There is a lot of pressure on everyone right now. Not only must we try our hardest to look after ourselves, but we are also supporting others who are having a similarly hard time in isolation.
Difficulties are being thrown at us all and our responses are demonstrating a great deal of kindness and love. I am very grateful to be a member of such a caring and inspiring community. It is always good to be kind.
However, sometimes it’s worth pausing to question whether you are being kind to yourself. Maybe you feel fine chatting to your friends and family about their inevitably low moods, but sometimes you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of supporting someone else when you are ultimately struggling to support yourself.
There is no shame in admitting you can’t take on everything. There is no shame in saying, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like I’m in a place where I can help you right now.”
Suggest talking to a friend or family member they live with instead. If their situation is particularly distressing, go ahead and provide support hotline numbers your friend can turn to (and don’t be afraid to use them yourself).
I understand the anxiousness that comes with turning off your phone and fretting that your friends may need something while you’re gone. Trust me, they will be fine.
Our society seems to be constantly consumed by social media, but there is absolutely no obligation to be available online 24/7. Nobody will judge you for taking a few days – or even just a few hours – away from it all to focus on your own needs. You deserve it.
Get yourself out of bed for the first time in days. Make yourself a meal (even boiling a pack of instant noodles counts as an achievement – congrats!).
Watch something that makes you laugh, and don’t pause when you hear your phone vibrating on the seat next to you. Let yourself forget the rest of the world and embrace your own company without any gripping guilt.
Support your friends, but always remember that letting it affect your own health is wrong. It is important to find a positive balance between caring for others while caring for yourself. You are not selfish for realising that you are important, too.
See below for useful helplines. Take care.
Childline: 0800 1111
Samaritans: 116 123
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Mind: 0300 123 3393
Age UK: 0800 169 6565
Featured image credit: medium.com
Thank you for a well written & greatly received piece.
As a person with health issues who also is a perpetual ‘fixer’ & people pleaser, I found this to be much needed to hear and was very well timed.
When I feel pangs of ‘guilt’ for saying ‘I can’t today’ or turning my phone off for half days I remind myself that unless I help & soothe myself I can’t be of help to others.
This determination helps me to help myself and take care of number one, as we all have a responsibility to do.