Watching a loved one struggle has to be the worst feeling in the world.
You want so badly to take away their pain, but you feel powerless. There you sit by the sidelines, wishing you could do something to alleviate your loved one’s pain.
Well, there’s some good news in this unfortunate situation.
There are at least 6 things you can do for your loved ones when they are struggling.
And they couldn’t be simpler. Because sometimes, it’s the simplest things that make the most difference.
Here are 6 simple things you can try to alleviate some of your loved one’s struggle:
- Massage. Recommend getting a massage at a fancy spa or even a chiropractor’s office. The entire experience falls under the category of self-care, which is a crucial part of getting through tough times. If they don’t have the time or means to get a professional massage, maybe you can help there too. You can either get your loved one a gift certificate or give them a massage yourself. They will surely appreciate the gesture.
- Help with chores. Whether your loved one is struggling physically, emotionally or both, they might be letting the day-to-day chores slide. These little things seem so small when you’re battling with a major problem. But your small gesture of taking care of these things can seem huge. Start by asking which chores you can take on to help. You want to make sure your efforts are going towards something that’s truly helpful.
- Research the struggle. We’re living in an age where we can learn about virtually anything in real-time. Do you have a question? Google has the answer. So, whether your loved one is struggling with depression or an autoimmune disorder, learn everything you can to understand their struggle better. Once you’ve researched the topic, talk to your loved one about what it’s like for him or her. Regardless of your diagnosis, everyone’s struggle is unique. So, asking about what’s going on will give you insight on what it’s like to live a day in the life. From here, you could take a more active role and become their advocate. Or, you can just practice empathy and let your loved one know you’re on their side. Or, you could do both.
- Know that you’ll never fully get it. Research and talking about a problem are important steps, but unless you’ve dealt with the exact problem, don’t pretend you know what your loved one is going through. This is a fine line we have to walk as outsiders to the problem. You should try to understand and practice empathy, but at the same time, avoid judgment. You don’t know that you’d handle things better because you’re not in this person’s shoes.
- Encourage them to get help. If your loved one isn’t currently under medical care, and you think it would help, try encouraging them to reach out. Whether they’re suffering from a physical or mental health issue, professional care can help keep the issue from getting worse. If they resist, try to get to the root of the problem. If they’re avoiding help because of a stigma, statistics may help them feel less isolated. Whatever the problem, try to find a way to get through, without going overboard of course. You don’t want to risk pushing this person away.
- Find ways to make them laugh. As they say, laughter is the best medicine. The act itself releases brain chemicals that make it impossible to dwell on problems. If you can only do one thing to help your loved one, let it be laughter. If you’re not a particularly funny person, try making plans to see a funny movie or a standup comedian. If only for the moment, your loved one’s problems will melt away when he or she is laughing.
Although you’ll never be able to fix your loved one’s problems for them, you can find small ways to brighten his or her life. And you’ll never fully understand the profound impact that could have on someone’s life. If you can make that person smile, you’ve already improved their day.
Just keep trying to bring positivity and light. Before long, you’ll find the perfect way to help your loved one with his or her struggle.