Whether it’s yourself or someone close to you, going through a tough time can be awful if you don’t have the support of loved ones around you. Sometimes, it can be longer periods of sadness, or ongoing depression, which as a solo challenge can sometimes feel overwhelming or even impossible.
To boot, sometimes trying to help someone can be a lot harder than just delivering a week “chin up!”, or “what do you have to be sad about?” When someone in your life needs help, there are ways that you can enter equipped and ready to help them in an effective and genuine way.
1. Have a little Faith in them
One of the first things you want to do for those who need a little help with motivation and drive to go about their life is to reinforce their self-esteem with genuine encouragement. Everybody is good at something. Identifying what that is to someone suffering from self-doubt can help them tackle whatever is standing in their way. Tell them that if they can achieve the one, they can probably do the other.
2. Great expectations
This may seem counter-intuitive, but in fact challenging them to keep moving forward can be a helpful way of motivating your friend-in-need. Now don’t get it twisted, we’re not saying “tough love”, but having a goal is really important for getting out of a rut. Help your friend set and meet their goals by expecting them to reach them. Expect the best of them, and softly keep them accountable for reaching them.
3. Be honest
Once again, this is not an exercise in tough love, but rather knowing when to give them a gentle reality check. When you’re in a depressive spell or a tough period of your life, it can be easy to lose perspective of they way people see you, the way you’re interacting with people or handling your responsibilities. Providing a third person perspective can let someone know if they’re off-track. Of course, this cuts both ways, and if they’re improving or handling anything particularly well, it’s helpful to mention this too!
4. Open yourself up too
Since depression and anxiety can run on an economy of emotional alienation, letting your loved ones know that you’ve been there before or had similar experiences can be a crucial step in getting them to open themselves up to receiving your support. If you can’t match their exact situation, don’t worry you can still offer up any insecurities you have or anything you’ve ever struggled with. It will help in bridging gaps between you. Let them know they’re not alone. It’s important to remain available to them, but this has to work hand in hand with our next point:
5. You do you
Another essential piece of advice which may seem counter-intuitive is to not lose yourself in the endeavour to helping the people close to you. It’s a noble venture to sacrifice your personal life in order to help other, but in the long run is unsustainable and will further strain your relationship negatively. It can also hurt you to totally carry someone else’s burden. It’s important to understand when you need to take some you-time so you can continue to be supportive. The better you look after yourself, the more effectively you can set an example for them too.
6. Educate yourself.
There are plenty of online resources such as Here To Help, Help Guide , or any local helplines in your country. Call them, visit the web pages, ask around. A little bit of effort in research will not only equip you far better in helping them, but in showing that you’ve put the effort in, displays just how much you care. Just as they are not alone in their struggles, you are not alone in your quest to help them.
7. Activity is your friend.
One of the simplest yet most reliable ways to help someone in a rut is to maintain an active lifestyle. Obviously that is extra hard when all you want to do is curl up in bed or distract yourself with Netflix, but pushing through that wall can be the first step in breaking out of the rut. Doing even simple exercise like going for walks starts releasing endorphins, and offers a crucial change of scenery to help break those toxic mental cycles. Nesting down for some self-love can seem curative, but it can also further alienate you. So get outside! Smell a flower! It won’t fix you right up, but it does wonders for steady improvement.
What experiences have you had with helping? How have you helped someone through a hard time before? What worked?
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