Asking for help is a radical act of self-care.
Removing oneself from the isolation of overwhelm and exhaustion and stepping into vulnerability is part and parcel to taking care of our own needs. It’s not necessarily a sign of strength to strong-arm our way through our difficulties; however, we often get stuck in this idea that we have to “soldier on,” regardless of our own immediate needs.
Emotions come in waves. They can be placid waves or they can feel hurricane-like in their strength. It’s ok to fall apart and feel what we are feeling. It’s how we heal, how we lean into the shadow side, and how we traverse the difficult path of getting the help and support we need.
For some of us, we were taught early on that asking for help is a good thing. We were shown by example that it’s ok to take breaks to nourish our mind, body and spirit. We were shown that by engaging in acts of self-care, the ability to show up for others is greater.
Many of us have had different experiences and were shown that asking for help is a sign of weakness. The indication here is to place others first and do what we need to do for ourselves later. In a worse case scenario, “later” ends up being in the ER with symptoms of hypertension, a heart attack, or a stroke. Not taking care of ourselves sends the wrong message to our loved ones.
Self-care, asking for help and developing resilience are healthy practices for everyone. They are not limited to someone in recovery or someone who has experienced difficulties. If we engage in these practices and teach our loved ones to do the same, self-care and asking for help become second nature.
What is resilience anyway?
Simply put, resilience is being able to recover quickly from difficulties—to “spring back into shape.” More definitively it is,
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Resilience isn’t something we are born with – it is cultivated through the development of self-regulatory and self-management skills. The more informed and aware we become around our feelings and needs, the more we cultivate and develop resilience. We become skilled in the ways we work through our difficulties. The more we are fortified (by self-care and asking for help), the easier it becomes to “spring back.”
Resilience is fostered by:
- Having healthy and close relationships with family and friends
- Having a positive view on yourself and and confidence in your abilities – Yes, you are enough.
- The ability to self-regulate
- Wise communication skills
- Asking for help when you need it, and seeking resources outside of yourself when necessary
- Viewing yourself as resilient and not as a victim.
- Healthy coping skills (instead of substance abuse)
- Being of service and helping others
- Being able to notice the good and the positive things that are happening around you.
Self-Care can include any of these things and many more:
- Taking a bath
- Getting a massage
- Restorative yoga
- Getting enough sleep
- Taking a dip in the ocean
- Going for a hike
- Playing with a dog
- Going to a park
Remember to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and self-preservation. You are worth it. You deserve to be supported.