We've made it our business on LifehackLane to hand out tips and tricks to make life easier and more fruitful for yourself and those around you. From quick-fix ab workouts to self-help books that will change your outlook on life, we've made it our goal on this website to help those who have taken time out of their day to read our content. But If there's one lifehack you should master above any other, it's the art of caring for someone else.
While being in touch with your own goals, feelings and desires are paramount, we can often forget to look out for those we care for, and if they're not happy, it's likely you won't be either. Everyone should feel valued and confident in their own self-worth, but a shocking amount of people simply aren't. So to make sure no one in your friendship circle or family feels this way, here are 10 ways you can be there for someone who might be going through a tough time.
1. Craft them a package full of goodness
If someone is depressed, buying things won't automatically make things better in their life. Just like anything in life, buying into the consumer culture offers a temporary fix to solutions that don't disappear overnight. However, by crafting your very own package, full of memories and handcrafted arts and crafts, you can make their outlook change.
Handing that person in package packed full of photos, paintings and made even a few inspirational quotes will encourage them to see the world in a better light and know that you are thinking of them. Sometimes, that's all people need. To know other people are thinking about them.
2. If you have a pet, let them be around it
Pets are awesome. Not only do they offer some much-needed companionship they also make great family members and can help heal wounds by merely being there. So if you have someone in your life going through a bad time, bring your furry friend over to theirs!
If you have a dog, you could even call them up and encourage them to get out of the house and have a lovely walk in the fields. You'll be surprised how much you can get through to someone by simply walking a dog in a nice part of town.
3. Go over to theirs and watch a favorite movie
Escapism can come in many forms. Reading a book on a winter's day over a hot cup of coffee. Watching a movie at the cinema with friends. Binging on a Netflix series. But if you want to be there for a friend and cheer them up without wanting to touch to many nerves and sensitive subjects, sometimes it can be best to suggest watching a DVD together.
Preferably, it should be something uplifting. If you aren't afraid of going overboard on the cliches, Eat, Pray, Love is an excellent film for those struggling with mental issues.
4. Go for a coffee
Taking a depressed/sad/bereaved loved one to a nearby coffee shop might not sound like the answer to all their problems, but it will help them come out of their cocoon of sadness and open up.
These neutral environments, be it a febrile coffee shop or an artesian bakery, will allow them to open up and feel warm, not only by the warm coffee but the pretty sights and sounds of the new environment and sage counsel being offered.
5. Bring them some homemade food
If you feel like you can't get through to them with words, you could cook up a killer dish the night before and bring it over to theirs the next day? Sometimes, the best comfort food isn't served at a fancy restaurant, but from your very own kitchen.
Research has even shown that foods rich in tomatoes, such as spaghetti bolognese, contain ingredients that have been proven to fight against depression due to the folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid found in them.
6. Make them a playlist of their favorite tunes
A playlist is a great way of letting someone know you are trying to reach out. You could burn a CD and even customize the cover with awesome cover art and a message inside.
Just think about what they like. If they're a crazed Rolling Stones fan, compile 15 songs of feel-good tracks of theirs. These small things matter- especially to those who feel lost in a shallow vortex of their sadness.
7. Help them with some tasks
While you may not be able to entirely solve their inner-demons, or help them overcome a mental health issue, you can do this in baby steps by offering to help them with everyday tasks, be it washing up, doing the grocery shopping, doing the laundry.
If someone’s feeling low, even the smallest of tasks can seem overwhelming. Ask what’s on their to-do list and help cross things off.
8. Keep up the communication
Show them you care. Prove it. Even if they aren't responsive. If you know they find it overwhelming to interact with others, simply send them a few messages a week telling them you're thinking about them and that if they want to talk at any time or day, you're there for them.
All it takes is a few simple words- over email, text, phone or voice message- to make them know people care about them. It's that simple, so don't neglect the importance of communication simply because they're not responding.
Listening is one skill people think they have when they don't. It's easy to nod your head and feign interest in someone's problems when you have your own going on. You see, if you genuinley care, you'll make sure you subtract everything else from your mind so you can absorb all their emotions and grievances.
So don't just listen- listen properly. Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all, because that usually means you're listening.
10. Hold them
Last but not least, if you want to show someone you care, words can only go so far. Sometimes, people just want to be held and know that they have someone they can lean on.
Even if the person in need isn't someone you're particulalry close to, just hugging them or gently putting your palm on their shoulder can do the world of good.