Tips For Asking For Help When You’re Sick


After 25+ years of doing everything by herself, she had no idea how to do things any differently. And now she’s sick. She knows that if she could just ask for some help she could get twice as much done. Double efficiency sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

She started thinking about which areas of her life she could use the most help in and then started making requests. After all, that’s what therapy and feel-good social media accounts encourage, right? “Make direct asks of your partner, and you won’t regret it!”

She started by asking for help from her husband, and a week later realized that the task hadn’t been done. So she asked again, politely and patiently.

Now (maybe) the task gets done, but it’s not done “right.”

Despair sets in. The heavy feeling that if she wants anything done, she has to do it all by herself.

Between work and kids and starting a side business, overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe what’s happening inside.

Sound familiar?

Do you ever wish you had more help, but feel like it’s useless to ask?

When you live with a chronic illness or chronic pain, asking for help is critical. I mean, it’s life-altering, and that’s not a dramatization. Totally changes everything.

The single best thing I ever did to help myself out was learning how to let go of control, in order to get the help that I so desperately needed.

two women at a campfire asking for help as one of them is sick

Letting go of control

...actually gives you more freedom. Sounds ridiculous, right? But hear me out.

I started learning about freedom from control in my undergraduate psych classes. At first, it seemed like a far-off concept. Intangible. Aloof.

Control is what got me to where I was at the time. Moving out of my house at 17, moving 1,000 miles away from CT at 18, and starting school at a college that none of my high school teachers had heard of and begged me not to go to. That school ended up shaping and molding me in more ways than anyone could’ve imagined.

So to learn that control was actually strangling me was quite a stretch. How could control not be good, when it had helped me get so far?

But control wasn’t propelling me… it was actually holding me back.

I learned that letting go of pre-conceived expectations of others was actually the way to be more in control of my life. The wind doesn’t stop blowing just because you’re cold, and people don’t stop disappointing you just because it hurts.

But you can’t be disappointed if you don’t have expectations.

Don’t think that this post is about letting others do whatever they want while you just sit there and watch. This is an opportunity for real, meaningful conversations and change in your life.

Tips for asking for help when you’re sick  - man and woman in a field embracing one another

Become curious

This has been the cornerstone of every positive change I’ve ever made. My world drastically changed when I started asking, “what do I have to gain?” rather than, “what am I going to lose?”

By asking your partner to help you clean the house, cook your dinner, give the kids a bath, etc. you might very well lose perfectionism. He’s not going to do it the same way you would, and you’re going to feel like he did it wrong. This is what you’ve “lost.”

But what have you gained? What did you do during the time it took him to make your meal? Rest? Take a bath? Get a work assignment done? Spend time with your kids? I ask again: what did you gain?

You gained something. You just need to acknowledge it.

You might need to clean up after the task you delegated, but that’s all… just a quick clean up. The first part of the project was done for you, and now you can spend ¼ of the time (or less!) finishing it up your way.

Everyone wins here… you get what you need, your partner doesn’t resent you for nagging, and you’ve squashed an argument before it even happened.

two ladies supporting each other

RECAP: Tips for asking for help when you’re sick

I know that asking for help when we’re sick is hard to for us Americans. We’re individualists, and we take pride in the things we can do by ourselves. But if you sit and think about it, what’s really admirable about getting less done just because you did it alone?

Ask for help. Watch your productivity skyrocket, your accomplishments increase (in quality and frequency!), and your relationships heal.

  1. Be curious about new outcomes rather than a stickler for your originally desired outcomes.

  2. Look for new opportunities to praise your friends’ and family members’ actions rather than criticize where you think they fell short.

  3. Use your newfound free time to get something else crossed off your list, which just might be “rest,” and is perfectly commendable.

So now I’m curious. What is the single hardest thing for you to let go of, but you know would benefit you in a huge way? Comment below, follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to my email list below. I send out newsletters or blogs each month all about personal development and chronic illness.

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Changing tides, one wave at a time, together.

Destiny WintersComment