Welcome back! In this 12-part series, we’re designing a self-care plan that puts you back on the list.
In her book Backbone Power: The Science of Saying No, Anne Brown points out that “no one is a mind reader, and if we believe that people should know what we need, we will suffer endless disappointment and, ultimately resentment.”
She says that requests “provide the people in our life with road maps as to how we want to be treated.”
Requests are an essential self-care tool because our days are intertwined with other people’s. The choices we make impact them, and vice versa. For example, you plan a coffee date with a friend, but the night before you have trouble sleeping. You feel like you need to rest at home instead of driving to a busy coffee shop, so you make a request to reschedule the date.
You can make other types of request for self-care as well, like asking your spouse or an older child to babysit while you go for a walk, or arranging a ride to and from a health appointment. Or maybe you need help shopping for or preparing healthy meals for yourself, or choosing a restaurant where you’ll be able to find the food you need.
You can also take care of yourself in your relationships. For instance, by asking someone to change the subject if you feel uncomfortable or upset during a conversation in order to give you time to process the topic.
People will not always comply with what we ask. They may even seem put out or annoyed. “Remember, we can only make the request,” Brown states, “We cannot control its outcome.” Yet ultimately “people respect other people who respect themselves.” We have the opportunity to model this self-care strategy and empower others to use it as well.
What is a self-care request you need to be making right now? How can someone in your life help you take better care of yourself?