When Something Little Turns Into Something BIG

I’ve returned to the land of the living. For the past month or two or so I have been in, let’s say, a state of overwhelm (this is a generously positive description of my behavior and feelings). The last three weeks or so have been particularly juicily stressful. The details aren’t important but it was around an exam for a class that I was putting a ton of pressure on myself about; suffice to say I’m very thankful I took the test last Friday so that I can be fully engaged in my life again.

Willpower is a finite resource and I was putting so much energy into studying for the exam, that I found I didn’t have a ton of time or energy for a lot of other things. At first, I was beating myself about the copious amounts of chocolate, the lack luster workouts, the crying at yoga, the naps, the lack of blogging, the dust bunnies under the couch, and the occasional TV binge. And then I was beating myself up about beating myself up, because I know that I have a pretty great life. It felt like a lot of things were out of control all at the same time, and that’s not a great feeling.

But at some point, I accepted my energy was going into this test and that’s just how it was going to be. Once I got into acceptance, there was no huge magical shift where everything falls into place (I confess I hoped it might happen); I was still eating a lot of chocolate, suffering through every run, and alternating hours of studying with long hours of staring vacantly at the TV. But! Acceptance did free up more energy for (more) studying, time with friends, cooking good food slightly more often, and spending time with Alex. All of these self-care activities got me through the days, and finally through the test.

Ultimately, the experience was a great lesson for me in three ways:

  1. Sometimes things are out of control and you do your best to get through it. I have to build up my healthy habits again – my running fitness has tanked and I’m out of the rhythm of cooking – but I can do that. I’ve done it before so I know how to tackle it.
  2. My people have my back. I can’t thank my friends, family and Alex enough for the support they gave me; whether it was a text or a phone call or cleaning up and making dinner, they were all so awesome.
  3. I let this test get in my head. I have taken lots of tests. Some of them I have been ready for, others not so much. It’s always turned out okay. I don’t know why this test in particular got to me. This test was like that muscle twinge in your neck you ignore and ignore and ignore even though it hurts and then suddenly it’s a raging muscle spasm and you suddenly realize you haven’t been able to look to the right in months. I didn’t notice how much I’d let it affect me until the end. Now, I’ll be on the lookout for signs that I’m heading into the overwhelm and try to back out quietly before it happens.

Overall, I’m excited to be done with the test and feel motivated to do other things again! I’m going to share on Wednesday my final thoughts on the Nerd Fitness dumbbell training program and my next strength training plan. And I’ll have links up for you on Friday. Hoping to get some recipes to you next week! 

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One thought on “When Something Little Turns Into Something BIG

  1. I’m sure you did fine on the test! I think it’s huge that you realized that your focus on the test got out of control. Most people wouldn’t acknowledge that and just act like they are a victim of their horrible graduate studies and what else can they do?! It’s a mature person who realizes when things are out of control and then manage the things you can. Kudos, buddy!

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