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How to help when life gets hard

You are not alone

It’s common to feel helpless when a friend or loved one is struggling because of a monumental event or change that has occurred in their life. Our human nature compels us to do something that will help ease their burden.

There are several actions we can take to help our friends and family, whether it is physically, emotionally, or spiritually. In this series, we are going to talk about some practical ways that you can provide assistance to those you love beyond bringing them a meal.

Part 1: Physical Helps 

Who couldn’t use some help with cleaning the house, bathroom, or kitchen? How about running errands for your friend? Are there leaves to rake, flowers to water, or grass to cut? Is there a pet that needs a walk? Volunteer to do these. Emptying the dishwasher and reloading it for your friend may seem like a small thing, but it is a huge help to someone who is overwhelmed. Don’t want to show up empty handed? Paper goods! No one needs to run out of the myriad of paper products we use when there has been a loss. Are there thank you notes to write? Offer to write them or purchase the cards and stamps for your friend. 

Part 2: Emotional Helps

Everyone expresses their emotions differently, and it is important to be supportive and acknowledge the situation your loved one is experiencing.

Whether it is with a text, call, or visit, keep showing up. Put a reminder on your calendar if you have to; silence can be deafening, and you do not want to leave a loved one feeling unsupported. If you know someone who has gone through something similar, suggest connecting your friend with them. In addition, offering to go with your loved one to a support group meeting may help provide them the courage to get the help that they need. Look for ways that you can nourish and encourage their devastated heart back to health.

Part 3: Cognitive/Intellectual Helps

Grief can manifest in all areas of our being. When we are grieving, our cognitive abilities are impaired as well; we process information slower and can be forgetful. These are all normal.

While we need to acknowledge the situation, focus on whatever brings out good emotions. In addition, supporting decisions that your loved one makes is important.  Be supportive and non-judgmental.

By keeping both your mind and eyes open, you will find your own way to express your love in just the way your friend needs it. Once you find it, take action. There is no kindness that is too small to express.

There are so many ways that we can support our friends and loved ones who are going through a tough time.  Find something – anything – that you can do to help your friend. Many times, the biggest impact comes from the smallest, simplest actions. The best way to help your friends and loved ones is to just step up and do something.