How to support a loved one through a hard time

Watching a loved one struggle through a hard time can be incredibly difficult. It can drain all of your energy and leave you with an enormous amount of anxiety. If you are going to prevent this from happening, it is essential that you have a clear plan in place. There are plenty of great ways for you to handle the situation, you just need to take it one step at a time. If you are wondering where to start, below are five pieces of advice that will guide you through the process.

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Try to relate to what they are going through

If you are struggling to get through to your loved one, it is important that you try to relate to what they are going through. This is a fantastic way for you to broach a sensitive subject without it appearing as though you are judging your loved one for their choices. If you are someone who struggles to open up about emotions, now is the time to push yourself to do more. Perhaps you have made it through your own personal crisis. This could be something that you share with your troubled friend or family member. Not only will you be providing them with inspiration, but you will also be making it clear that you understand how easy it is to go down a questionable path. Even if they don’t immediately open up to you, after your revelation, you might have made it easier for your loved one to come to you at a later date.

Establish a safe space

The next step is to establish a safe space that you loved one can always escape to. Although it is important to persevere with your serious chats, it is vital that there are also plenty of opportunities for your loved one to take a step back. This will prevent the situation from becoming overwhelming and far too much to handle. If your local weather conditions permit, this safe space should be somewhere outdoors. Why not set it up at the far end of your backyard? You could fill this area with plenty of sweet smelling flowers, wind chimes, and even a water feature. Then, whenever your loved one is freaking out, you can encourage them to take a few minutes for themselves. This option still works if your loved one lives in a different property to you. Simply make them the offer of using your safe space as an escape whenever they require it. Or, surprise them by creating their very own safe space in their backyard or one of their spare bedrooms.  

Make the most of technology

Whilst it is important that your loved one has time to themselves, you need to make sure that their time alone doesn’t spiral out of control. It is vital that your friend or family member isn’t allowed to isolate themselves too far, as this could cause even more problems. One way to prevent this from happening is to make good use of technology. Why not schedule in regular video chats or Skype sessions with your loved one? You could also use direct messenger to check in with them. Don’t worry; this doesn’t have to take up all of your time, a simple smiling emoji could make a huge difference to their day. Technology will also be of use if the situation begins to escalate. Instead of fretting about emergencies, it is important that you regain as much control as possible. You can do this by entering your details into your loved one’s speed dial. There are even apps that allow you to monitor their location, using a tracking system on their phone. Just make sure that you get their permission beforehand. You need to remember that there is a fine line between offering someone your help and putting your nose where it doesn’t belong.  

Encourage them to get professional help

Although it is important to provide your loved one with as much support as possible, it is vital that you are always on the lookout for opportunities to get them professional help. If your loved one is in denial, this may be a slow-moving process. However, it is vital that you persevere. As soon as they are willing to take the next step, you need to be ready with a clear plan of action. If substance addiction is causing problems, why not start your research and find out about the best residential treatment centres available? That way, if your loved one surprises you with a sudden request for help, you won’t be taken off guard. Ideally, you need to move fast, before they have a chance to change their mind and walk away from their problems.

Work together to create a plan for the future

Once your loved one is back on track, you will need to work together to create a plan for the future. Giving your troubled friend or family member something to look forward to will help them to stay motivated throughout their journey. Looking to the future could also be a fantastic way for you to boost their confidence levels, as you can show them just how much faith you have in their ability to succeed. Just remember to get the balance right between enthusiasm and pushiness. You don’t want to force your own ideas onto your loved one. You also don’t want to overwhelm them with more responsibility than they can handle. That is why you should allow them to lead all of your discussions. You should also experiment with a wide range of planning techniques. If you are dealing with a practical person, it might be a good idea to start with to-do lists and clear schedules. Or, if you are trying to help a creative individual, you could put together a bright and beautiful visualization board. You could even create a plan for yourself, as this will take all of the attention of your loved one and will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.

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