I'm learning to ask for help and here's why you should, too!
Lately I just haven't been able to settle into a good routine. I get workouts in when I can and eat healthy sometimes but I find myself prioritizing work and taking care of my family over taking care of myself.
I decided that I will take the next 6 weeks to get back on track and prioritize ME. Selfish? Well, it sure feels like it. But is it really? Not at all.
You see, I can't really be good at life if I'm not good at taking care of myself. But how can I do that? I have 2 little kids, a husband in grad school and a business to run. But you know what I also have? An amazing community of people around me. I have friends who I am so lucky to know and family that are always there when I need them.
So now is the time to admit I need them.
How often do you ask for help? Like the real kind. Not just asking your partner to take out the trash or grab dinner on the way home. Like, "Can you do [what I see as] my job for a sec so I can step away and be me for a hot minute?"
I can say with 100% certainty that I KNOW you know why it's good to ask for help. It's the how that is hard. So here are some of the ways I have been working on restructuring my thinking so I can focus on me (just a bit more!).
1. Sometimes it's an over empathizing thing:
I know how to do something pretty seamlessly and I know asking someone else to step in and do it will be so much harder for them than it is for me. Or I know how busy everyone else is, too, so why do I feel like I should get to ask them to help me?
I often worry about stressing out the people around me. So I prefer to stress myself out. Taking on other people's stress feels so much worse to me than dealing with my own. So that's how I roll. But a wise little (sister) bird said to me recently, "Other people's stress is not your responsibility. It is their responsibility to manage their stress and yours to manage yours."
Say yes to things if you want to do them but not because you think you should (obvi, there are some exceptions because #adulting). Ask for things you need and trust that the people you love will say yes because they want to help you judgement free. And if they take on too much, that is not your responsibility. So find someone (or someones!) you trust - your partner or a close friend or relative - and explain your fear of asking for too much or your concern that they won't know how much you respect their time and energy. Make an agreement. You will ask for help when you really need it and they will give you an honest answer if they can help.
2. Sometimes it's a pride thing:
I should be able to do all the things. Asking for helps feels like I'm failing.
I like to be good at everything. Like really good. Okay, I like to be the best. It's not always a positive personality trait but it sure has taken me to a lot of cool places and earned me a lot of awesome prestige in what I do. So I'll call it a good thing. The trouble is I don't like people to know I'm struggling. Or even myself I guess. I want to do it all and be great at all of it. But I am realizing that to do that, I need some help.
Think about 3 awesome things you did in the last 24 hours (I bet you can think of more!). Congratulate yourself for those. Then think of 3 times you helped someone in the last 24 hours (I bet you can think of way more of those, too!) and think about how happy you were to be able to help them. Now you can LET someone help you. Ask someone who loves you to help you so you can reward yourself for all that awesomeness you put out into the universe today. They know you deserve it and so do you.
3. And sometimes it's a thoughtless thing:
Do you every realize you've spent the last few hours or day or YEAR living on the defensive? Just knocking things off my to-do list, keeping the kids alive, making sure my husband and family know I'm there for them... I mean, it works, right? We're all still kicking! But when I do this there is no meaning and not much joy to my actions. It's just pure survival.
Yelling at my kids, wishing my work was done, not taking time to cuddle my adorable husband, are not fun ways to get through the day. I love being with my kids. I love my work and it's a super exciting learning experience right now that I can either let ruin my confidence or see as an incredible new adventure and growth opportunity. I choose adventure.
Meditate! Take a breather. Step back and take stock of what's around you. Write in a journal - what are you thankful for? What do you love about yourself? Remember that life is short and amazing. So let's remember to give it purpose and enjoy it!