June/July 2021

Who looks after you?

Are you one of those people who everyone turns to in a crisis?

You’re calm, confident, together and never seem to flap under pressure. People trust that when they turn to you for answers, you’ll be there for them, ready to help, able to find solutions to problems, all the while providing reassurance and comfort.

But what about you? Who looks after you on your tough days and gives you the comfort and support you sometimes need?

Would people be incredulous to discover that you sometimes have down days? Perhaps you come across as someone who never needs anything, as a person who doesn’t have ‘off’ days. Do you always remain calm under pressure, stay even-tempered when things go wrong or don’t go to plan, able to quietly assess what needs to happen next?

There are no histrionics, just a measured assessment of what’s going on and what needs to happen to put things right again. So, people understandably assume that you’re fine, relaxed and coping well.

Might it be that you’re a very private person and prefer for people not to see a vulnerable side to your personality, fearing that you could appear weak or unable to cope? In reality, many people are fine, even happy to see an occasional vulnerability in someone they respect. It humanises them and gives others an opportunity to reciprocate and be helpful in return.

Ask yourself if you present an, ‘I’m tough, I’m coping, leave me alone’, almost aggressive front at times of crisis. If you become angry, hostile or belligerent when things go wrong, pushing potential help away, others may quickly learn to leave you to sort things out alone. It’s important to be gracious and respectful when people offer help. Be polite and acknowledge their efforts with a ‘thank you’, even if you choose to decline.

Remember, though, that doing everything yourself is not always the most efficient way to function. There are bound to be areas where you could delegate tasks that others are better equipped to do, so enabling your time to be used more effectively. Also, letting others share the load helps them feel valued, develop their confidence and skills whilst potentially allowing you to focus elsewhere and maybe even have time off for fun and recharging your batteries.

In a business or work scenario there maybe, under normal circumstances, support which provides help and advice wherever needed; HR, occupational health, staff appraisals as well as any staff benefits may usually be available to employees. But during the pandemic, if working from home or operating as a small or sole trader, many of those familiar points of contact are for the most part inaccessible or even unavailable. Working alone means dealing with whatever crops up as best you can.

There are many ways that you could let others look after you. Scheduling regular zoom calls can be an important way of keeping in touch, to discuss problem areas and still feel connected to friends, colleagues and advisers.

As a sole trader, delegating mundane tasks frees your time to be used more productively, as does letting others with greater expertise take care of the more specialised tasks like accounts, web design, PR and advertising. Doing this maximises opportunities for the best outcomes. Even hiring domestic help with cleaning, gardening, ironing is often money well spent, ensuring that your home is well looked after, feels good and leaves you with time and space to comfortably relax.

Learn to let others know that you appreciate their looking after you. Acknowledge the kindnesses; the bath run for you after a tough day at work, the drink made for you without being asked, the meal ready for you, the car washed or filled with petrol. Your being appreciative encourages others to look after you. It shows that you value their thoughtfulness and attention. Changing your approach may take a little time to filter through, but it’s worth it and can gradually introduce a more balanced dynamic to the relationship.

But, ultimately looking after you has to start with you. Many of us learn in childhood to expect others to automatically take care of us, look after our health, education, give us guidance and provide structure to our lives.

As we get older, we need to recognise the importance of monitoring our own wellbeing, take responsibility for our exercise, nutrition, hydration levels, and healthy sleep patterns. Our mental and emotional wellbeing is also important, where we learn to regularly schedule breaks, manage stress and support our commitment to positive relationships. When you demonstrate that you’re worth caring for and expect to be treated well, people will respond to your level of confidence. Being appropriately assertive, positive about yourself and your efforts, okay about saying ‘no’ sometimes, others will be influenced by your lead. You’ll find that they’ll then automatically invest more in the relationship and be happy to look after you, as they appreciate you more and more.

Susan Leigh

Susan Leigh MNCH (ACC)

Altrincham, Cheshire and South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer and media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support. She’s author of 3 books, all on Amazon and with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more articles and information, please call 0161 928 7880 or visit www.lifestyletherapy.net