Supplementing Self-Care with Community Care

It takes a village to raise a child. If you are a parent, nanny, or family member, you have most likely heard this phrase before. This phrase originates from an African proverb and conveys the message that it takes many people to provide a safe, healthy environment for children, where children are given the security they need to develop and flourish. The importance of this concept recognizes the value in community care. Trying to take on everything life has to throw at you alone can lead to increased stress levels, physical health decline, and ultimately, burnout.

I am a childless, young adult in my mid-twenties, but have been nannying for the last seven years. I hear this phrase a lot within the community of families I have surrounded myself with and it got me thinking about my own community support. It takes a village to raise a child, not only to provide an environment to flourish but also teach the diversity of skills needed to thrive. I tapped into my village for support in an adult skill I am still practicing: conflict management.

Recently, I have encountered a new challenge for the first time as an adult. A billing error. A large billing error from my utility company. There is a first time for everything and confrontation is not a strength of mine. My emotions ranged from shock, sadness, confusion, embarrassment, and finally, frustration. I didn’t know what to do, who to call, or where to start; however, I knew I couldn’t do this alone. My first instinct was to use some tools from my self-care toolbox to reduce my increasing stress levels that typically lead into a negative thought spiral in situations like this.

I took some time to sit with my emotions and do some deep breathing. This helped calm my mind and stay in the present moment. After five (yes– five!) unhelpful calls with customer service representatives and supervisors, I leaned into support from my community. I gathered strength to talk with my neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers. Their support by listening to my problem and sharing their personal experiences gave me the confidence and care I needed to continue advocating for myself.

My conflict has not been resolved, but this circumstance has given me gratitude for the support from my community. It reminded me to prioritize community care in addition to my self-care routine. It is easy for my pride to get in the way of asking for help, but you never know what someone else is going through and opening an ear can be all the support someone needs in the moment, I know I did.

This week I am asking myself – how can I show up for someone in my community?