As a family member or friend you are one of the people who see your loved ones – or speak to them on the phone – most regularly. As such, you are likely to notice when the people you care about are acting differently. You can pick up when they are not looking after themselves as well as they normally do. You will see things that most other people, including work colleagues, would not see. If you notice some changes in someone you care about, it could be that there is something really challenging happening in their life – like work stress, the pressure of job-hunting, or a relationship break-up.
If you are going to be vigilant to the wellbeing of those around you, then the following tips will be useful for you :
- Let Them Talk – Be there for your loved one. Let them know they can talk with you about how they’re feeling. Show them that you’re not going to judge them.
- Don’t get frustrated or Guilt Trip – There is no point getting frustrated, telling them to chill out in a rude fashion, ignoring them because they’re not being rational, or guilt trip them to get attention. Anxious people are aware that what they’re feeling is irrational, but it’s not possible to stop.
- Spend Time – Letting them spend time with you will really help. It can cheer them up, distract theme and make them feel like they’re not alone in their struggles.
- Don’t Focus on the Anxiety – Don’t always feel the need to talk about the anxiety. This may trigger people into thinking about it unnecessarily. Let them bring it up if they want to talk about it.
- Let Them Know You’re Available – If you are available to talk to when your loved one is feeling anxious, this can be a great help. Even if it’s just talking on the phone, it can be a release and a distraction from the things that are bothering them.
- Don’t Get Affected Too – Helping people with mental health disorders can often be hard. It’s important to recognise if stress and anxiety are affecting you as well, especially if you’re spending a lot of time with your anxious loved one.
- Forgive Them – Anxiety is a turbulent beast which can make your loved ones think, feel, and act in ways we don’t agree with or understand. It can make them angry or irritable. Be forgiving, showing them you understand how they feel, even in their darkest moments.
- Do Things Together – Doing activities together indoors and outdoors is a benefit for both you and your loved one. You will stay active with exercise, and doing fun things together will serve as a distraction to the stresses of life.
- Be Proud – Let yourself be proud of them when you see improvements. Anxiety and depression can make people see life very negatively, so take any opportunity to commend them on doing well.