As busy women, we often grow an unsustainable task list, influenced by pretty Pinterest posts and people who don’t seem to notice that we’re already swamped. Because our instinct is to boss up, we end up feeling physically, mentally and emotionally depleted. We simply forget that help is ready and available and all we have to do is ask.
Did you know that asking for help is an act of self-care?
If you didn’t know, don’t feel bad. It took me 28 years to figure out what self-care really meant, and another five years to comfortably ask others for help. Like many brown women, my definition of each concept was skewed from the start. My strong matriarchs deemed it shameful to share their emotions with anyone outside of their closest family members. I also noticed legions of Indo-Caribbean ladies using the recently passed New Year’s Eve as an excuse to “doll up” for parties, looking put-together on the outside while falling apart on the inside.
As for self-care, that concept was non-existent in my family. I’d watch my folks spend all of Christmas Eve making chicken curry, dahl, roti, chow mein, and pine tart from scratch without questioning if there was an easier way or taking time to rest. Not to mention, every immigrant I knew paired with every iconic Bollywood mom I loved demonstrated that serving others came first and acknowledging my needs came last. Years of defying these norms and life coaching support helped me see that self-care and asking for help go together like holiday parties and ugly sweaters.
How can you ask for help?
You might assume that you’re interrupting or bothering your partner, sibling, friend, aunty, cousin, kid, neighbor, or work wife by reaching out for assistance, but if you have so much to do and so little time to get it all done, what’s your alternative? You guessed it—getting it done at the expense of your mind, body, and spirit feeling wretched and worn-out. Therefore, whether it’s set-up/clean-up duty for your next extravaganza or the grocery and decor shopping for the bash that you’re hosting, make a list of five or more people you know well and ask:
Would you be willing to help me with [fill in your task]?
While it might seem tough or awkward to make these asks, the more you do it, the easier it’ll be. Just be sure to get super clear on what you’re asking for. If you’re a stickler for the details on a certain job, then keep that on your plate. Also, assess whether your buddy has the bandwidth to realistically meet your request. If he/she/they do not, simply thank them for their honesty and move onto the next person on your list.
How do you deal with the guilt that comes with asking for help?
Easy. Say to it, “GO AWAY.” Guilt takes on a voice laden with a heavy accent and stern tone that might sound like your mother, grandmother, teacher, and the list goes on — by telling your guilt to hit the road whenever it pops up, you’ll open yourself to trusting the pals who have your back.
How can you provide accountability?
Since you must make sure things get done, hold your helpers accountable by asking:
Would you kindly get [fill in your task] completed by [fill in your chosen date and time]?
This inquiry not only helps you establish a target, but it invites your helper to request another deadline in case your demand is not doable.
Prioritizing your self-care can be the most wonderful gift you give to yourself during any time of the year. So, say goodbye to havoc and say hello to happiness!