Self care isn’t something only done in isolation. Alone time is nice, and can be healing, but many parts of our self-care requires a support system. Your support system might include any number and variety of people, and it will likely change over time. This is an excellent reason to evaluate your support system regularly by asking yourself these three questions.
Who do you have?
Make a list of everyone in your life who you can depend on for help in some capacity. This list may contain:
- family members
- acquaintances from clubs
- church members
- health care providers
- or even online support you have found
Include anyone you know you can call on when you need something.
Who are you missing?
Is there someone missing from your list? Maybe you would like to call them, but you aren’t sure they are willing to help? Just ask them. Yeah, it’s possibly going to be awkward, but then you will know if you can depend on them or not. This is much better to know ahead of time instead of being let down or even avoiding getting the help you need in a crisis.
Maybe there is a type of help you need, but just don’t have the right person to call. For example, someone to help with housework or decluttering, someone to grocery shop with you, someone to enjoy your hobby with, someone who can hold your hand at medical appointments, or even just drive you there and back.
Once you make a list of openings you have, you are ready for the next question.
How do I find them?
Simple answer, but not an easy process. Depending on who you are looking for, there are many ways to go about finding the friends or help you need.
Support of any kind can be found in support groups both in real life and online. Meetup.com is a great way to find an existing group or start one of your own. The library or local health department might have a bulletin board with adverts for local groups too. You can also check with your doctor’s office or counselor and see if they know of any.
My library holds meetings for different hobby groups, so that may be a good source to check. Community centers, local colleges, Craigslist, Facebook, and a Google search may all be good ways to find local hobby groups.
Finally, ask around! Co-workers, friends, etc may have suggestions for you.
After all of this, hopefully you have a decent list of people as your support system. Keep this list in either a visible spot or someplace where you know where to find it. Now the important thing is to remember to use it! It is ok to ask for help, even though it can feel wrong at the time. Once you get used to asking it feels more natural, and you can just appreciate what a well-developed support system can do for you.