I want to begin by congratulating you on surviving 7 months of a global pandemic.
You don’t need me to tell you how frickin’ hard this has been. So many of you graciously shared your stories with me via the survey I put out last month so I KNOW we’re all feeling it and no one is alone in their anxiety and stress.
You’ve been riding the emotional waves that echo case counts and restrictions and range from “We’ve got this!” to “When will it ever end?!”
You’ve also been working from home (which sounded almost luxurious in the beginning) and soon realized that Zoom meetings should come with a warning label for the amount of emotional labour required.
Some of you have also been balancing kids and distance education and the “to go to school or not to go back to school” question that has to be at least as stressful as anything Hamlet ever went through.
You’ve navigated relationships that some days felt like an obstacle course or an Ironman or whatever that warrior run is that ends with running through water while being electrocuted (seriously though, who thought of that and how did it catch on as a fun voluntary thing to do?!).
Relationships have been strained because you’re spending 24/7 with the same person and suddenly your 2000 sq ft living space feels claustrophobic. Or because you haven’t connected in-person for 7 months and there’s something Zoom coffee dates just can’t quite replicate.
Every month we expect / hope / cross our fingers that things will get just a bit easier. We’ll finally find our footing. And some days that feels almost true. It’s also true that every month has brought new challenges, impossible decisions, new demands, new global plot twists and tragedies and on those days, it feels just as hard and uncertain and confusing and scary as it did in March.
Phew, we’ve certainly survived a lot but here’s the thing…
Grief is cumulative.
It’s like carrying around a backpack full of rocks. Maybe you started 2020 with a few rocks of unresolved grief at the bottom of your backpack. And that felt…manageable. But the losses we’ve experienced this year, both collectively and individually, have made your backpack anywhere from full to bursting.
And anxiety and stress-inducing.
But when it comes to asking for help with the weight of our grief and stress and anxiety…we hesitate because:
- We’ve been taught asking for help is a sign of weakness. (It’s not.)
- We’re aware that EVERYONE is struggling right now and we don’t want to be a burden.
- We feel like we don’t have a right to complain when others obviously have it much worse so we count our blessings, hitch our backpacks a little higher, and soldier on.
- We’re bombarded with examples of people who did it all on their own – so we should be able to do it on our own too, right? (wrong)
- Admitting you need help feels like admitting you failed. (That’s BS*, you haven’t failed)
- We don’t want to be perceived as needy. (#independentwoman)
We are EXPERTS at coming up with reasons why it’s not okay to ask for help.
And yet, we love to help others. We are so much more comfortable giving (which gives us the warm fuzzies) than receiving which can feel…awkward because it challenges our stories of worthiness.
For years, I believed asking for help was a sign of weakness. I thought that if I wanted to be seen as capable and independent I had to do it all on my own (another prime example of BS*). In my job at the time as an event planner that meant pulling CRAZY long hours. Especially on these huge global events that required all hands on deck. And I was 100% all in until my body demanded I tap out (thanks to a bout of strep throat). I felt horrible as I knew I couldn’t physically do it. I couldn’t pitch in when my team needed me the most. So, I had to accept that fact AND I had to ask for help. When I finally summoned the courage to speak to my boss – she was (to my surprise) absolutely okay with it and happily got me the help I needed.
Asking for help requires vulnerability. And right now when we’re already feeling exposed and vulnerable – it can seem unbearable to take off whatever armour is left holding us together and say, “I can’t do it all on my own.”
If I told you that asking for help was a sign of strength, would you believe me?
What if I told you that people who ask for help are perceived as more confident, resourceful and approachable? Yep, it’s been proven.
Listen, asking for help isn’t a passive act. It doesn’t mean you’re handing over all the responsibility and control of the situation. You still have to contribute. You still have to do the work. It just means you don’t have to do it alone anymore.
And asking for help allows the other person to share their gifts with you! To feel valued and useful and get those warm fuzzies that come with giving.
If you’re like me and you struggle with asking for help – start small. Ask for help finding an item at the grocery store. Ask a friend who works in HR to look over your resume for you. And slowly work your way up to a bigger ask.
Let me lovingly remind you:
You’re stronger than you realize.
You’re more capable and resourceful than you know.
You were built for resilience.
Most of us haven’t been taught how to deal with discomfort and uncertainty. But with a little courage and the right tools, I promise you can learn how to live in a way that’s not so hard to carry – and definitely not so scary.
If you’re aching to ditch your pandemic-related anxiety so you can experience more connection and meaning and you’re ready to get the help you deserve, I’ve got some invitations for you.
1 – Sign up here to be the first to learn about the Find Your Calm in the Chaos course. I’ll be looking for some people to beta-test it at a discounted cost from this list first, so be sure to sign up if you’d like to stay in the loop!
2 – If you’d like to tune into the wisdom of our emotions so you can move through stress, loss, loneliness and anxiety both now and in the future (whatever it holds), I’d invite you to sign up here for a Discovery Session so we can talk more in a private 1:1 session with me.
*BS stands for both Belief System and Bullshit, you decide which is true for you. 😉