I really never realized the importance, I mean importance importance, of having support on all levels; emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, personally, an professionally, until I became a single mom. WOWZA! Taking care of a whole human being can be daunting at times. And that's when my mentality of "I can do it all by my damn self, I don't need no body" changed. It wasn't about me, feeding my ego or proving something, it was about making sure my son got the best from me! I knew I needed to get a support tribe. So this blog post isn't just geared towards single moms or even moms but to people in general. Sometimes we just get so overwhelmed with things to get done that all that stress starts to affect us and we can even manifest the stress into health and mental issues.
I had a girlfriend who was prideful in asking for help and so stressed out about being perfect in everything that she did with her new business while also working full time, that she was making a lot of silly mistakes. This of course caused her to stress out even more that eventually she put herself in the ER for dehydration and exhaustion.
My mom can be a worrier, (which I now get) about me and my sister, her job, household chores, taking care of her husband (my dad), etc...that sometimes I can see the self
-induced stress turn into exhaustion, headaches, back pain and so on. I can see it because I am observing from afar. She will take on these responsibilities even though her plate of to-do lists is overflowing! She wants to make everyone happy, but that doesn't include herself. And she will do everything by herself, not delegating any of the tasks to anyone. Whether it be control or pride who knows...but I knew she didn't have to.
I'm not sure if any of these stories resonate with you, however there is one thing that I do know-we aren't meant to do life alone. We need help from time to time, that doesn't mean we are weak, or not intelligent, or whatever self-depreciating word you want to insert in there. It just means we are only 1 person with 2 hands and we cant do everything at once.
So you are like, "Ok we get it! We need support but where do I start?? Who do I ask? How do I ask?"
Here are 3 points that will get you on your way to building your custom support tribe!
1) One size does not fit all. There is not one person who will be able to support you in everything you need. Find people that fill your different need tanks. Maybe one person is really good at listening and you can vent and talk and get your frustrations out. Another person is good at being objective and giving advice, so you can talk to them and know they will give you a solution that might work. One person can be a business mentor and help you with your professional career. Depending on your type of support, find the right person(s). This may also be a trail and error situation, you may have thought one person could really support you in an area and realize its not a good fit, so you try again!
2)It's reciprocal. Are you to shy to ask for help? Or maybe you wait for someone to ask? I'm sure there are people in your social network that are the same way. Actually most people are that way. So why not be proactive and ask your friend if they need any type of support. By asking not only will that feel good to the other person, but they will naturally want to reciprocate. Also, the act of giving will make you feel less stress and happy that you were able to be there for a friend.
I started Support Saturdays for myself, where I text 3-5 friends and ask if I can support them in any way. The response I get from some of them is just gratitude and thankful I even asked. The ask in itself made them feel better. One person was so thankful that I asked and that I was able to help her out, wanted to reciprocate the ask she booked me a spa day and took care of my son! That was a total surprise. I don't do this to get anything in return but just to be a friend and to let these people know I am here if they every need me.
3)Tell a story that serves you. Some may be reluctant to ask for help and that's the reason I substitute the word help for support. It has a different feel to it, wouldn't you agree? Also, I tell a story myself that makes me feel good, "I need physical support today-I need someone to watch my son for a few hours so I can get some quiet time to myself." That doesn't make me a bad mommy but a mommy that is getting her cup replenished so she can continue to be there for her son. Bad mommy story doesn't make me feel good, replenishing mommy story makes me feel good, so I continue to tell that story. Every story has a good spin or a bad spin and it solely depends on which story you want to tell yourself to make yourself feel good, and feel confident in asking for what you want and need.
If you are feeling stressed, first know that's temporary and that it is okay to ask for help. If you cant find someone to rely on, then find a professional psychologist you can talk to that can help you sort out everything. Visit www.mentalhealth.gov for services.
I hope though this article helps you in finding your support tribe. It is important to have a group of people who will be there for you in any capacity, that are loving, non-judgmental, trusting and have your best interest at heart. Remember you are not alone and you got this even if you need support from time to time!