I woke up this morning in a BAD mood. Not just on the wrong side of the bed, more like the wrong side of the hemisphere. I had not slept well, I had a challenging day ahead of me, and I was still beating myself up for an emotional encounter yesterday. I stormed through the house, grumbling under my breath at my husband's trail of receipts and half-opened mail, and the thin layer of dust beginning to settle over, well... everything. Waiting in the kitchen was a hot cup of coffee (thoughtful!)...and a sink full of dishes. Self-pity and dish soap bubbled up around me, threatening to knock me right off kilter. I work such long hours (not all the time), no one helps me at home (not even slightly true); poor, poor Erin. When my dog, who is as close to perfect as it comes, became the victim of my tirade (who gave him permission to shed?!?), I knew I had to take action. Though I can dish out encouragement in true cheerleader fashion, I am not immune to the dismal thoughts that can render a normally chipper girl, grouchy. I have days where everything is wrong, nothing is good enough, and life looks bland and bleak. I couldn't afford to drown in it, so I asked myself what I would say to my best friend, in this situation. I looked in the mirror, and sheepishly repeated a few affirmations. I felt like an idiot. I read some motivational mediations, and wondered, in my sour mood, why I bought into that stuff. Glancing at the far corner of my closet, at my beat up old running shoes, my answer was clear. I laced up and headed out, the morning as black as my mood. The sky was going to break at any moment, and I didn't care at all. No treadmill, track or bike could get me out of this funk; I needed to pound some pavement. I set out on a familiar route, just as the rain started to fall. Three fat, wet drops slid off my nose, and a smile started to curve, just slightly, on my lips. With each foot strike, daily stressors became smaller and smaller, until they just rolled off and settled behind in the nooks of the gravel. Rhythmically filling and emptying my lungs, I began to think of all the blessings in my life. My family members are all healthy and happy. I have the privilege of being married to man who challenges me, to be a better me. I am safe and secure, even in these unsettling times. The utter irrelevance of dishes and dust became clear, and a wave of gratitude crashed over me. The rush of endorphins, and the melody of the rain lulled me home. By then, I was grinning ear to ear. My body tingled with euphoric energy, and I no longer worried that, possibly, I should be institutionalized. I kissed my dog, left the dishes in the sink, and got on with my day. At work, I was focused and productive, and able to resolve the previous day's miscommunication. By the end of the day, the morning's malaise felt like a distant memory. The truth is, even the sunniest people have days that just aren't. Perspective can be easily skewed, especially in the absence of sleep. For me, sweat is the only antidote. They say you can't run from your problems, but it hasn't failed me yet. Erin stays busy pursuing her own fitness goals, and helping to educate and inspire those she loves to live healthier lives. A hair stylist by trade, she manages a salon, and is chipping away at a degree, ultimately in dietetics and kinesiology. She lives in South Florida with her husband and a “pound puppy” named Pedro.