It’s often said that life is too short to spend it doing things that make you unhappy. It’s hard to argue with that, of course, but am I the only person who sometimes struggles to distinguish what makes me happy from what doesn’t? It feels that way sometimes.
Let me back up. I had surgery last week for a medical condition (not Ebola). I haven’t mentioned it on the blog because it’s a) not that big of a deal and b) kind of gross and I’m weird about discussing things that are gross. That’s neither here nor there. Anyway, surgery was on Thursday, and after some negotiating with my doctor, I got my return to running down to 5 days, meaning I only had to miss one long run and one barre class, thanks to some clever (read: insane) schedule shuffling on my part. It also meant that I had a weekend full of a whole lot of nothing to do.
I get overwhelmed and stressed out kind of easily. I wish it wasn’t the case, but it is. I always get everything done that I need to, I just work myself up into a frenzy over it first and make sure to tell AJ a thousand times how stressed out I am, which is undoubtedly his favorite thing about me. That means that I am prone to scheduling myself a long bike ride, a long run, two nights of weekend plans with friends, plus a paper for grad school and normal household life (cleaning, shopping, laundry, meal prep, etc) into one weekend, leaving no time to relax. I often feel like I have to do these things for one reason or another, be it to maintain fitness, achieve a goal, keep the household running, whatever. They seem non-negotiable, so I fret.
At first glance, I was excited about not having anything to do this weekend. Finally, a weekend to sleep in! I had a paper for grad school due on Friday, so no homework over the weekend! No workouts to stress out about since I was literally not allowed to do any! It’s a Halloween miracle! Then reality hit.
As much as I genuinely did enjoy spending lots of time hanging out with AJ and the dog, I kind of felt, well, bad about myself. I felt unproductive and unmotivated, and it has carried over in to the beginning part of this week. Normally, I’m up first thing on Monday morning making a calendar for the week, meal planning, knocking out homework assignments, etc. Yesterday, I did do all of those things, but I didn’t really want to. I didn’t have the same pep in my step. It was hard for me to get back in the groove after just a few days off from real life, and not because I had had such a great time that I didn’t want to return to normal. It was more like I didn’t remember how. Then, I felt even worse about myself because I wasn’t able to pick up right where I left off and I wasn’t being as productive as normal.
I write this to ask – is it possible that what seems to make me miserable and stressed also makes me happy? Am I just one of those people who likes being busy and has a hard time relaxing? Is this a thing? Most importantly, if that is the case, does this mean I can no longer complain about being busy and stressed if it turns out I like being busy and stressed? I’m obviously uncomfortable with losing my right to complain about things.
So, maybe I do like being really busy and packing my weekends full of stuff. If that’s the case, I need to just embrace it and move on. But back to doing only things that make you happy – well, as it turns out, my strength program was not making me happy. It had its good parts – I lost quite a few inches in the first six weeks and definitely toned up a lot. But with that came an aching back and knees from all the plyometrics, a big time commitment, and an even bigger mental commitment. The workouts were so grueling that I found myself stressed out all day about doing them! When I tried to modify them, I found that I couldn’t do it because I felt like I was cheating, even though I know that is ridiculous and I would never think someone else was cheating if they modified a workout. I am mean to myself, y’all.
Either way, I decided those workouts needed to go. They weren’t making me happy. Strength work in general, however, needs to stay! Fortunately, I have been absolutely loving the new Barre3 studio in my town. I’m going 3-4 times a week and feeling stronger and more toned, and I know I am doing great things for my core and back! If you don’t live near a barre studio but are interested in trying it, Barre3 has online videos of all different lengths and focuses that you can have unlimited access to for $15 a month. No affiliate link here – that’s just how I started doing it!
I’ve also kept up with cycling about 3 times a week and following the Run Less, Run Faster plan. I’m about to start Week 4! I’m nervous about getting back to it this week after surgery, but I’m sure it will be fine. Amanda, Chuck and I are running a half marathon this weekend in the middle of an 18 mile training run. I have no idea what pace we will be running, but I would love to see something at or below my goal race pace for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, which is 9:34. This half marathon is actually my half marathon PR from when I ran it last year in 1:50! That certainly will not be happening this weekend, though
So anyway, that’s the latest. I’m trying to figure out what makes me happy in my workouts and in life, and I encourage you to do the same! Have you ever had a hard time deciphering what makes you happy from what doesn’t?