18 Ways to Ask for Help During Heartbreak

18 Ways to Ask for Help During Heartbreak

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Here’s one of heartbreak’s great paradoxes: This is the time in your life when you need the most support and often receive the least.

You may have lost a spouse through death or divorce, leaving you financially vulnerable and unable to give yourself the space and support you need to grieve. Or, because our culture keeps everyone so busy, your friends and family may get swept up in the day-to-day upkeep of their own lives that they just don’t have time to be with you in the ways you need. This, plus the fact that heartbreak thrusts us out of the flow of our lives and into limbo, often makes these in-between seasons of our lives very solitary and shaky.

Still, we need human connection to help us through hard times, especially when they come unexpectedly because of the severing of some of our most intimate bonds. When the option is available to us, it’s helpful for us all to know the different kinds of things we can (and need to!) ask for during times of heartbreak—and then have the courage to make the request.

You can ask for someone to:

  • Bring you a meal (let them know what you like and request they make enough for at least a few meals).

  • Walk your dog.

  • Come sit with you.

  • Go for a walk with you.

  • Give or loan you money (to buy groceries for the week or month, to pay your rent or mortgage for the week or month, etc.) and/or to start a GoFundMe for you.

  • Give you a massage or an acupuncture session.

  • Work with you pro bono or on a sliding scale. I recommend asking around for this. People who are very well established in their careers may sometimes keep a space or two open for pro bono clients.

  • Watch your children for a couple of hours so you can do some self-care.

  • Give you a one-month pass at a yoga studio or gym.

  • Grant you a scholarship for a course or program that will help you with your heartbreak.

  • Pay for someone to clean your home (or ask a friend to clean it for you).

  • Help you with moving or pay for movers.

  • Do errands for you.

  • Come over and hug you, hold your hand, or even lie down and hold you (provided, of course, that you feel safe with this person). Compassionate human touch can be the most potent way to regulate our nervous systems.

  • Come visit you and stay for a week to be with and support you (or ask to go visit them and stay for a week, or more).

  • Check in on you and/or spend time with you on holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries (or any days that feel especially hard).

  • Call on the weekends to check in on you.

  • Give you more time off from work.

Of course, there are many more things that can be added to this list. What else might you add? Which of these feels like something you could use support with right now?

This is an adapted excerpt from Handbook for the Heartbroken: A Woman’s Path from Devastation to Rebirth by Sara Avant Stover.

18 Ways to Ask for Help During Heartbreak

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