Despite having always been an active lady, native Memphian Erin Arbogast’s mental health and physical fitness journey took on new meaning when she became a mom.
Erin recalls beginning anxiety medication and therapy after prematurely giving birth to her twins, Cameron and Julia, at 28 weeks. Then, several years later, during the height of the pandemic, she experienced a miscarriage and had a bout of severe depression. By then, Erin knew what to do. “I was self-aware enough at that point,” she says of returning to counseling and running to expend excess energy.
Through the past several years in therapy, Erin has learned to speak up for herself, both with personal connections as well as workplace ones, thanks to therapist Savannah of MyMemphisTherapist Counseling and Consulting, LLC. As a fellow working mom, Savannah understands Erin’s position and makes sure she feels heard and understood.
“Running for me has become more a part of my mental health journey as I’ve become a busy, working parent. You just don’t have as much time for yourself, and it allows me to clear my head when I’m really anxious, worried, or depressed.”
Erin’s runs range from city streets to neighborhoods, to park trails like the Green Line linking to East Memphis—anything that gets her outdoors. “I don’t always have a set path. I just say to myself, I’d like to go this far at least and see where it takes me.”
Last September, Erin and several other moms from her children’s school began meeting up in the early mornings to run long distances, and all signed up to run the full marathon for St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. The race qualified Erin for the Boston Marathon this coming April, which she is currently training for.
“Even if we’re not talking the whole time, it’s a form of therapy itself. We’re all getting this run in together before the day starts. There is just something very empowering and unifying to do that with a group.”
To complement her average weekly mileage of 35-45 and 65-75 during marathon season, Erin enjoys twice-weekly HIIT strength training at Memphis-based studio GetFitwithBeth, which offers a variety of classes with runner-friendly modifications. “Weight training is about making sure my bones and body are strong for another 40 years,” she says about recently turning 40.
“Taking care of both body and mind are equally important in helping you manage all of life’s ups and downs.”
She stays fueled by snacking on several small portions throughout the day. Erin consumes plenty of fruits, veggies, protein, and the occasional chicken tenders. She shares how limiting her alcohol intake to a few weekly glasses of wine has helped with reducing anxiety.
“You need time to process things with your mind and move your body to be the healthiest you.”
By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens