Memo to self: I can’t carry the world on my shoulders

I had planned a 10-mile run for today, but I’ve been hurting.

This year is getting to me. Stress shows itself in me with physical symptoms of fatigue and weakness, and it makes running and swimming way more difficult than they are when I’m feeling good. We’re all familiar with this.

Today I decided to let myself off the hook. I didn’t want to run, and I’m not training for a specific race, so eff it. I’m not going to run.

I drove to a nearby state park I’ve never visited and went for a 3-mile hike instead. Nature is always a place I go when I need to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, a recent car crash deprived me of a weekend up north, and I haven’t had a fix in a while.

The walk was rather like an exorcism. My brain pulled old memory files that I’d rather not think about, and my heavy winter boots dragged on my legs. Even my shoulders felt weak.

After about a mile, I yanked back control over my mind. I paid attention instead to the sun on my face, the cool breeze on my skin and the sounds of raucous chickadees in the forest.

This was the prettiest spot on my walk.
This was the prettiest spot on my walk.

Above all, I sat with the discomfort of all my emotions and let them be. And I realized I can’t carry the world on my shoulders. That’s not going to end well. Stress and anxiety are tricky. They sneak up on me and suddenly, I’m feeling terrible and I don’t even know why. After all this time, those bastards still surprise me.

Being concerned about the world and wanting to do my part to improve it is one thing, but I can’t take this on as a solo project.

The walk wasn’t actually that much fun. The park was fairly boggy and it wasn’t that pretty, but it did the trick. I felt lighter on my drive home.

Letting myself off the hook for not getting in the miles helped, too. I can’t add to my stress by being mad at myself for not running. Maybe I’ll take a week off and go for daily walks instead. I’ll forgive myself for it because I can write my own rules. Life is hard. I’ll take the pressure off myself and not make it harder than it is.


2 thoughts on “Memo to self: I can’t carry the world on my shoulders

  1. Ugh I’m struggling with this right now. I think I finally hit a point between grad school/work/personal life crisis where I can’t do it all. I’m grasping at straws holding on till graduation.


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