What To Do When You Feel Like a Burden

Feeling like a burden comes in waves, or for some, it might feel constant.

It’s kind of like imposter syndrome. It’s a feeling that creeps up not when you’re “vulnerable”, but simply when your guard is down. The key difference between imposter syndrome and feeling like a burden though is that feeling like a burden happens to nearly everyone because of anything. Imposter syndrome is usually paired with anxiety over your goals. 

When it comes to feeling like a burden, the important thing to remember is this: No matter how strongly you feel about the “burden”, you are not a burden. We’re in this world together. 

What should you do when you feel like a burden? 

Instead of simple “pro-tips”, we’ve got a recommended process to follow to help with your self-care actions during these moments!



#1 ⭐ Hold Space For Yourself

“Holding space” means you’re reserving space for physical, mental, and emotional support whether it be for a friend or for yourself. 

When “feeling like a burden” creeps up on you, hold space for yourself and give time to let all emotions and frustrations out privately. Think of your held space as a catharsis. 

“Catharsis (from Greek κάθαρσις, katharsis, meaning "purification" or "cleansing" or "clarification") is the purification and purgation of emotions — particularly pity and fear — through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration.” 
- Wikipedia 

After you let it all out, you’ll probably be emotionally exhausted. Give yourself added support by practicing self-love and self-care.


#2 ⭐ Remember This Story

Storytime: One week, a dear friend was having a rough time and reached out to a few of us in a group chat. They needed advice and needed to vent. After venting, they apologized saying they’re sorry for randomly asking for help when they haven’t been present for us. 

The thing is, we know that friend is an amazing human!

This is an example of someone who feels like a burden. There are a few important things to remember: True friendships and relationships are unconditional (within obvious reason). Reciprocation isn’t law (or on a cycle) when it comes to reaching out for or receiving help. We simply show up when someone needs us and hope that others do the same when they can.

So when you feel like a burden, remember everyone else who has reached out to you for help and think about where your heart was. Chances are, you didn’t view them as a burden at all. Just perspective...We all experience this.


#3 ⭐ Try to Ease the Burden

You’re not a burden but it’s hard to tell your brain that sometimes.

When feeling like a burden comes strongly, try curbing it with the following ideas:

  • Express your gratitude
  • Write a list of 3 things you love about your friendships
  • Take a day off and spend time with yourself; relax

Feeling like a burden is usually rooted in unaddressed guilt that you might not be as present for others as they have been for you. This is common but it’s not a reflection of your character. 

By addressing that guilt with actions like the bullet points above, you become more mindful about your relationships. 

Pro-tip: The Self-Care Planner includes “self-care” ideas for others. (e.g. Reconnect with an old friend)


#4 ⭐ Practice Asking for Help

It’s going to take some time, but asking for help shouldn’t be scary. If you see an opportunity to ask someone for help - big or small - leap! If you’re building up the courage to ask for help, talk with someone you trust or a best friend. Let them know you’re trying to be better about asking for help so you can practice with them. 

You can call them your “BFF”, or Burden Fighter Friend. :) 

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