Home Top Global NewsHealthcare 5 steps for super-helpers to engage in self-care

5 steps for super-helpers to engage in self-care

by Ozva Admin
Don’t burn yourself out helping everyone who asks (Image: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Do you find yourself helping everyone, even when you’re exhausted?

Have you ever resented your friends for not putting in the same effort as you?

And do you feel guilty about No helping people?

If you’re nodding, it sounds like you might have super helper syndrome; a term coined by psychologists Jess Baker and Rod Vincent to describe people who have a compulsion to help others without being able to meet their own needs.

By the very nature of the syndrome, being a super helper means you’re great at taking care of other people, but not so brilliant at self-care.

“Self-grooming is everywhere,” Jess and Rod tell Metro.co.uk. ‘There is an avalanche of articles and books promoting it today.

“And that’s important, but if you’re vulnerable to super helper syndrome, you’re not going to do much of that.

There is no point in reminding you of the benefits of self-compassion, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, exercise, a healthy diet, etc. These are all delicious acts of self-care. But if you spend all your time helping others and denying your own needs, it all falls into the ears.’

And that they can What do super helpers do to take care of themselves a little better? Jess and Rod have some important advice.

Explore your motivations to help

“If you have a tendency to help others without taking care of yourself, the first thing you need to do is understand why that is,” says the duo. ‘In the book, we explore four beliefs that often underlie Super Helper Syndrome and drive compulsive helping:

  • The belief of the good person: Are you helping others to show that you are a good person?
  • The belief of helping everyone: Do you have a compulsion to help everyone you meet?
  • The belief that they couldn’t survive without me: Do you feel that you have no choice, that you are indispensable and that the people you care for could not manage without you?
  • The belief that there are no needs: If you’re being truly honest, would you have to admit that you hold the belief that “I shouldn’t have any need”?

‘The deconstruction of these beliefs is essential to put aside the compulsive help.

“Deconstructing them allows you to make more conscious decisions to balance caring for others with caring for yourself.”

Don’t take the guilt of the helper

‘In our interviews with the assistants, the G word came up over and over,’ say Jess and Rod. ‘When you are helping others, remember that it is it’s ok to say no sometimes.

‘You don’t have to feel guilty when you don’t help. You don’t have to feel guilty when you worry about yourself.

Don’t punish yourself for having to take care of your own needs (Image: Getty Images/Metro.co.uk)

Recognize the adverse impacts of Super Helper Syndrome

Because we’re told that helping people is a good quality (and it is!), it can be hard to recognize the harm of overdoing it.

Take a moment to notice the impact of helping others and not yourself, and remind yourself of this the next time you feel like you have to say ‘yes’.

Rod and Jess explain: ‘It’s important to spot the signs early so you can take action before you reach a state of collapse. The four most common adverse impacts are:

  • Exhaustion: Many helpers run out of energy and take it for granted. Are you tired all the time? Don’t you have time for yourself? Is your sleep disturbed? Do you suffer from muscle tension or headaches? Do you feel cranky, irritable, or just overwhelmed?
  • Resentment: Are you stretched out like a rubber band that will eventually snap? It’s easy to say you don’t want anything in return for helping, but the reality is that it’s hard to keep going indefinitely if you get a small reward. Do you find yourself reflecting on how much you do for others?
  • Exploitation: If you never express a need, then it’s easy (and convenient, too) for other people to act like you don’t, to take advantage of your help. Take a good look if some of the people you are helping are exploiting you. Do they really need help? Do they need your help?
  • self-criticism: It is ironic that those who are good at taking care of others are often less kind to themselves. Do you criticize yourself for not helping enough? Do you criticize yourself for experiencing the other three adverse impacts (feeling burned out, feeling resentful, or being taken advantage of)?

Choose when, who and how to help

Try to be more conscious when making the decision of when to help.

Instead of automatically lending a hand to colleagues, family, friends, strangers, remember that your time and energy are not an unlimited resource and that you can decide how much you can help and when.

Use the Zen Zorb

“If you don’t know, zorbing is rolling down a hill inside a clear plastic bubble,” Jess and Rod say. We’ve both tried it and it’s a strange but fun experience.

‘The Zen Zorb is a way to visualize your limits. This is how we describe it in the book:

‘Imagine yourself safe and comfortable inside your zorb. You can still interact with the world normally, but it slows down your reactions. It gives you the opportunity to observe others from within your zorb as they throw their emotions at you like wet tissues. It prevents you from immediately taking on other people’s drama or instinctively giving in to your urge to help.

‘You can use the Zorb of Zen to protect yourself from toxic situations that others want to drag you into. It gives you time to choose how to respond. You don’t have to absorb their emotions. You see them slide down the outside of your zorb like wet tissues.

The couple add: ‘The five suggestions above are ways to raise awareness of your helping tendencies.

‘By taking a good look at yourself as a helper, you can prevent yourself from overexerting yourself.

‘You can give yourself permission to take the personal care you know you need.

“By being a healthier helper, you will ultimately have more to give to others because you will come from a stronger place.”

Jess Baker and Rod Vincent are licensed psychologists and authors of The Super Helper Syndrome: A Survival Guide for Compassionate People on sale now in hardback (£18.99) and e-book, published by Flint Books.

Have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

PLUS : Can living according to Stoic values ​​contribute to a happier life?

PLUS : The Great Happiness Interview: Vanessa King on Building a Happiness Toolkit

PLUS : What are ‘automatic negative thoughts’ and how can we deal with them?

You may also like

Leave a Comment