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On Asking for Help from Community

We Can’t Hold it All

Last Thursday, I started to realize that the upcoming week was looking FULL, for which I am grateful and honored. It’s full of things and people and work that I truly love and value. 

And, the layers of grief, the heaviness of moments and people lost, the hard conversations that are unresolved and raw, the loneliness of this time… it’s all weighing on me. 

I don’t need to share my laundry list of things on my grief list for you to understand that THIS IS A HARD TIME. I know you know. I know you feel it too.

As I thought about the week ahead, I realized that my capacity would not match the energy required to manage all of it (work + personal life + home life). In other words, the fullness passed the threshold into a place of overwhelm because my capacity and tolerance is low right now. Again, I am guessing this experience may be familiar to you, too.

  • How is your heart today? Your body? Your mind?
  • What are you showing up to this moment with?
  • What are you carrying with you in your day/week?

What Needs Tending To?

In the process of recognizing my feelings and capacity, I also reflected on the things I’ve incidentally been letting go of, the things I need help and support with.

The first is food. I’ve been eating, but it’s been quick fixes, snacks that are easy to throw together in 5 minutes, and things I can eat while working. Overall, my food choices as of late have not the most nourishing and satisfying.

When I use the word nourishing here, I don’t mean “healthy,” I mean robust, delicious, abundant, and enjoyable foods and meals. This also doesn’t mean fancy or expensive. Sometimes, these quick meals ARE satisfying, but right now, I can tell that my body needs more warmth and love in the form of cooked and diverse foods.

The second thing I tend to throw out when I’m “busy” is movement. I will tackle my to-do list head-on, before checking in with my body. It’s been weeks (months?!) since I’ve had a solo dance party, my newish roller skates are not getting use, and I haven’t visited my favorite park in some time.

I am not obligated to move my body, and I am not a bad person or unworthy person for not moving my body. That said, I know that movement is a practice that helps me shift energy and celebrate being in and with my body. My body craves and needs joyful movement, and when I’m overwhelmed, I sometimes override these needs.

Thirdly, I have been putting my personal projects on the back burner. There are things I want to do, things my spirit needs to do. But when I wear myself out with other work, and when I’m not tending to my body through food and movement, I don’t have the energy for these projects.

  • What are the rituals, routines, practices, and/or outlets that you tend to let go of when things get overwhelming?
  • What needs tended to? (Naming it doesn’t need to mean shaming it.)
  • What needs are currently met and unmet?

How Can I Ask for Help?

In order to navigate this week, I knew I was going to need some new and different help than last week or weeks prior. So, I connected with my communities to find a plan for care and support.

First, I reached out to a friend who does personal chef work. When she didn’t reply, I decided to post on my FB and IG, asking who I could pay to cook some meals for me this week. Turns out fellow birth workers are here for collective and community care. Literally, several birth worker friends and a pal who is a therapist offered to cook for me.

The ways my friends showed up for me was a different kind of overwhelming. I was touched, amazed, surprised, and relieved. Then, it was time for me to practice receiving, which honestly was a bit uncomdortable at first. I was expecting to pay someone to cook for me, and, instead, my friends were offering to gift me care in the form of food.

My job was to trust that these friends offered because they wanted to and because they could and to receive their love with gratitude. There were some thoughts like: “Well, if they have time to cook, then I should too.” But this is some capitalist and ableist bullshit, tbh. I needed help, I communicated that, and my community showed up.

Because I have a fridge full of delicious, ready-to-eat food going into this week, I feel a sense of safety and stability. I can sense that my capacity has grown.

In regards to projects, I reached out to my business pals at Business for the People, and 5 other folks and I started up an accountability space for the projects we want to tend to. I have a community of folks who create “the comforting background hum of being with each other” through weekly check-ins and a simple group text thread. Just knowing I am not alone, gives me so much strength.

Today, I took a walk because it’s what sounded good. And I learned about living room roller skate classes.

So, things are still heavy, things are still full, AND I feel a sense of being held and being IN community. I asked for help and practiced receiving. I connected with community and found others who could meet me where I am. 

  • What does your support system look like right now? 
  • How do you feel about asking for help?
  • Who can you reach out to for help? 
  • What does asking for help look like to you?

One Day at A Time

Each day, each week is going to be different. My capacity, too, will be different. And the same goes for you. I think our job is to stay awake and responsive to our needs and to the needs of our community. Give when we can, receive when we need, often doing both in different ways. Sometimes, self-care is community care and vice versa.

*Photo Credit: Rémi Walle on Unsplash

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