Running Through the Chaos

Both Dayna and I battle with anxiety. It isn’t something we talk about often because it is very personal and something we struggle with in our own lives. But since creating this community, and hearing other peoples stories, we realize that we are not alone. We hope that by shining some light on our battles, other people will feel better about their own, speak up about them and learn how to better manage.

Hailey: My anxiety is mostly a result of working in a very stressful environment, long hours and night shifts. But my anxiety started a long time before I became a nurse. I remember getting panic attacks as a kid and a teenager. My heart pounding in my chest, feeling flushed all over, feeling panicked, not sure what to do. I had no idea what caused these but I managed them well when they came and kept really quiet about it. I saw Councillors from time to time but the anxiety never went away. I battled with it all through university, struggling horribly with exams from test anxiety. I started to develop insomnia from being anxious about clinical the next day or assignments due. Nothing was helping and I was on the brink of failing nursing school until one day I decided to go for a run. There was a river trail by my house and I just wanted to be outside, away from my to do list, so off I went.


I have never looked back, running saved me, it helped me work through my anxiety the way nothing else had. I still get it, night shifts give me horrible anxiety, especially when I only get 4-5 hours of sleep or have had a challenging shift at work. Although now it is better, and I know when its building up, and what triggers it. When I am tired, anxious or overwhelmed, running is the best thing I have found to work through and over come it. My husband knows me so well and understands that running is truly my anxiety cure. When I am getting worked up, stressed out, crying… he looks at me and says “Hailey… grab your running shoes and go. Go as long as you need to. Go until you feel better.” And for that I am endlessly thankful because once I step out the door and move my body, it all disappears.


Dayna: A lot of my anxiety comes from being a sponge. I tend to take on everyone else’s problems. I have a huge heart and amazing friends, so I am always there to listen to their issues and I feel a huge amount of pressure to help or fix their problems. I have learned to let go, listen and know I can’t fix everyone but I still find that I get completely caught up in other peoples issues to the point where it affects me physically.

My first signs of depression and anxiety was when I was 18. I started to feel overwhelmed and I fainted a lot. I would wake up on the floor at work, with no idea how I got there or how long I had been down. I started constantly feeling a sensation of fear and I isolated myself because I didn’t know what it was or how to deal with it. I never really talked about it. After I had a baby my anxiety when through the roof. I suffered post-partium depression. I had so much on┬ámy hands. I went back to working grave yards when he was 6 weeks old. I would work all night and be up with him all day. I couldn’t cope. The only option I could think of was medications, so I started taking anti-anxiety medications. That was until I found running, it became my safe place.IMG_4717

But with everything, there can be stress. Running started to cause anxiety. I was watching my friends run faster times, or longer races. I started to be anxious about missing out on races or training runs I wasn’t doing. Not wanting running to become a source of stress, I took a break from racing and allowed myself to enjoy running my own way. I told myself it was okay not to keep up to everyone, that I didn’t have to push myself to race all the time. I decided to pick one goal a year and make it mine.

I stopped car-pooling so that I could have my own quiet time in the morning, just me and my coffee. This gave me the freedom to decide when, where and for how long I ran for. At first my friends didn’t understand why, so I decided to open up about my anxiety. I told them when I hang in the back with my ipod on to respect my need for space. Having my friends and family who love me, understand what I am dealing with has helped so much. I have learned that when it comes to mental health, it is okay to be selfish because you need to get through what you are dealing with so it doesn’t escalate to something else.


For us, running is much more than just lacing up and going out. It is more than training, it is more than racing. Through running, you learn to breath effectively to keep going, which actually has helped us breathe through an anxiety attack. We also listen to very soft and calming music when we run, which might sound strange, but when you are running off your anxiety, this is the best way to keep your mind calm while your body is moving quickly.

Running is more than just our physical outlet for dealing with daily stress and anxiety. Because of it, we are happier, more confident, stronger mentally and physically… And best of all, we truly love ourselves.

Running shows you that you are strong and capable of incredible things. It will make you love yourself more and with every goal you make and achieve. It teaches you that you are capable of whatever you set your heart to. You will learn how strong you are and that you are absolutely worth it. It allows you to meet incredible people and make amazing friends. By pushing yourself through tough runs and races you become stronger mentally which helps you deal with stress and anxiety easier. Your confidence increases and your passion for life and living will sky rocket.

Running is your time. It is your journey. It is a gift that you are giving yourself, every time you go. You have the freedom to go where ever you want, when you want, to go as far and as fast as you’d like.



  1. My youngest daughter suffers from anxiety she hasn’t been to school for nearly 2 years but in a weeks time she will attempt to attend a newly opened unit within the school. We are all keeping our fingers crossed. Anxiety is so much more than just an emotion. Regards, irunoffroad

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