Happiest and Healthiest: Working hard or overworking?

Reframing our fitness goals to allow for the rest we need

Point blank: we do too much on this campus. I certainly feel at times that I do. While running around campus all day is tiring in itself, the even more exhausting aspect of this lifestyle is its inertia. Once you get caught up in the cycle, I find that the hardest thing to do is stop. Whether your motivations come from resume-building, a perceived need to always be on the go or even a lack of vision to imagine a different lifestyle, the honest truth is that it’s a lot easier to keep on keepin’ on than to admit that you bit off more than you could chew — because with that confession comes guilt and questioning (or at least, you think it will).

As broken as the system may be, this article does not intend to change it. Instead, it is a call to make changes for the better in the area of your life that you do have full control over, and that, unlike the information on your resume, should be judged by you alone: your body. I fully believe in the pursuit of bettering yourself, but it is important to note that improvement is not strictly linear.

Our bodies, first and foremost the vessels within which we reside, certainly enjoy movement and healthy fuel, but are not necessarily happy when constantly pushed to their limits. We fluctuate. Sometimes, we feel that we could lift as much or run as far as we could ever desire. On other occasions, we catch the flu, suffer a knee injury or just need a rest day. Yes, these deviations are frustrating and we would all love to be the 10/10 versions of ourselves all the time. But unlike your GPA, campus involvement and service, most of us don’t have our futures riding on our fitness level.

If you are someone who struggles with feeling overworked, I ask that you do not allow that to translate into your fitness routine. Yes, push yourself. Yes, work hard. But allow yourself to be introspective enough to notice the difference between working hard and being overworked, and recognize that in terms of personal fitness goals, it’s not a contest. Sometimes, it’s okay to replace an hour and a half workout with twenty minutes of meditation, to replace a long run with a recovery run or to eat a whole pizza when a full day of studying doesn’t make you quite as thrilled as you had hoped. Rest and repose are just as important as the hard work you put in, if not even more so. And while that might be (unfortunately) tough to explain to your parents or your future employer, it shouldn’t be tough to explain to yourself on the days that your body is begging you to take it easy. You and you alone are the one truly in charge of this part of your life — so own it.

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Katherine Carbonell
Hi everyone! I’m Katie, a Junior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minoring in Economics. Some of you may know me as the Ambassador of CHAARG, a college aged women’s health and fitness organization. My column will focus on this passion of mine and will highlight issues concerning physical health, body image, and diet on campus and in the surrounding Nashville area.

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