Post # 1
- Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016
So last night was pretty bad for me. I’m not sure why, maybe I was just tired, I don’t know, but last night it felt like something snapped and I could not stop crying for about 2 hours. I just feel like everything is incredibly hopeless. Like I’m constantly putting my life on hold, everything that I want to do and that I’m passionate about and fills me with a sense of purpose, is always pushed to the wayside.
I feel like a huge source of this stress right now is taking my black belt test in a year. I start my official countdown training in 6 months, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I am so incredibly out of shape it’s laughable, and I HATE running and working with weights. It’s why I took up tkd in the first place, to get me moving in a way I genuinely liked. But now it’s come to bite me in my fat ass. If I fail the test, I have to train another 6 months. And if I fail that test, another 6 months. It’s so much time, on weekends, and I’m afraid I’ll never have time to be with my husband. And that I’ll spend so much time training to get in shape, I’ll never have time to do anything else I want to do.
I’m so tired of the things I love being relegated to hobbies. Writing. Sculpting. Sewing. These are things, that if I really had the time to devote to them, I could actually pursue. That I could maybe make a respectable side business for myself doing something I actually care about. But I’m never going to get anywhere if I only have 15 minutes here or there to give to it.
Everywhere I read tells me how easy it is to just “carve out 45 minutes a day” to do the things you love. Well how am I magically supposed to carve out all of these extra hours from what isn’t there? And I’m sick of people telling me to just choose what’s most important…I know that’s what most logical, but maybe I don’t need logic right now. How can I pick between my passions? How can I stop feeling like I’m putting my life on hold AGAIN? For years I have pushed off the things I wanted to do until I was somehow “good” enough or in the right place or whatever, and now I realize I never did anything. This was the year all of that was supposed to change. But now, because I am so stupidly out of shape, I am going to have to devote all of my time to exercising in a way that I hate so that hopefully my year doesn’t stretch out to even longer than that. I joined tkd because it was supposed to be fun for me, and now it’s filling me with nothing but stress. Nobody is forcing me to go, I’m not a child, and some days I just want to quit. But at the same time…I don’t want to be a quitter.
Add in a double helping of anxiety and guilt about money and moving out (we still live with my parents, hoping to move out in a few months but I don’t know where seeing as we can’t afford anything in a 100 mile radius), and I think you’ve got a pretty clear picture. How do you guys deal with it? How do you deal with drudgery of daily life, feeling like a robot and that everything that actually fills with you purpose and happiness has to be pushed off to some mythical other day?
Post # 2
How many hours a day do you work? Maybe your job is adding to the stress?
I’m sorry I dont have much of an answer…but my “me” time is drinking a glass of wine and watching How I Met Your Mother with Darling Husband. 🙂
Post # 3
1. Reschedule your Black Belt test. This seems to be your biggest cause of stress due to the time committment. Give yourself more time to train for it. If you decide not to pursue your black belt certification, that’s OK too! But if you do go for it, be prepared to push yourself mentally and physically.
2. With your workout schedule toned down, you may be able to find time for some hobbies that you enjoy and don’t cause unnecessary stress.
3. Regarding moving out: give yourself till the end of the month to NOT talk about moving out. Re-evaluate again in March after you re-organize your priorities/hobbies/goals.
I have sympathy for you and your situation. Sometimes everything seems to pile up on you and completely overwhelms you. Maybe take this weekend off and don’t do anything you “have” to do; just do what you want to do. I think it’s time to hit the reset button. Good luck and hugs to you!
Post # 4
Seeing as we both got married in January, I hope it’s okay to speak from my own perspective. As a balance coach, I will be the first one to admit that this is a lot to come down from. In the past few weeks, I don’t feel like I’ve had much time for anything that I’ve really wanted to do. I also need to get in shape, but I know that I need to start with a gradual approach such as walks.
Even though it’s very difficult for me to take an entire day off, I am starting to do something with my girlfriend’s or just for fun at least once a week. My guy and I really try to have a date night, and I am reevaluating my priorities. As far as the nutrition, I am starting to incorporate some healthier options without putting too much pressure myself for major changes.
I would say that you don’t have to do this to get in shape if it makes you miserable. Also, I think you should choose 1 of your hobbies and just try to have fun with it. I can definitely relate to putting pressure on yourself, but I know that I’m being way too hard on myself and it isn’t helping. I want to make sure most of all that I’m compassionate with myself and make some time to spend with my new husband.
Balance doesn’t happen overnight, and it does take some effort and time to get things right. But most of all, remember to relax your expectations.
Post # 5
You took tkd to have fun while you’re getting into shape, if it’s doing that why take a black belt test if it’s not something you really want or can’t handle right now? If someone is telling you that the belt is necessary, find a different school.
