It’s not easy to live in the modern day world as a woman. You have to deal with work, maybe school, friends, perhaps a significant other and maybe even kids, and if you’re like me, you also have dreams and goals outside of your basic priorities of work, friends, and family, and it can be so overwhelming. Yes, it’s the second week of 2017 and I’m already overwhelmed — but the great thing is I know why!
See I’m burdening myself in different areas of my life and letting these different sections of my life take a toll on me, all without ever releasing that burden from my shoulders. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. That heavy, exhausting feeling that sometimes makes you feel like — bleh, for a lack of a better term.
In the past, I’ve had to figure out ways to unburden myself from the troubles of my life and the world and it looks like I’m going to have to introduce those practices back into my life. If you start to feel the same, I encourage you to try these out:
1. Unburdening Myself from Work
Work is probably one of the most exhausting aspects of my life. I’m a full-time freelance writer that has three clients, and not to mention, I run my own website (this website). I work about 30-40 hours a week for my clients and another 10 or so on Fempotential (okay, I’m lying, I probably put in 15 hours with Fempotential). And because I work from home, I tend to forget how to separate work from relaxation time and sometimes do “small” tasks late into the evenings.
This is starting to pile up on me. I feel the burden of pleasing all of my clients and doing amazing work, as well as providing a kick-ass Fempotential website with amazing content. So here’s how I’m going to unburden myself from work:
I am going to remind myself that my clients only pay me “X” for “X” number of hours per week. Though I want to show them that I am excelling at my position, I cannot allow myself to work extra without getting paid, so I must utilize my time within those hours wisely and to the greatest extent. To do that, I’ve created a way to note my time and listed weekly duties for each so that I know how to better manage the things I need to do each day. I also asked one of my clients for an intern to work with so that I can delegate basic duties to them, so that I can focus on doing other things for the brand. This might be the greatest of lifesavers if we can make it happen (oh, I’ll make it happen).
As far as Fempotential goes, I have to remind myself that I need “rest” hours throughout the day and into the evening. This means I will have to break often and not work until 11 pm at night. I will have to relax and let bygones be bygones if my writers don’t submit when they say they will, and delegate my duties according to importance for the brand. And though I have a million ideas for Fempotential, I can only and should only do things one at a time. Unless, I get an intern, and then it’s off to the races from there!
I hate to bring this up, but it makes a good point: Both my parents, many of my family, and many family-friends work for the Post Office. When people got together for events it seemed like all they talked about was the Post Office and who did what and the drama and the issues going on. Now I realize that they needed time away from work to share those work issues with people who understood. And like my parents, I am now working to do the same. I’m finding bloggers and freelancers in my local community and I’m starting to hang out with them. We talk about our issues and our hopes for our brands, and by the end of the hang out, I feel so relaxed, rejuvenated, and unburdened because they show me that I am not alone. They understand how hard this work is and they are able to offer me specific work-related support. And that’s exactly what I need to unburden myself from the hardships of my career.
2. Unburdening Myself From Friends
Yes, you read that right. Your friends can sometimes become a burden on you. I love my friends, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not to say that our relationships are always perfect. I’ve found that I usually play the “Father/Mother” type role among many of my friends, which means I tend to be the person that they share their burdens with and sometimes need advice. If they are going through a pretty tough time, then I’m the one that they unburden all of their burdens on — multiple days a week. Look here, I’m okay with that — but only if they are absolutely and equivocally letting me dump my burdens on them in vent sessions too. If I have to listen to them, the least they can do is take a moment to get off their phone and focus on what I’m saying too.
I don’t always get this give and take within my friendships, and perhaps, that’s on me. So from now on, I’m going to set boundaries and only allow myself to take on their burdens oh-so-much. For one, I can’t carry other people’s burdens when I have mine. I would love to, but I can only carry so much weight. Secondly, I’m going to make sure that they know what I need from them as a friend, and though I wish that was an inherent knowledge, apparently not everyone has the basic understanding of how to be a good friend. And if that doesn’t work out, then I have to pull back and show that my friendship only comes with certain understood agreements.
This isn’t to be spiteful, it’s to be smart and helpful to me — you know, that person I live with every day.
3. Unburdening Myself From The Woes of the World
Oh, this is a hard one ,you guys. There’s so much going on in this world — rise in discrimination, hate crimes, a crazy, corrupt man that will be entering the White House, a Congress bent on turning back progress and women’s rights, abuse, rape, homelessness, violence, wars and genocide — do I need to go on? It’s exhausting just to say it.
When I founded Fempotential, it was my goal to help women reach their full potential in all areas of their lives, as well as make a change for women’s rights worldwide. That’s a pretty big burden to take on. That means I read article and blog after article and blog about the woes of women worldwide. I’m sometimes the confidant of audiences or writers on major, horrifying, and saddening things they have suffered. It means never really knowing, beyond a comment here or there, if Fempotential is making a difference. And that is a burden in itself.
But I can’t let all of the woes of the women (and men and children) of the world bring me down and get me sad or make me feel defeated. Because I am far from defeated or far from useless. But I do need — what’s that “b” word — oh, yes, boundaries. This means not obsessing over the news or letting myself get so angry that I forget to focus on the positive or direct my emotions to change. I also have to come to accept that I’m not the only one in the world trying to make a change — there are others. And perhaps, I need to find them and we can be each others’ support through these scary times.
4. Unburdening Myself From Searching For Love
Love is great and all, but I can’t burden myself with the notion that I don’t yet have love in my life right now. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, and honestly, I’m less concerned with it being in my life right now than I am with achieving my goals. So I’ve deleted any dating apps on my phones. I don’t have time to swipe right or left, and even if I did — I don’t want to. Just because society thinks that I should “be in a relationship” doesn’t mean I have to, and for now that’s a very easy burden to take off of my shoulders. I’ll give the search for love to the universe and let it take care of it for me in due time.
5. Unburdening Myself From Any Actions That Don’t Help Me
This last weekend I went out with friends, drank quite a bit, and found myself going to sleep at 3 am. Though I had fun, I realized the next day how doing that makes me feel pretty horrible (hungover) and it consequently made me feel not up to doing some things that I really needed to get done. So I’m not saying that I’m not going to drink or that I’m not going out — because I definitely need to do that sometimes to help relieve some stress. What I am saying is that maybe I will make it a priority to be in bed by 1 am (okay 2 am) and that I won’t drink as much so that I feel fine the next day. And I’m not talking about just these actions. If there is something that friends or family pressure you to do and all it does is add a burden on your life — stop doing it. If you are doing something often, just because you’ve always done it, but it doesn’t help unburden your life — stop doing it.
Realize that your time and your stress and your health is so important and that lifting a bit of burden from your shoulders in these ways and others can make for a happier life.