How to Help a Stressed-Out Friend
© Cathy Mu
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on a person’s physical and mental health. What’s more, it’s a silent killer that works in the shadows, meaning the first signs and symptoms of stress are often overlooked. Although we all go through all kinds of experiences that can cause the stress to pile up and put a little extra weight on our shoulders, it’s essential to learn how to combat the inability to cope with emotional burnout and pressure.
However, it’s also of great importance to learn how to help others deal with personal issues and overcome stressful situations. So, if you notice that one of your friends is going through a rough time, here’s what you can do to make their days a little brighter and less overwhelming.
Get them moving
When stressed, people don’t have enough energy to enjoy the things that bring them joy. Instead, they might want to stay in bed and nap or spend the day watching their favourite TV show. Although all these activities can help them cope with the stress, you might want to encourage them to be more physically active.
There are many benefits of outdoor workouts, walking, running, or even hitting the gym when life gets rough. Even a short walk around the neighbourhood can increase their serotonin naturally and put their mind at rest. So, if you’ve cleared your schedule for today, call your friend and ask them to do something together, and they will definitely feel better afterwards.
Help them reconnect
Social isolation can increase stress levels. It’s important to stay socially involved when we’re overwhelmed, which is why it’s advisable to host a dinner party or invite your friend over to help them reconnect with their loved ones. For example, you can also organise a party that celebrates your friendship or ask them to meet your friends they’ve never met before.
By helping your friend meet other people or asking them to spend more time surrounded by loved ones, you can boost their confidence and show them they’re not alone.
Encourage them to talk about their feelings
Unfortunately, many people have been encouraged to hide their emotions and withstand societal pressure from a young age. As a result, they often refuse to talk about their emotions or even ask for help when needed. If you have a friend who doesn’t like to talk about their problems, be sure to create a safe space where they can deliberately express themselves and talk about what’s been on their mind.
If you want to help a loved one, you need to be patient. Understand that some things take time and don’t pressure your friend to talk about their feelings if they aren’t ready. By sharing your experiences and expressing your emotions, you can encourage your friend to be more vulnerable and talk about their stressful situations.
Don’t invalidate their feelings
When a loved one talks about their problems, it’s essential to listen and learn to respond properly. Phrases such as “You’ll get over it”, “Just don’t worry about it”, or “It’s not that bad” can do more harm than good, so try to empathise with their stress instead.
On top of that, you might be able to deal with their current problem, but that doesn’t mean they have it easy. So, the best thing you can do in this situation is to acknowledge your friend’s feelings and show support. Whether they need advice or just a friend who can listen to their problems, be that person, and you’ll make them feel better.
Schedule a self-care day
Self-care days are important for our well-being. So, instead of going out, schedule a self-care day for your friend. You can watch their favourite movies, play games, or even solve a puzzle. In simple terms, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you can do it together.
What’s more, you can go to the spa, make music or read your favourite books together. Your effort to help them overcome their difficulties will be appreciated, and your friend will definitely feel refreshed and recharged after a self-care day.
Help out at their home
If your friend is so stressed that they don’t have time or energy to clean their house and take care of themselves, help them out. Offer to help them clean their home, put on some music, and take care of their most difficult tasks.
However, it’s essential to be supportive and show that you have good intentions. Judgement will only make them feel more stressed, so once again, create a safe space and show them they can rely on you and ask for help when needed. Some people are too embarrassed to show others that they have been neglecting themselves, but if you don’t judge their actions, they will feel comfortable with you helping out at their home.
Send them a thoughtful gift
Stress can make us feel neglected or lonely. Still, a small act of kindness can go a long way and brighten your friend’s day when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Unique and thoughtful gift baskets that will arrive at your friend’s doorstep will definitely make them feel appreciated and motivated to do better.
What’s more, you can even order a custom and personalised gift basket that includes your friend’s favourite food or self-care products. Determine which option would be the best, and send your friend something that will improve their mood.
Help them find a solution
While many people know how to deal with stress, others may struggle to find new ways to cope. In that case, you might want to help your friend find a reliable therapist or a life coach. More sure importantly, show your friend that it’s okay to ask for professional help, and be supportive if they decide to see a therapist. Still, if your friend doesn’t want to talk to a licensed professional, respect their decision and find other ways to help.
Supporting your friend through a rough patch isn’t easy, but with the right approach, you can help them cope with stress and find joy in everyday life. Luckily, these tips will help both you and your friend, so be sure to try them out and see how they react to your new approach.