Don’t Panic

Do you ever feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? Like you just get bombarded with so many issues, problems, and tasks that maybe just you want to sit down and cry? I’ve felt like that recently. Things at work have been exhausting. We have many dogs at the shelter that need to get out three times a day, but only me and my three other coworkers to get them out. Because of all the walking, we’re falling behind on other tasks like enrichment, scooping, and playgroups that allow the dogs to release pent up energy and help us help them work out any behaviors that they need to unlearn. Top it off, there’s a lot of change coming up at my job. Coworkers are leaving, new ones are coming in, schedules will probably be changing, and we’ll be expected to deep clean kennels before the sun even rises (my work is dropping the cleaning crew that typically does it for us). There’s a lot of changes and uncertainty coming up and I don’t do well with either of those…

That’s just what’s going on at work. The drive there is also a hassle (people can be so rude and impatient on the highway and I’m one of them, but that’s a discussion for a different blog post). It takes me longer than I care for to get to work and my truck–though small–is a bit of gas hog. The discussion has already come up about me finding a better, more efficient car (I’d love a hybrid for the environment’s sake, but they’re so expensive!). Yet, getting a better car means taking out a loan and I may be almost done paying off my student loan, but when it comes to my job…I don’t earn a lot. I don’t earn enough to survive in this world. I think the only reason I am surviving is because I still live at home (thanks Mom!) and I don’t have to fork out an entire paycheck just to pay rent. So, with the thought of more loans, then comes the thought of trying to find a better job, but where do you find a better job in the field that I’m in? There’s not a lot of high-paying jobs out there in animal care, unless you’re willing to pay the price and stress of schooling.

Going beyond the stress of finances there’s also the issues happening all over the world: poverty, crime, scandals, countries at beef with each other, and climate change. You want to say you’re doing your part in making the world a better place, right? Yet, it’s easy to get sidetracked. You focus on what you need to do for your life that you may not be able to tend to the worldly problems. Or maybe its the other way around for you? Or maybe you try to throw all your eggs into every basket, but you quickly run out of eggs? It can all become so overwhelming so quickly. We need to get the dogs out to pee! The planet is dying! I gotta check the service engine light in my truck! Children are starving! How am I going to afford the rest of my life?! Why can’t politicians get their act together?! Don’t flip me off on the highway! You’re the one who cut me off, pal! Why can’t we all just get along?!

Breathe.

Just breathe. Yes. There’s a lot of madness going on in the world, but we don’t need to go mad because of it. We shouldn’t carry the weight of the world alone, because we can’t do everything. Did you know that in 2019 there were 7.674 billion people on Earth? And I’ve been told the number is on the incline which means there are more than 7.674 billion people to carry the weight of the world together. A pretty far-out idea, huh? Everyone working together.

Just because you can’t tackle one issue, doesn’t mean you can’t help it. You may not be the one to solve climate change, but you can recycle. You can reduce your gas emissions a little at a time. You could speak out for the sake of the planet, because every voice needs to be heard. Or maybe you’re mission is more helping the homeless, the sick, and those in poverty? Keep cans of food in your car and hand out a next meal to that homeless person on the side of the street. Donate to shelters or give your time. Little things do pile up. Just think of it like a rain storm. Every little thing you do is a drop of rain falling from the sky. If you don’t do much, not much is going to get wet, but if you add your drops of rain to someone else’s drops of rain, and someone else’s, and so on and so forth, then you’ll have enough water there for a flood and we all know how impactful a flood can be.

So, the next time you feel overwhelmed by all the issues in your life and the world as a whole, just pick one. Throw a dart if you have too and just do little things toward its completion. When those little things become a habit, pick another issue and do the same thing, then pick another, and another. Eventually, you’ll be making a bigger impact than you realize.

I may not be able to help with individual, unique life experiences, but if you’re still trying to figure out which worldly issue you want to start making a difference toward, I would suggest climate change. I mean, we can’t have all the other issues if there’s no planet to live on. Easy ways to help is by planting trees or growing gardens (I’ve got five pecan trees growing in pots and it’s so exciting to see them get bigger everyday). You could pick up trash you see on the ground, ride your bike more, or mow the lawn in the early morning or late evening. Some of the bigger things would be to change to solar panels or geothermal energy in your household or buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, but not everyone can afford that, so you do what you can.

Bottom line: when life gets overwhelming: just breathe. Take a step back, breathe, and push ahead when you’re ready. Don’t ever panic because panic can lead to bad decisions and there’s already enough regret in the world. Everything will work out if we all do our part, so don’t panic, and let’s change the world one little thing at a time.

Published by Nikki

I am an aspiring author with one novel written and ready for representation and many in the works.

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