As far as hobbies being small amounts of time that are carved into the everyday “drudgery”, for the most part, that’s just adulting. It doesn’t sound like you are not yet in a financially stable enough position to quit your job and chase a dream but that may come in time, but the realization has to be there that it may not either. Talk with you other half, tell him what you’d like to do, maybe the two of you can come up with a plan to try to make it happen, say a two, five, or ten year plan. Stick too it.
Post # 6
Monikax3x3: we love that show 😃
OP- I could have written this two years ago. Finding a job I enjoy has been a big part of my emotional health. I used to get overwhelmed working 40 hours a week. This past Sunday was the first day I’ve taken off in over a month, and I can’t believe Ive handled it so well. Sure, I’ve been grumbly, and there have been a couple nights where I felt hopeless, but the next day things looked ok again.
Now if I could only figure out how to get stuff done around the house while working this many hours…
Post # 7
I agree with tks. Why not push the blk belt test or forget it all together if it’s such a huge source of stress. What’s the point of killing yourself for it, just to do it, and have it, and then not even maintain that level of fitness afterwards since it doesnt sound like that is your passion and how you want to spend your time. If it sucks that bad, forget it and find some other way to stay in shape?
Post # 8
I guess I’m not really understanding. You took tkd to get in shape. Now you want to get your test over with as fast as possible. For what reason? So you don’t have to keep going? Then what’s the point of taking it in the first place? You do realize once you stop, you’ll still have to exercise to stay in shape – right? I guess to me it just sounds like you’re stressing about one hobby taking over your time for other hobbies. Work, family, cooking, cleaning, schooling, etc are things I know can stress you out and unavoidably take you away from the things you enjoy. But a voluntary tkd class for exercise shouldn’t cause this much stress.
Post # 9
- Wedding: March 2018 - The Venue, Barkisland, UK
It’s tough. I often feel like I don’t have the balance quite right.
I work full time and commute 3-4 hours each day I go into the office. The job is flexible so I work from home 2-3 days a week at the moment. This saves me those 3-4 hours and allows me to get extra sleep if I feel that I need it. If I want to go to the gym, I get up early and go before work because otherwise it doesn’t happen. I go to the stables on my way home for about an hour most nights. I get up early on the weekend to go to the stables, so that the rest of my day is free. I sometimes read a little before bed to calm me down – because I don’t get home until 8pm, so it’s a rush to eat, clean up, and get everything ready for the next day as well as spend some time with my OH.
Chores have to be done on a weekend, or if I take holiday from work. I’ve actually booked this Friday off just so I can potter around catching up on a few things that are bothering me because they aren’t done.
I make lists of things that I’d like to do this week, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t get done. I feel better when these things get crossed off. I used to think for ages about things to add to the list, now I only write what immediately springs to mind. Once the list is written, I can’t add something new unless I cross something off – it stops me getting overwhelmed.
Ultimately – a lot of the things that are stressing me out, are there because they’ve been put off. And if I’ve successfully put off doing them, it’s because in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t important. They’re “nice”-to-do rather than need-to-do. So if I decide to spend a night chilling out, and put those things off for one more day? Well it’s not going to kill anybody. 🙂
Post # 10
- Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island
“But now, because I am so stupidly out of shape, I am going to have to devote all of my time to exercising in a way that I hate so that hopefully my year doesn’t stretch out to even longer than that. I joined tkd because it was supposed to be fun for me, and now it’s filling me with nothing but stress. Nobody is forcing me to go, I’m not a child, and some days I just want to quit. But at the same time…I don’t want to be a quitter.”
No one is forcing you to go. If your exercise is causing you stress, stop! Not worth it! Say you practice an hour a day, 4 times a week (no idea if thats true, but thats about what my tkd training was), stay at home and do a half hour fitness dvd and a half hour of writing. Find a dvd that is fun for you, like zumba or something that doesnt feel like training but gets you moving and gets the endorphines flowing! You will feel so much better about yourself and not like a quitter if what you’re doing makes you feel good instead of stressed!
Post # 11
I don’t really understand why you need the black belt so badly. You create stress where it should not be stressful. It’s a hobby, right? Keep it as a hobby, not a potential job.
