentally creative and physically active.

“It’s a quiet struggle, and one that most divorced parents hide from everyone, especially from children. With three children to parent on top of my business, there isn’t a lot of time and energy to check yourself and I learned very quickly that in insanely stressful circumstances, you gain a lot of strength from staying mentally creative and physically active.”

It was through running in which she found she could run away from her problems, clear her mind, and destress.

“Staying active with my kids was one thing that was easy to control when everything else around me felt uncontrollable,” she explains.

“I never ran as a form of exercise, until after the divorce. I’m a musician so music is a must and pacing your run to a soundtrack is a definite motivator. Headphones in, world off. I decided not to put pressure on myself by only running small bursts, and many times, it’s all I can fit in.”

“You sweat out the stress and there’s a lot of wisdom that pops into mind while you do… until your legs start burning that is.”

Now, mentally and physically fitter than ever, she’s participating in this year’s Blackmores Sydney Running Festival with her children.

Veronica is the perfect example of how everyone has the ability to pick themselves up and move forward, no matter what setbacks occur in life.

“Yes, difficult times make it hard, because you’re tired and emotionally spent but guess what? Not moving makes them even harder. Give the congregation of social media a break, catch as much time alone, or with your loved ones, to get outside, breathe in some fresh air and notice nature around you.

“You will never regret going for a run or a walk around the block, and the clarity of mind it gives you in such a short space of time is therapy that money can’t buy.”

Want to get off on the right foot? Register for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival on 16 September 2018. For more information and to register, visit run.blackmores.com.au

Here is what women can learn from men when it comes to break-ups. Plus, how Kaley Cuoco used exercise to help her get through her divorce.

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Fitness | body+soul

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