Do you have a friend or family member who hasn’t been as active as normal? Getting back into the habit of doing things can make a real difference to their mental health. When someone is feeling flat, a little bit of support can go a long way. Here are some tips on how to help someone you care about get back into life.
Do stuff they enjoy
Spending quality time with someone is great for their wellbeing. Some people aren’t as motivated when they’re feeling low. One way to build up the person you care about is to do activities with them that they used to enjoy. Don’t be surprised if at first they don’t seem enthusiastic – it can take a little while for our enjoyment of something builds up.
Not sure of what to suggest? Look at our list of activity ideas.
When people are dealing with challenges the day-to-day business of life can become a lot harder. Have a chat with your friend or relative about their experiences – just listening to them without judgement can make a huge difference. (It can be hard to know how to start a conversation like this when you're worried about your friend – check out our tips for having a tricky conversation).
Remind them of all the things they’re already achieving, and encourage them to start with simple changes. You might like to offer your support with reminder texts or check-ins.
When you’re asking how someone’s going with their goals, be positive and empathetic when they haven’t done what they’ve wanted to this time around. For them, missing a small goal could feel like the end of the world. It can help to hear them out and take this time to learn together. Together, you could try and figure out what got in the way this time, or figure out what they might do differently next time.
If the person you care about is taking steps forward, congratulate them on what they’ve accomplished and check in on how they’re feeling. Keeping track of how our changes help us is a great way to sustain those changes.
Make it easy for them to be social
If your friend or family member is finding it difficult to get out of the house, it could be a good idea to go visit them. That way they’ll get the benefits of socialising without feeling under as much pressure. It’s also a great back up option if circumstances change and they struggle to get out.
Cut them slack
For some people, going through a tough time means that small things like replying to messages and returning calls can be harder. If you get the sense that they’re feeling guilty about not communicating well, see if you can alleviate that pressure. It’s important to look after your own boundaries, but just remember that if someone with poor mental health has fallen off the radar, it’s probably not personal.
Are you concerned about a friend? Check out more of our tips for helping a friend you're worried about.