Need I mention that 2020 has been a burdensome year? Every one of my friends and I have had to go out of our way in order to accomplish tasks that were once carefree and almost effortless. At the very least, we must take extra precautions in order to protect ourselves and people we come in contact with. Some days, the efforts feel like annoying hassles.
I needed to go out for groceries so I opened a fresh package of disposable paper masks. I pulled one of them out of the bag and contemplated it. The fact that such a simple, accordion-folded rectangle of paper material existed for sale was a stroke of genius. Someone or some group of people invented these things as a way to filter air even before the pandemic. Face masks have now become a symbol of the burdens we all face each day of this topsy turvy year.
The extra steps we must take because of Covid also remind us that we might be trying to take on too many other responsibilities. It’s important to prioritize. In order to keep from burning ourselves out, we remind ourselves to put our personal health and well-being first before offering help to others. This seems counterintuitive to those of us who normally put others first. However, common sense tells us that if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be of much help to anyone else. This is important as Covid-19 makes another resurgence around the world.
These extra Covid concerns now overlay the burdens we already, normally have as a matter of living life. People who cope with physical or emotional injuries or keeping deep secrets under wraps now have to expend additional effort. It feels awkward talking about or asking for help. In many instances, we create the circumstances that lead to heavier emotional weight to bear.
Then again, we have to take on heavier responsibilities and workloads at our jobs or for our families. If these extra burdens will be temporary, we take comfort that we will be rewarded with the release of extra responsibility within the foreseeable future.
If a circumstance is permanent, then it’s time to pause and examine one’s overall lifestyle and attitudes. Which aspects are most important? Which of those are most urgent? It could be the time to assess the situations with time management techniques or to use simple prioritisation to determine which activities can be eliminated. Doing so will free up some time for R & R. This goes a long way towards diminishing stress.
Then again, perhaps the burdens are work related. Responsibilities and workloads have accumulated to unbearable levels. If you’re working 60-hours or more each week, this is an unhealthy, unsustainable scenario. Even the best job becomes uninspiring in such a situation. This means it’s time to conference with your supervisor about your concerns. If you’re the boss, it’s time to delegate some of your burdens to your assistants and staff. This will give you breathing room so you can work more efficiently and creatively.
These are not new suggestions, but they’re easy to forget while we’re caught up trying to always keep up. When you find yourself trying to be everything for everyone the struggle is in vain. It’s important to place personal well-being and care first. Doing this will help keep focus on the bigger picture and better enable you to accomplish your overall goals.
Relieving excess burdens is similar to decluttering a home. One identifies activities and tasks that do not add to productivity. We can ask whether or not they can be consolidated with other tasks or if they can be delegated to someone else. Just like purging a cluttered house, it might be time to declutter your mental floors, walls, and boxes. With streamlined priorities, comes a lightness and a fresh sense of freedom.
While doing such decluttering, it’s good to remember to include good humor as a cleansing agent. Exercising a good sense of humor brightens the mood for yourself and those around you. Good humor helps lighten the load.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes President Lyndon B. Johnson. “When the burdens of the Presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.”