When Your Joys Become a Chore

I’m laying on my yoga mat, unable to get myself to do any poses, only able to concentrate on how tired my body is and how much pain my thumb is in. I managed to injure my thumb to the point where I may have tendonitis or severely strained the muscle – and probably because I’ve pushed myself a little too hard, one too many days. But all I know is that I am suffering from a searing and throbbing constant pain in my thumb that almost brings tears to my eyes.

And this is when it hit me.

All of my joys have become a chore.

  • I love travel. But I’m angry because everything seems so hard right now – the rain, commuting on my bike, and feeling unprepared and stupid for not having the proper gear.
  • I love yoga but many days I feel like I’m “forcing” myself to do it.
  • I love exercise but I find myself not wanting to get out of bed to do it anymore.
  • I love eating healthy but a big part of me just wants to eat french fries and fried chicken every day.
  • I love the early mornings and the feeling that I get from being awake right before the sun comes up – but I’m angry that I feel like I don’t always get enough sleep because I’m trying to be “productive”.
  • I love to feel the gratitude and joys of life, but writing in my gratitude journal feels like pulling teeth sometimes – I find myself thinking “I have to find something ELSE to be grateful for?!”
  • I love writing but I don’t want to write.
  • I love learning new languages but using my brain to learn Japanese seems like a giant chore that I can’t wrap my head around.
  • I love trying new food and eating ice cream but I worry about being healthy and getting fat and all the repercussions that go with that.

So here I am, laying on my yoga mat like the world is coming to an end and I realize that I have fallen into the trap of how easily everything that I love can also bring me so much pain. I realize how easy it is to fall into the trap of overwhelm and anxiety, the inability to see the beauty in the everyday.

Now this is just a moment.

Not every moment that it feels like this. I’ve had wonderful, awe-inspiring moments in the last couple of weeks as well.

But the moments where I feel annoyed at everything are coming a little too frequently for my own liking and I’m frustrated with myself.

So what do you do when this happens?

Back off. Back off from the constant needing to be perfect, to do yoga and workout EVERY DAY and be healthy and “perfect” and “grateful” for everything. Because there’s a threshold for how effective all of these activities can be – they can easily become another chore, something else to cross off the daily list, the daily grind.

So when it all seems to feel like a chore, for me, I realized I need to just stop.

 

Stop doing and go take a walk. Take a bike ride – and do it purely for the joy of riding a bike, to feel the joy of being alive. Stop exercising and running. Stop yoga. Experience the opposite because then I remember WHY I do these things in the first place.

There is so much joy in all of these things. And many days I do feel the joy. But sometimes it does catch up to me – I realize that I’ve pushed myself a little too far and that it’s time to back off. It’s time to stop “trying to figure it all out” and just revel in the mystery.

It’s OK to not have it all figured out, and it’s OK to just enjoy your everyday life – you are allowed to enjoy life even if you don’t have it figured out! You are allowed to love yourself even if you don’t feel like you have it all together.

Because really – if you had it all together, it probably wouldn’t be very much fun anymore anyway 🙂