We all want to help our loved ones through hard times, but sometimes putting our intentions into action can be difficult to do.
If a friend or family member is in crisis, there are simple and effective ways to support them, and it can help both of you navigate the situation more smoothly.
#1. Be an active listener.
A willing ear is great, but someone who is willing to both listen and engage can be even more valuable and effective.
Active listening means that you give feedback from what your loved one said to you and it shows them that you’re listening and thinking critically about their situation.
This often means asking questions, providing sympathy, and providing feedback by paraphrasing their concerns to show that you are engaged and understand what they’re telling you.
Active listening can be important in times of struggle, because it allows someone to process their emotions in a more constructive and comprehensive way.
#2. Offer to help with the simple things.
When times get tough, it’s often the small things that fall to the wayside or begin to feel like a burden to the person who is struggling.
Offer to go to the dry-cleaners, pick up groceries, or make a meal. Even taking time out of your day to do their hair and painting their nails can help someone feel more in control of their life, and feel less overwhelmed with the task of putting themselves together.
Regardless of what help they might appreciate, odds are that there is something simple that you can do to make their days just a little easier.
#3. Give them something to look forward to.
This can be anything from a nightly phone call to weekend plans, and while it depends upon the severity of the crisis, knowing that there are positive things in the future can help a person feel more confident about their ability to get through a difficult situation.
While it may not immediately raise their spirits or help them recover completely, spending time with others and finding ways to decompress can do a lot for the healing process.
#4. Know when it’s time for professional help.
As much as we want to be there for those we love, sometimes we don’t have the answers and support that they may need.
If you’re worried that your loved one may be a danger to themselves or others, or feel that they aren’t improving, there are many resources available which include suicide hotlines, e-counseling websites, and therapists. All of these resources are designed to be confidential and supportive.
Though the task of helping someone in such a turbulent time can be difficult, it can also be a life-changing experience that brings both of you closer and helps them recover.
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