How do you personally show support to your friends and family?
I adore cooking so this can sometimes be a regular occurrence in my house. Food brings my family together so I love to create hearty and wholesome meals for them. I also send gifts and cards to family and friends afar. However, even the smallest of gestures are important checking in over text, being understanding in moments of stress and being there when they need someone to talk to with no judgement.
What are the things to look out for that show someone might need support, even if they say they are ok?
Feelings and emotions can all be different depending on the situation, the circumstances and the individual but keep a lookout for these things:
- Low confidence
- Loss of appetite or increased control over food
- Tried and fatigued (a lot of the time)
- Tearful and nervous
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reserved from social situations
Could you share some advice on how to support someone suffering from anxiety or depression?
Anxiety and depression can impact everyone differently. So what might have affected you might affect someone else differently so it’s important to know that and not have any expectations or judgements.
Don’t try and second guess people’s feelings or diagnose their feelings - just be there for them. Keep questions open-ended, set time aside to check in with them (a judgement-free zone), let them share as much or as little as possible and ask them how you can help them. Be patient, your relationship may feel different during this time but stick by them and don’t give up. If things progress suggest professional support too - if you’re not a trained professional don’t try to be one. Help is there for them.
What difference do you think small acts of kindness like card sending can really make in these situations?
A massive difference! A small note, a reminder or even a card to look at each day can be a make or break positive action. Even if our friends seem disclosed, it’s important to stand up and show that you’re there for them - no matter what. This sense of connection and belonging can massively help someone who’s suffering. When you’re feeling low, you can feel alone so connections are important.
If you could share one important self-care tip what would it be?
Although we can try and be the best friend, the best partner, the best sibling and so on… It’s important that we fill up our own cup too. We can’t keep pouring our love onto others if we don’t prioritise our own mental wellness too. Supporting others, as much as we might enjoy it, can be draining. Don’t feel guilty for needed to take time for you. You totally deserve it!