2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

The Fine Art of Asking for Help

Click here for the original post.

Your dinner guests are arriving in an hour and things are nowhere near ready. The table hasn’t been set, the guacamole not started, the wine unopened. And the dog hair on the couch?

But instead of signaling for back-up help from your family, you do it all yourself. Within moments, you feel your face muscles tense into that mean little frown you’ve seen in the mirror. And you’re completely frazzled by the time the doorbell rings.

You also feel a surge of resentment toward your family or partner–how dare he/she/they take time singing in the shower while you’re downstairs slaving away?

Let’s face it. Most of us have times when it’s difficult asking for help. Sometimes we expect the other person–whether it’s a family member, significant other, boss, co-worker, or friend–to simply know what we want and automatically deliver.

With the holidays coming up, let’s consider some of the factors that might keep you from calling in reinforcements in times of need:
• You don’t want to appear weak, needy, or stupid.
• You’re afraid that the answer will be “no.”
• You feel that you don’t deserve help in general–or that you don’t deserve help in a specific situation. (“I got myself into this mess, it’s up to me to get myself out of it.”)
• You’re reluctant to delegate because you feel that the other person won’t do the job as well as you.
• You think people are too busy to help, and you don’t want to impose on them.

When you try to tackle a difficult or time-consuming task alone, you’ll likely end up feeling cranky and overextended. You might feel a tsunami of unbearable self righteousness (not a pleasant trait) as you secretly or not-so-secretly seethe and sulk.

The good news is, while doing it yourself can seem synonymous with being in control, you will actually experience more control if you can learn to ask for help. Here’s how:
Practice by asking for help with little things–and work your way up. If you’ve been a “do-it-yourselfer” all your life, start small. Instead of asking your mother to take the baby all weekend so you and your husband can escape to a B&B, first ask her if she can do it for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.

Target the right people to help you. Don’t ask your boyfriend to help you with your tax receipts if he’s never balanced a checkbook in his life. Likewise, don’t ask your best friend to help you pick out a dress for a party if she’s allergic to shopping. Identify the experts in your life–a friend who used to be an accountant, a co-worker who lives and breathes fashion–or hire a real expert if the situation warrants.

Be direct and specific when you ask for help. Don’t say, “The house is a mess!” Say, “Can you clean the bathroom and kitchen? I’ll vacuum and dust.” Don’t say to your boss, “I can’t do this report by Friday alone.” Say, “There’s a lot of material here. Could I bring someone else in on this?”

Delegate. Take your to-do list, divide it up, and assign tasks to the appropriate people. Err on the side of over-delegating, and don’t be a perfectionist. It’s better to have your teenage son do a so-so job on the kitchen floor than to do it yourself perfectly–only to feel stressed out and exhausted afterward.

Reciprocate. Offer to reciprocate when you ask for help. In general, ask help from people you can help in return. For example, if you need someone to feed your cats for the weekend, ask a neighbor who also has cats and may need future cat-sitting herself. One of my patients makes lunch for a friend while he fixes her computer problems. Another barters–she’s a dentist who provides dental work to a friend who does handyman jobs at her house.

Handle rejection gracefully. If someone says “no” in response to your request for help, thank them anyway and start thinking about someone else to ask. Don’t take it personally; the person probably has valid reasons for not being able to come through.

And finally, remember these important words: Take care of yourself by not taking care of it yourself. It’s human nature for people to want to help each other, because it’s a way of enhancing their own connections and feeling good about themselves. So just go ahead and let them.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops

**Facial Guasha Class
Thursday, March 12, 6:00–7:30pm
Hosted by Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00
(Includes take-home facial guasha tool and custom anti-aging facial oil!)

Join us and learn a traditional Chinese facial rejuvenation technique that you can do yourself! Guasha treatment is a 2,000 year old Chinese massage technique that uses a flat tool to apply pressure to the skin to increase circulation as it moves along acupuncture channels. Learn more and register →

**Adrenal Boost!
Tue, April 28, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
With Naturopath Caley Scott and Yoga Therapist Renee Zambo

Course Fee: $75.00
(Includes custom adrenal herbal tincture and a description of yoga practices you can do at home.)

Feeling Tired? Need help improving fatigue? Learn to boost your energy! Dr. Scott will teach you about herbs that support your adrenal glands to help boost your energy and adapt to stress. Renee will teach practices that restore and build energy, support daily activities, and ensure sound rest at night. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • When Your Sex Drive is on Life Support

    Low desire? No more orgasms? Is your sexual enjoyment a nonexistent priority in your partnership? Sex is such a physical/emotional chore that you’d rather be burning the calories in a Pilates class? Part of our intake questionnaire at WholeHealth Chicago asks if you’re satisfied with your sex life and fully half of our newcomers either indicate no or leave it unanswered. This pretty much lines Read More

  • Breakthroughs in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    To me, the greatest advance for the estimated 2.5 million adults, adolescents, and children with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been the slow but steady acceptance of its very existence by the conventional medical community. This has been a real uphill battle and we’re encouraged to finally see some (guarded) victories. The first description of what would be later called chronic fatigue syndrome came in Read More

  • It’s The Carbs. It’s Always Been The Carbs.

    Somewhere in my library is a copy of Gary Taubes’ 2008 Good Calories, Bad Calories, one of several books that appeared in the wake of the really vicious controversy that surrounded Robert C. Atkins, MD’s Dr Atkins’ Diet Revolution, which first appeared in 1972, has been published in 13 revisions and editions, and continues to sell around the world. It’s challenging to convey the extent Read More

Join our Discount Program!

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION