When I reflect back on this past pandemic-filled year, I am pleased to see that despite the many challenges, I have managed to make some really great progress in several areas of my life. I have managed to create a routine that includes working out more consistently, drinking more water, and regularly meditating and journaling. These were all things I had been wanting to do for years but could never seem to find the time/energy/motivation for. And when I think about what contributed to these successes, I realize that a lot had to do with the support I received from others.
When I was younger I used to think that being independent was a goal to strive towards; that there would come a time when I would know everything and be totally self-sufficient and wouldn’t need to rely on others for help. Now that I am working, I see that those thoughts couldn’t have been more wrong. I ask for help ALL THE TIME. I ask my colleagues, my manager, my family, my friends, and my spouse.
At the end of 2019, I joined a Mastermind group with 3 other ladies. We meet 1-2 times per week and share our wins and lessons, we set goals, and we hold each other accountable. I am amazed at the level of support this group provides and honestly think it has been a key factor in maintaining my mental and physical health during this pandemic.
According to Portis (2020), “Research has shown that having a strong support system has many positive benefits, such as higher levels of well-being, better coping skills, and a longer and healthier life. Studies have also shown that social support can reduce depression and anxiety.”
We need support now more than ever as we continue to navigate through these challenging times. Having a support system can make a huge difference. We truly need each other in order to survive and thrive. If you think you could benefit from some support, here are some options to consider:
- There’s an app for that! It seems that there are countless apps for pretty much anything these days. If you are interested in tracking your habits or your progress, try downloading an app to do it for you. Habit tracking apps can work well because seeing that you have completed a task or have kept a streak going can activate the reward centres in your brain, making it much more likely that you will want to repeat the behaviour again in the future. Some of my fave habit tracking apps are Habitica, Habitify, Strides, and Coach.me.
- Your partner, a close friend, or a family member. Having an accountability partner — I call it an “accountabil-a-buddy” — can sometimes be the missing link between knowing what you want to accomplish and then taking action to actually get things done. When you rely on your own willpower, you may often fall short because it so easy to talk yourself out of doing things, especially if your brain deems something as undesirable. But knowing that someone is holding you accountable can make a HUGE difference and can often be the small change that leads to big results. A great example is setting a goal to go for a walk every morning and then sending a video to your friend as proof that you actually went!
- A mastermind group or an online community. Being part of a group with like-minded individuals can inspire and motivate you. Sharing your struggles with your group can help you to gain valuable insight and the support you need to push through challenging obstacles. The structure of these groups can also lead to positive results as the frequently scheduled check-in sessions can allow you to measure and monitor your progress.
- A mentor or a coach. Learning from someone who has already done what you would like to do can be a game-changer. Often tasks can seem daunting because we tend to focus on the overall result and can have a hard time determining where to begin. A mentor or a coach can help you to break down your goals into smaller, actionable tasks which can make it much easier for you to take the steps needed to reach the outcome you desire.
- A professional. Working with a therapist can be extremely beneficial, especially if you feel that you are experiencing emotional or mental health concerns. A therapist can help you with many things, including how to better understand why you are struggling, and strategies to cope with life’s many challenges.
As a Learning Strategist, I often tell this to the students I work with: at the end of the day, your report card or transcript won’t say how many times you got help; they are only going to say your grades… so, don’t hesitate to seek the support you need to be successful. I feel that this same principle can be applied to anyone, regardless of their stage in life. There is no “life report card.” No one is keeping track of how many times you ask for help. Often there are many people who actually want to help you, so find your go-to people, seek out new resources, and believe that others genuinely want to see you shine. From this point forward, try to be open to seeking and receiving the help that you need, whenever you may need it on your journey to becoming the best version of you.