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Do you need to feel sexy in order to help?

I just took stock of my underwear drawer.

It needs help.

Having not dated for a few years, I had let plain colors and dullness in invade my draw.

When I dated in the past (and when I was married), I loved having colorful and playful undergarments.

They made me feel sexy.

But do I need them to feel sexy? The answer is no; I do not.

Sexy is about mindset.

And so is being in the mood to help.

An employee at a company I was supporting confessed, “I have a sick husband, and my boss just added a new project to my list. I feel overwhelmed. I don’t see how I can add helping ___ to my schedule.”

My response? Make time.

Your life is hectic. I’m betting it can feel like you’re on Overwhelm mountain. How are you supposed to help a coworker or friend who has cancer when your to-do list feels like a path to Panic City?

Good news!

Supporting a friend with cancer is just like feeling sexy. It’s all about mindset.

First, let’s talk about the benefit of helping someone with cancer, and then let’s talk about steps you can take to get out of overwhelm and into help.

Yes, it is the nice thing to do, but it’s good for you too! If you need a mood boost, helping another is a great way to go. According to numerous studies on happiness and helping others, there are many benefits the giver receives when they support another.

  1. It creates a sense of belonging within you.

  2. It reduces the feeling of isolation (which is at an all-time high in the US right now.)

  3. It keeps things in perspective.

  4. It’ll boost your self-esteem.

  5. It gives you a sense of renewal and provides you with the energy to do the hard stuff.

It’s ok to come to support a coworker because it’s good for you. How you motivate yourself into action doesn’t matter. What does is that you move into action.

But if a list of benefits were all we needed, we’d all be happier, more prosperous, and healthier. Sometimes you need to work past your limits. And if you’re in a crappy place, it will take effort.

Here are three pointers to help you change your mindset from overwhelmed to “I matter.”

Warning: This requires that you not be attached to the overwhelm. It requires you to take contrary action, which feels opposite of what you tend to do.

  1. Put Your Feelings on Paper

In 2018 The Cambridge University Press posted interesting research about the power of writing about negative experiences. In a nutshell, spend 15 - 20 minutes a day writing about your feelings and it will increase physical and psychological outcomes.

To quote the great Shrek from Shrek, The Movie, “Better out than in, I always say.”

  1. Take a Small Action

Many people are under the illusion that supporting a person requires grand gestures that take months of commitment. Not true! Here is what one caregiver told me. “I loved it when people did small things for us,” said Marie, whose husband had cancer. “The small things combined together made us feel cared about.” She then added, “The small gestures made it easier for me to accept help too. A neighbor offered to do lawn care the entire time my husband was sick. My husband turned him down, confiding in me that he didn’t want to feel the burden of burdening others.”

It turned out this neighbor did care for their lawn, but he offered to do it when and if he had time after he did his! He turned a big gesture into a more palatable one.

  1. Do What You Can Do

A lot of what drives people to feel as if they need to help for months at a time is the fear of the guilt they will fear if they only do a small thing. Guilt is a powerful driver, sometimes good and sometimes bad. How about you remember that you are enough and that showing up is what is important, not how many times you do it!

If you are serious about feeling good (and sexy), then you have to take action that is different than the way you think cause you can’t solve your current problems with the same thinking that got you there in the first place.

Your coworker is worth the mind shift.

You are worth the mind shift, too!

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