What have you done this week in the name of self-care?For us, we make time for meditation (with our favorite singing bowl audio tracks, of course), take breaks from our phone screens, and get plenty of rest each night.
None of that sounds particularly indulgent, does it? Well, as we learned before, the most vital acts of self-care have little to do with spa days and shopping trips.
However, just because we’re engaging in the most responsible forms of self-care doesn’t mean we’ve truly got ourselves covered.
The Secret Ingredient to Total Self-CareThis is a game changer. Because self-care clearly places focus on the self, we do something that holds us back from meeting our best stress-free potential - we neglect to ask others for help.
Think about the last time your child asked for help with their homework. The last time a coworker asked you to help them meet a deadline. When a friend called you up to vent. These people were all feeling burdened. As an act of self-care, they approached you in assisting them.
Reaching out for help is a healthy response to overwhelm. So it makes sense that those of us who have trouble managing stress and quieting the mind would not seek help. Our thought processes and perceptions have been hijacked by less reasonable portions of our nervous system.
Or, you’re simply not used to asking others to help lighten your load. It feels awkward to you. But trust us, it’s not as difficult as it may seem.
Asking for Help
Here are some easy ways to get the help you need without feeling as though you’re imposing or losing control:
⦁ Don’t over-explain right away. We often feel like we have to justify asking for help. Therefore, we’ll let all of our reasons out in a hurry to the person we’re asking. It’s much more effective to ask plainly, “Could you help me?” At that point, the person can decide whether or not they’re willing and get more information.
⦁ State why you need the help. The key word here is “you”. Instead of naming the task as though it’s part of a to-do list you’ve handed to them, explain what you’re lacking at that moment. Instead of saying, “I need my problem fixed,” say, “I don’t know how to fix my problem.” When we do this, we’re not saying we want others to take on our responsibilities. We’re saying that we do not have the means to take them on at this time.
⦁ Point out why you believe that person can help you. Once you’ve shared what it is you need help with, briefly explain why it is you’ve chosen that person. For example, you’re having a problem with your computer. You seek out a neighbor who is very good with computers. “I know you’re good at this sort of thing,” plainly explains why it makes sense to approach this person. Not to mention, many people enjoy being a trusted authority.
All told, asking for help is one of the best ways we can care for ourselves. It strengthens communities and helps us learn how to trust others. Do you have trouble asking for help when you need it? What do you find is the most rewarding thing about helping others?