There is a lot of talk about the importance of self-care, that is, taking time to do things that nourish our bodies and our souls. Although self-care is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s not the only type of care a person needs or people should focus on.
Giving your time and energy to others can be just as nourishing to your soul as taking care of yourself. When people are going through challenging times or struggling with mental health issues, like depression, it’s much more difficult for them to practice self-care. The best way to give our time and energy to our loved ones is to be there for them.
Often, when someone is down, they just don’t have the energy to do the things for themselves, and simple things – like picking up prescriptions, cleaning up around the house, or making a meal – can feel both overwhelming and exhausting. It’s important to make sure you are intentional about being there for the people you care about. It could be by helping them clean, cooking them a meal, taking a stroll with them, and so on. In fact, research shows that when someone is depressed, having positive, supportive people in their lives can have a positive impact on their recovery.
Of course, you shouldn’t sacrifice self-care in the process, but instead, strive to find a balance between doing for yourself and doing for others. Here are some ways you can show up for the people you care about:
Create a Safe Environment
When someone is going through a tough time, it’s a natural response to turn inward and shut out other people. They may struggle with loneliness and often aren’t sure of what to say or who to trust. One of the best ways you can show up for your loved one during times like these is to create an environment where they feel safe opening up and sharing their thoughts and feelings.
Demonstrate That you Care
Telling someone you are there for them is a good step in showing up for people, but sometimes your actions will speak louder than your words. It’s important to do real, tangible things to show your friend or family member that you truly do care for them.
Even if the situation makes you feel uncomfortable and you don’t know exactly what to say, there are very simple things you can do to show that you care about someone:
- Ask them what you can do to help and then follow through.
- Put away your phone and focus on them when you’re together.
- Ensure you allow enough time to truly be there for them and avoid rushing through visits.
- Be patient with them and avoid hurrying them through conversations.
- Recognize that what they are going through is challenging and you may not understand it all.
- Send them a text or call them.
- Send them flowers.
- Give them hugs.
When you are committed to showing up for the people you care about, you are intentional about reaching out to them without them having to take the first step or ask you for help. It’s about putting yourself in their shoes and imagining what you would want others to do for you if you were in a similar situation. More importantly, it’s about asking them how you can help because what they may want or need may be completely different from what you imagined.
Not only does helping others and being there for them benefit your soul, but it also builds a community that cares and takes care of one another.
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