Since news of his divorce from self-help book author Rachel Hollis made headlines earlier this summer, Dave Hollis has shared openly with his nearly 500,000 Instagram followers about using his love of running to help process the emotions brought on by the separation.
The author of "Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment" and host of the "RISE Together" podcast ran 200 miles in the month of July, and calls the time when he laces up his running shoes and gets out on the road a mixture of "therapy and church."
But Hollis, 45, who lives in Austin, Texas, said the key to maintaining his mental and physical health isn't about one specific exercise, it's about a commitment to moving at least 30 minutes each day as part of his daily routine.
"I am a byproduct of being robotic almost, religious almost in the way that I start every single morning in the exact same way and the exact same order," Hollis told TODAY. "And that’s in part — especially in a season where I’m going through such massive transition — because in this life we’re living, you can have five good days in a row and then two really bad days and it’s impossible to predict which days will be the bad."
Hollis said creating a daily routine that helps him show up as the best possible version of himself has been crucial in making it through hard days. That routine includes daily body movement, whether it's a long run or dancing in his living room with his 3-year-old daughter, Noah.
"In my life, these are the strongest headwinds I’ve ever experienced and the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through," said Hollis of the end of his 16-year marriage. "As you go through hard things, when seasons of hardship show up, you get to make a choice: Are you going to, as a coping mechanism, reach for things that will help you survive and thrive through them? Or are you going to reach for what will numb you, but probably make your experience inside of that pain last longer for not having actually dealt with it?"
Hollis recently shared a before-and-after photo on Instagram, showing himself in his 30s and today, at age 45. The father of four said he was 30 pounds heavier in the before photo, and turned to coping mechanisms like alcohol and emotional eating to handle stress or tough times. Now, when he feels an emotional trigger coming on, he hits the pavement instead.
"We’re splitting time with our kids, for example," Hollis shared, "and when I know the kids are heading to her house for half of the time, I put on my tennis shoes and I get out on the road and I run because I know there's something in body movement that changes my mindset."
"By the time I’m finished, it’s almost like I’ve gone to a therapy session and I’ve processed the emotions I am feeling and now I can, because of having worked through it, have a good night, a good day and a good experience for having actually got up and moved my body," he added.
In another Instagram post, Hollis encouraged fans to follow his lead, moving their bodies for at least 30 minutes every day.
"Even 30 quick minutes will change the way you think, the way you feel, the way you’re prepared to handle whatever the day has in store," Hollis, whose company, The Hollis Co., recently released an app that provides fitness motivation and workouts, wrote. "I want to encourage you to believe in the power of movement ... Just move your body and watch what happens to how you feel."
Hollis said there's also power in pushing yourself past your own limits and challenging yourself to reach a goal, whether it's to run a marathon, climb a mountain or try running for 10 minutes of your 30-minute walk.
“When you show yourself that you can do something physically that you did not believe you were capable of, it changes your brain chemistry in a way that affords you the opportunity to believe that you can handle anything that will show up in your life," said Hollis.
"You don’t have to be going through a divorce," he added. "There's something about getting your body moving that will 100% change your mentality. It's a guarantee that you will finish feeling different about yourself in that moment and also feel better prepared to tackle whatever actually ends up coming your way during that day."