Post # 12
- Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016
SoonAsYouCan: I started this class partially because I was looking for ways other than the typical ways of exercising (running, gym, etc.) to get in shape. I LOVE sparring which is an awesome workout (so much so that I actually took up a kickboxing class for a while but ended up quitting because I didn’t like that studio and I simply couldn’t afford it) and practicing my more complicated kicks and forms. I never said I was just going to stop once I reached my black belt. The studio offers so much more than that, different degrees of black belts, ground fighting, bo fighting, etc. And up until now, I’ve really enjoyed it because I found a way to exercise that really got my heart going and my body moving that I loved and that I could see myself doing for a while seeing as I’ve been doing it for a few years now. I’ve never been an athletic person, running track or being a gym rat is just not my thing. I found a niche for myself in sparring, I truly do love it. But running and push-ups and all those other things AREN’T sparring. They’re those things I’ve avoided because I hate them. So for the next year, I don’t get to spar and exercise in a way I find enjoyable. I’ll be pushing myself doing something I despise and I know a lot of people can get around that mental block, but it’s difficult for me.
I’m sorry if I sound lazy. Again, I never said I was going to quit tkd after I got my black belt, but I started this because I was tired of feeling like I couldn’t do anything active. These past few years have shown me otherwise, I can move my body and sweat and actually fight with people and realize I’m not TOO terrible. I looked forward to exercising. But training this way, trying to reach specific numbers instead of just doing my best and feeling like a failure because 10 year olds can run laps around me does not motivate me. I just don’t want to quit because I’ve come this far, my classmates want me to succeed and hence comes the stress because I don’t know how to make exercising this way enjoyable, especially when it comes at the expense of everything else I want to do.
Edit: I know it sounds like people don’t understand why I just don’t quit. I don’t want to quit because I don’t hate tkd. Going to class, being with my classmates who have become some of my close friends, learning new forms, kicks, ways to defend myself (which was also a huge factor for why I joined), sparring…all of that. I love it. I do. But you can’t stay stagnant. You learn new things, grow as a martial artist, so I can’t just simply go and do the same things I’ve done up until now. To go this far in, to reach this far, and NOT make black belt feels like failure. Is it all mental? Most likely. But that’s how it feels. And trying to go from exercising in a way that I love, to pouring all my time into exercising in a way that I hate (running laps, weight lifting) sucks all the joy out of it, but it’s necessary if I want to continue the good parts. It’s just finding a way to balance it so I don’t have another meltdown like last night that I can’t seem to figure out.
Post # 13
Ok, I can relate quite a bit – I’m a competitive boxer, I work full time and my husband and I own the gym I train at, so I end up teaching and coaching quite a bit. Competing means staying on weight – so cooking all my food from scratch, meal prep/portioning, then adding running and some conditioning or weight training… trust me, I get it. You can get caught up in the drudgery of it and forget about the passion.
My suggestion – I would delay the black belt test. Just for 6 months. Spend the next 6 months just getting in shape and enjoying your craft. Run only twice a week, weight train once a week to start and then add in a day in a month or two. But do all this while you maintain your twd training.
I’m not totally sure how twd works, but in boxing, even when I’m not competing, I will still spar. It won’t be at the same intensity or as long as when I’m in fight mode, but I do it because I love it (like you, sparring is my favourite part of training, I could go weeks without hitting a bag, but would spar every da if allowed).
Also like you, I’m not athletic. I found boxing at age 26 and have gone as far as I have because I want to, I love competing and pushing my body to heights I never thought I could reach. That’s what I would suggest for you. Relax in your sport, take the huge goal out of it for now, train because you enjoy it and because you can.
Post # 14
I don’t know much about TKD, but why can’t you sparr for a year? Why are you unable to do anything but run and do pushups? If that’s not what you like doing, why waste your time? Do things you enjoy, even if that means putting things off for a year or two. Why not drop the TKD studio membership and take a sculpting class and buy a bozing bag and sparr with that at home?
Post # 15
I honestly don’t get overwhelmed like this, and can’t say I ever have – even when I used to work 80 hour weeks and sometimes 30+ hours at a stretch. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 10 years, it’s that it’s not worth it to stress over little things – there’s generally nothing you can do to control them and it is wasted energy. If you have a passion, pursue it. If you want to turn it into a side business, go for it. But you simply aren’t going to have time to pursue 4 different passions. Prioritize. As my mentor once told me, “Social life, fitness, family, career growth – pick 2.5 of the 4.”
If you are dreading the time/energy investment required to test for your black belt, let it go for a little bit. No, you don’t want to become stagnant but the best way to actually become stagnant is to burn yourself out so you have to be careful. Doesn’t mean it’s gone forever – just for 6 months or a year while you prioritize other things.
Someone once told me that people tended to view the path to happiness as a defined path with branch points. When you reach those branch points you often feel pressure to make the “right” decision and may convince yourself that ONE of the choices will lead to happiness and all the others to despair and unhappiness. This is simply not the case – every choice has benefits and drawbacks. The perception that life would have been perfect had you made the OTHER choice is often what destroys happiness.