It’s so easy to always be on the go.
To always strive for the best.
To always give your all in everything you do.
But if your life isn’t in balance (spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally), it can easily turn into a bad thing– and essentially that’s what happened to me.
I debated whether I was going to be open about this or not but decided to push through with my vulnerability because I want to be a voice for others and to let them know that they’re not weak for struggling with whatever they have going on.
So here’s the “condensed” version…
I had hopes for finally kicking off my first legitimate season of track with indoors in December. My 2-3 years of off/on training was finally going to lead up to this upcoming season. I was training as hard and smart as I could throughout the previous weeks– eating right, active recovery days/recovery after workouts, hydration, etc.
But because the amount of stress I was putting on myself subconsciously, all my dedicated work was going to waste. For example, I needed to lose some extra weight and even though I was doing all that I could with my diet and early morning runs, the pounds weren’t dropping fast enough for me– or hardly for any matter. Week after week I would become more stressed after stepping off the scale in defeat.
I guess you can blame my super high, unreasonable expectations but it’s also the fact that it’s impossible to lose weight when you’re stressed– also school hasn’t been helping either since my grades have been slipping.
I’ve had some of my close friends and mentors in the past kindly suggest that I should take some time off from track to heal mentally and emotionally considering how my first two years of college have been for me. But my perfectionism (and my ego) got in the way and made me fear that I would somehow lose everything if I stopped now; that somehow a break wouldn’t benefit me and I could never bounce back.
It got to a point to where I tried to take another break from school before giving up track but that didn’t work because of loan deferments.
Thankfully I came to my senses when I felt like I was being stretched in two million directions and couldn’t take it anymore. It’s rare if I cry in front of people but some tears definitely started to flow when I was talking about my frustrations to my mentor. She again talked to me about taking a break and I realized I had to suck up my pride and admit that I wasn’t strong enough for all of this right now.
And I’m coming to the realization that it’s perfectly fine to be in this place of “rest” for this season of my life.
Does it suck sometimes when I hop on social media and see all my track friends and mentors training for the upcoming season?
I desperately wish I could be out there with them somedays (as crazy as that sounds ’cause I know y’all are dying right now).
But as my mentor Tianna put it, “what they are doing has NOTHING to do with you at all. Not a thing. Keep reminding yourself that.”
If I keep focusing on the progress of those around me, then this season of life for me will be a waste and I won’t heal in the areas that have been so broken for so long.
I’m not sure when (or even if, God willing) I’ll return to training and competing, but I know I have start loving myself first. I’ve realized that while I was “healthy” from training, all of my goals were coming from an unhealthy place. I trained so hard because I didn’t like my reflection and just wanted to look like someone else.
I have to become comfortable in my own skin before I set out to do anything great.
And maybe you’re already comfortable in your own skin– that’s great, truthfully. But don’t beat yourself up if you need a break from your sport, academics, or any other passion of yours. Your mental health is more than PR’s. Your mental health is more than a degree.
Take a break. Pause. And come back stronger than ever.