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Holding Up

  1. Take more time off

  2. Go home on time

  3. Leave it at work. Because you know that you can never completely follow this plan. You are expected to respond to emergencies. You are on rotation for weekend and holiday on-call duties. And, sadly, the things you have seen and carried really dont vanish when you leave the office. That frustration compounds your stress, whispering to you when things are tough that your situation is impossible. However, the inability to fully incorporate the above suggestions, doesnt mean that the ideas are not valid ones. Dont let the small, nagging voice whittle you away until you collapse in defeat. Balance. Like the small stones holding up the massive one, balance is the key to shouldering the seemingly impossible burden pressing down upon your shoulders. Instead of focusing on the Giant boulder pressing down, find the things you can do to rearrange the base support. If taking long leave causes you to feel stress due to the fear of falling behind, find a balance. Take a Friday or a Monday off for a long weekend. Most agencies have flex schedules that can be controlled by you. When you work late, arrange to come in later the next day to allow for more sleep. Arrange with your supervisor to occassionally take a long lunch. Invite friends who help you relax and make you laugh. If you have nothing looming before you at mid day, flex out some time by leaving early. It takes some planning, but it also gives you a measure of control, which balances out the stress of feeling trapped. Leave work on time? No. It is impossible, in your chosen profession, to always leave on time. There are emergencies, placement issues, court reports to finish and so many other emergent things. But dont tell yourself everything is emergent. Assess what is before you as the day draws to a close. If not urgent or emergent, allow yourself to leave. Not just leave, but also make a point to do something enjoyable. Have dinner with your family together, or a friend. Go to a movie, a play or a festival when you are off. Or simply draw, paint, write or garden if that brings you peace. The Balance is in taking joy in your life when you can. Making these moments happen will help your base to strengthen and to provide more support. But be aware. While massive responsibility can be managed by balancing your time and your life, no one will do it for you. It takes planning and effort on your part. But it can be done successfully. I encourage you to find ways to arrange the little stones in your life, so that you are able to stand strong. The weight of responsibility will never disappear, but with planning and the art of plucking joy whenever you can, you will achieve balance.

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