3 minutes reading time (534 words)

Easing the heavy load - podcast

Easing the heavy load - do not wait until the final straw.

We may have heard the phrase 'The straw which broke the camel's back'. Or 'The last straw'. It offers an image of carrying such a heavy weight that one final piece of straw was too much to bear.

As ever, these wellbeing tips do not replace professional advice. Please do speak to someone if you feel events in your life are overwhelming. Your wellbeing matters: we all need to talk to someone sometimes. A friend, a family member, a colleague at work or a group you are a member of, or where more clinical interventions are needed, a health care professional. Remember, the Samaritans are there 24/7 365 Tel 116 123.

Looking after our mental and emotional health is as important as looking after our physical health. This does not mean, at times, we may not be challenged. However, when we practice self-care, we may find when life is challenging, it does not take so much out of us.

The audio recording in this piece offers some ideas on becoming mindful of the loads we are carrying so that we can ask ourselves. 'Do I need to carry all of this today?' ' Do I need to carry it so far?' ' Can I ask for help?'

Podcast - Easing the heavy load

When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, we can lock in all that is wrong and feel nothing can be done to improve it. This can mean we miss opportunities to lessen the load or give up as we do not see an immediate difference. Like someone who has not been physically active for a while, you don't start being active by going out and running a 10K marathon. You may begin with a 5-minute walk and build from there. The same holds if we have been neglecting our self-care; doing too much too soon can leave us feeling even more overwhelmed and less likely to build a new routine where life doesn't feel such a struggle.

Taking a moment to pause, breathe, and reflect on what is next does not take much time. Like that short walk, which can help build stamina to train to take part in a marathon eventually, the short exercise of taking a moment to pause and put down our mental and emotional load can help build our stamina for the marathon of life. We know it is not always easy; we know there is pain, but there are things we can do where we can suffer less. You do matter; please look after yourself. You are a survivor; carrying a heavy load shows your strength; just know you don't need to carry it forever. You can put it down and permit yourself to breathe, even for a moment.

Forget the times of trouble, but not the truths they taught. Forget the days of sorrow, but not the strength they brought. Forget the storms you battled through beneath a heavy load - but not the light that led you safely down the unknown road.

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