Seeing a loved one suffer is an awful experience, especially if there’s nothing you can do to ease their pain. It can be the true test of a friendship, as you’ll both have to put up with a lot of behaviors that would never normally be exhibited. However, if you’re a true friend, you’ll go to the ends of the earth for your loved one, and do all you can to make their life bright again. It’s often hard to know what to say or do, especially if their sadness is caused by a bereavement. It might be a case of just being there for someone, and showing that you care, rather than trying to counsel them through it. So, here are five ways to help your loved one through a hard or sad time.
- Be there for them and listen
The most important thing you can do is just to listen and to let them know that they’re not alone. It could be a text or an email, reminding them that they have someone. Or it might be volunteering to stay with them for a while, until they’re ready to be alone. Being a shoulder to cry on, and an empathetic voice, can help bring them out of their shell, and ensures they won’t be feeling completely alone.
- Treat them to small surprises
Try to brighten up their day with small surprises. This might be putting on their favorite movie, or making a playlist of all their favorite songs. Or, you could use a service like Spring in the Air to ensure their home is always full of fresh, beautiful flowers. Likewise, if they love animals, then why not see if you can borrow a pet dog to bring over for them to cuddle and stroke?
- Take care of practical issues
One of the most useful things you can do is to ensure that while they’re sad, their entire life doesn’t fall apart. Run errands for them, make sure bills are paid and post opened, cook big batches of food and freeze it, so they always have something to eat. You could even do the odd bit of cleaning so that your loved one doesn’t have to worry about not having any clothes, or needing to do piles of washing up.
- Encourage them to be active
If your loved one is having a hard time, it’s likely that they won’t be sleeping. So, try to take them out during the day. Not only will this make them tired, but it’ll help them get back into a routine, and remember that the world is still spinning. You don’t have to do much or go far: just walking to get a coffee would be enough.
- Don’t expect anything back
This will be a hard time for you too, but you need to shoulder the responsibility and understand that your care and attention is unlikely to be reciprocated. While you want your friend or family member back to their normal self, don’t expect too much too soon. Let them take their time, and come back to you when they’re truly feeling themselves again. Don’t put any pressure on them to be their normal self, and don’t feel hurt if they snap at you or don’t ask about your feelings or your problems.