In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, the concept of wanting to support others has become more important than ever. Whether it’s a friend going through a rough patch or a colleague struggling with a work-related problem, lending a helping hand can make a significant difference in someone’s life. However, as important as it is to help others, it is equally vital to take care of our well-being and prevent it from becoming depleted.
Finding the balance between being there for someone while also preserving our own mental and emotional energy can be challenging. That said, there are effective ways to assist without sacrificing our well-being. By setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and offering support within our means, we can ensure that we are supporting others while maintaining our resilience.
This begs the question, how can we best support others without draining ourselves? In this article, we will explore the best ways to help others without draining ourselves, allowing us to provide support effectively and sustainably.
The Steps to Support Others and Not Draining Yourself
When it comes to wanting to support others without depleting yourself, there are several steps you can take to ensure a balanced approach. I’m personally still working on this, and some days are easier than others. If you relate to any of this, you are not alone.
First, it is important to ask for help when you need it. Second, don’t be afraid to ask someone how they are doing and if they need help. Another thing to try is taking a relaxing day for yourself.
Lastly, make them feel seen and heard. Now that we have an idea of what to try, let’s dive deeper into these ways and see what they are all about:
Ask for Help
It’s important to recognize that you are not a superhero, and it is okay to lean on others for support. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and self-awareness. In times of difficulty, seeking professional assistance can be crucial in finding solutions and gaining valuable insights.
It’s important to remember that while we may prioritize taking care of others, it is equally important to prioritize our well-being. Asking for help can help us address negative emotions and overcome challenges more effectively. It is essential to seek help in a non-judgmental environment, where we can freely express our concerns and receive support without fear of being criticized.
By reaching out to others, we are not only helping ourselves but also creating a community of compassion and support. Together, we can navigate through life’s challenges and find the strength to overcome them.
Ask Them How They are Doing
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our problems that we forget to reach out to others. Asking someone how they are doing is a simple yet powerful act that can make a significant difference in their lives. When we ask someone about their well-being, we are letting them know that we care and that we are available to support them.
This act alone can help them feel seen, heard, and valued. Supporting a friend means being there for them in times of need. Providing emotional support is important in these moments, as it helps them navigate through difficult emotions and challenges.
Being empathetic and genuinely listening to their concerns can provide them with a sense of validation and understanding. However, it is important to note that offering emotional support does not mean trying to solve their problems or fix everything for them. Sometimes, all they need is a compassionate ear and a shoulder to cry on or lean on.
By asking how they are doing, we extend an invitation for open communication and create a safe space for them to share their feelings. It feels great when someone reaches out to see how you are doing, doesn’t it?
Take a Self-Care Day
Make sure you are setting boundaries and not overextending yourself. Take breaks, practice self-care, and make time for activities or hobbies that bring you joy. Listen to your favorite music, meditate, watch your favorite movie or TV shows, and play your favorite video games.
If you want to include some physical activity, try yoga or going out for a walk. I wouldn’t recommend an extraneous workout where you are sore and tired afterward. Spending time talking with friends and loved ones can help as well.
Eating something healthy can be helpful to replenish your energy when feel drained. From personal experience and some research, I can say that you want to avoid foods that are loaded with sugar. You may get that initial energy boost, but you’ll feel groggy and tired not long after.
Support Others by Making Them Feel Seen and Heard
Active listening shows that you express empathy for their concerns and validate their emotions. You can make a positive impact on their lives while also safeguarding your well-being. You don’t want to become emotionally drained in the process.
While actively listening to someone’s concerns, validating their feelings, and offering empathy to help them, you also need to understand your limits. Recognize when listening starts taking a toll on your mental and emotional health, and don’t hesitate to reach out to support yourself. By prioritizing self-care and practicing active listening with self-compassion, you can provide genuine help to others.
Support Others by Setting Your Boundaries
Setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining your well-being and protecting yourself from compassion fatigue. It is important to define and communicate your boundaries to others so that they understand what is acceptable and what is not. You establish limits on how much you can give emotionally, mentally, and physically without feeling overwhelmed or drained of energy.
Boundaries act as a shield that prevents others from trespassing on your personal space and emotions. They help you prioritize your well-being and prevent burnout, ultimately allowing you to be more present and effective in helping others. Boundaries are not about being selfish, but rather about self-preservation and maintaining a healthy balance in your relationships and commitments.
By learning to set and maintain boundaries, you can give and help the people in your life without jeopardizing your well-being.
Pouring Your Cup of Liquid into Other Cups, what is that?
This idea is something I learned from a friend of mine a while back. The measuring cup represents you. The liquid inside represents your energy. As you do various things (work, cleaning, exercise, homework, cooking) you are using energy.
When you help someone, you’re pouring your liquid (your energy) into their cup. Without knowing your limits, you may unintentionally pour most of your liquid into helping someone. Now you have very little, or no energy left (you may have a little liquid left or none).
This can lead to burnout and fatigue. You may know the saying; you can’t help other people until you help yourself. Until you refill your cup (get your energy back), you may not be in a state of mind to help someone.
How Self-Balance Benefits You
Helping people is a noble and compassionate action, as it brings a sense of fulfillment and purpose to our lives. However, it is crucial to find a balance between lending a hand and preserving our energy. It is essential to recognize that getting drained while helping people is counterproductive in the long run.
It is admirable to offer support and assistance to those who are struggling, but again we must also prioritize taking care of ourselves and set healthy boundaries. Constantly giving all of our energy to others without taking the time to replenish ourselves can leave us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and unable to provide the necessary help.
As a result, we are more prone to negative thoughts and emotions. When self-balance is attained, you can enjoy your hobbies even more. You can provide your time to others with more quality.
Helping and supporting others is something we all should try to do and you can do that in various forms. Going back to the cup analogy, what my friend told me is that you not only let your cup get full but let the liquid flow out of yours and into other people’s cups. That way your cup stays full, you don’t get burned out, and you can still help other people.
There are many more things you can do to refill your cup. Only you truly know what will do that. Having a passion for something can be refilling. You may be doing something, and it can look like you are using energy, but that passion, to you, is not any kind of work; it’s something that recharges you and makes you happy.
Take care, stay safe, and remember you are not alone and you have worth in this world.