I went to my second Olympic weightlifting class last week. What is Olympic lifting? Well, it’s pretty straightforward really. Olympic lifts are the ones you see in –you guessed it- the Olympic Games. Someone walks up, makes a lot of noise, and throws a few hundred pounds over their head. No big, right?
Wrong. It’s really hard! I consider myself reasonably experienced in the art of lifting things and putting them back down… Apparently there’s a lot more to it.
So far, we’ve been working on two of the three Olympic lifts: “the clean” and “the snatch.”
While throwing barbells around is hard, the less-tangible weight of being stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted has been far more of a challenge lately.
You see, I like to pretend I’m Wonder Woman most of the time:
I take on A LOT. I train, work two jobs, I’m the president of two clubs, I’m a mentor, a volunteer –oh, and a student! I’m a campus tour guide and on a recent tour a prospective student asked her mother how I could possibly have time for it all. I laughed when her mother replied that I probably don’t have Netflix.
It’s certainly not easy, and can be super taxing on my mental and physical health often times. This semester has already been especially hard. The struggle however, has helped me to develop better study habits than I’ve ever had and motivated me to explore my options and resources on campus.
When –at the gym- the weight on the barbell is too much, you do one of four things:
1. You take some of it off –duh!
2. You put it down –double duh!
3. You call for help.
4. You drop it –and risk hurting yourself.
The same applies to those things that weigh on my mental health. First, I have the option of taking some of the weight off. If I can’t handle keeping up with everything I’ve signed on for… I need to give something up. It’s hard for me to do because I hate quitting and I really hate letting people down. I know however, that I’m better off with some extra time to decompress at the end of a long day or to study when crunch-time comes around. I think the important thing to remember is that we’re all human –as much as I’d love to be Wonder Woman- and we have limitations.
My second option is putting everything down. I do this when I’m trying to gain some clarity to evaluate my situation objectively. It can be hard to think when I’m balancing a ton of weight over my very breakable toes. Some people call it a mental health day. For me, it’s sometimes only a few hours. Again, it can be very hard. When you’re completely swamped, not studying, not working on that assignment, can induce a lot of anxiety. I’m getting better at it though and I find those few hours “off” -doing nothing that I need to do- do a lot of good for me.
Calling for help is another strategy. One thing I love about being in a big city and on a big campus is the number of resources we have at our fingertips. Help is always steps away. This week I had a lovely chat with someone at my registrar’s office. Not only did I gain some insight, it really helped to just “talk it out.” I have a tendency to go over things in my head again and again. And it’s exhausting. When I speak my mind to someone else, I can quiet the internal monologue.
The last option is to wait until I’m completely burnt out and the weight comes crashing down on its own. Obviously, this is far from ideal. t I want to avoid it and I’d love for you to avoid it too! Sometimes it’ll happen regardless of the measures you take to avoid it. Life can be unpredictable. Having said that, I find that most of the time if I take advantage of the other options I have, I can complete the lift –so to speak- and stand tall.