Self-care is a hot topic in recent years – and it means something a little different to everyone. At AHCS, we wholeheartedly believe that a big part of self-care depends on building a solid support system that you can rely on – and we believe that our role as a healthcare staffing agency gives us a unique perspective on seeking as well as providing support.
Your valued and carefully cultivated support network can and should be called on when your mental health is suffering and/or you’re starting to experience symptoms of burnout. Today, we’re going to talk about the process of growing your support system, as well as how to access support resources in a way that is safe and useful for your specific needs.
Building Your Circle
To start, you’ll want to be selective about who you include in your support network. Mental health is a sensitive topic and a deeply personal experience, so we need to be sure that whomever we confide in can provide safe support that is helpful to our individual needs and struggles. There is no selfishness in being choosy about who you invite into your inner circle, and the point of this is to avoid creating more work for yourself when the time comes that you must ask for support. For example, instead of a family member, you may feel more comfortable calling on a trusted close friend if they can offer more knowledge or understanding of your particular struggles. In some cases, family members may not be educated on subjects like mental or chronic illness, disability, neurodivergence, etc., and as a result, their form of support could create more mental, emotional and physical labour for you.
Get to know yourself and your needs: Start by making a list of qualities that are important to you when reaching out to those in your support network. Some find comfort in solutions-based support, and others benefit most from having someone simply listen and provide validation. At the end of the day, if you find that your needs are better met by close friends than family members, that’s ok – do what works for YOU.
If Possible, Seek Professional Support
Things like professional support and counselling are among your strongest allies, and provide specialized insight, resources and encouragement that even your closest confidants cannot. If you can’t afford ongoing counselling, just a few sessions with a professional therapist can add valuable and impactful tools to your self-care belt.
Don’t Keep Running on an Empty Tank
Perhaps one of the most important components of self-care and support is knowing when to ask for it. If you are someone who forces yourself to go it alone at the expense of your mental and physical health, you’re only going to create more problems for yourself later on. Eventually, your pain will catch up to you – and you’ll have to address it whether you want to or not. Don’t wait for your pain to manifest in other ways like physical health problems, burnout, or even substance abuse. This is not a burden you should have to carry alone, and evidence shows that those who are called on for support experience improved mental health as a result. Sharing our struggles fights loneliness and forges deeper connections, as well as promotes openness, acceptance and encouragement – it also helps us to build resilience.
From all of us at Advanced Home Care Solutions, we hope this blog has allowed you to feel more confident about building and asking for support – at the end of the day, it is something that we all need from time to time.