how to ask for the help you need

Asking for help after a breast cancer diagnosis isn’t easy. And while many family members and friends try their best, they don’t always follow through in ways that are useful. We’re here to share some tips on how to ask for the help you need.

1. prioritize yourself

Give yourself time and space to come to terms with the fact you’re going to need help. It’s not being selfish or rude to consider what you need and to plan accordingly. Show yourself some grace as you consider what your limits will be, and what you want other people to do.

2. be intentional about your requests

Think through what things you’ll physically need help with, e.g., taking care of a pet, or picking up kids from school or practice. Remember your emotional needs, e.g., having someone come to support you during appointments, or scheduling regular calls with a friend to vent or distract yourself.

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3. provide specific details and instructions

We often feel like it’s simpler to handle things ourselves instead of explaining something to someone else. Give your helpers the full picture of what’s needed by making a list of the related details you usually keep track of in your head. That way they can truly take things off your plate.

4. encourage your friends to educate themselves

Sometimes you don’t know what to ask for, because things rapidly evolve. Reduce your mental burden by asking friends to do a little research of their own. They can read our blog post with 10 ways to support a friend through their breast cancer journey, or look at other resources such as the Breast Cancer Foundation of New Zealand’s list of eight things you can do to offer support.

5. don’t isolate yourself

You are not alone. If you don’t feel like you can talk to your family or friends, then make sure you talk to women who have gone through similar experiences. If you need to find a sense of community elsewhere there are many online and app based resources to support you in your journey. Healthline compiled a suggested list of the best breast cancer apps of 2019 and the Breast Advocate app may also be a resource to consider.

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