We’ve all been there ourselves. Stressed, overworked, feeling a roller coaster of feelings. And when it’s someone you love, it can be almost just as difficult to witness.
As by-standers, we tend to second guess ourselves. Do I step in? How do I help without enabling? Do I say something at all? How do I show I’m supportive and love them? I can relate, but how do I express that without demeaning their feelings? How do I help and not smother?
Quite frankly, unless you have the power to take all the negative, stressful situations out of their life for them permanently… which is unlikely in reality… then there’s not one right answer. Stress and anxious feelings are always going to be somewhat of a gray area. What works for one person, may not for another.
The best thing to remember when you’re supporting someone who is at max capacity is that you continue trying. Don’t give up on them. Here’s six ideas of things to try:
1. Listen Without Judgement
Cliche, right? No but seriously. Listening without judgement is really broad and includes a lot. Can you completely turn off the opinions in your mind? No, but you can watch your words and face carefully.
If this is someone you’re close to, they’ll be able to read your opinion just in your body language. Be in-tune with the vibes you’re giving off.
People who are spinning in overdrive often don’t want you to help them try to solve their problem, so they won’t be open to or looking for an idea. A good rule of thumb: If they don’t ask your opinion… don’t give it.
2. Take Something Off Their To-Do List
“Is there anything I can help you with?” No. That’s not going to cut it. Someone who is really stressed and consumed in anxious feelings is not going to be able to wrap their brain around the idea of delegating a task to you.
Observe this person. Notice the big and small tasks that consume their time and attention.
Start with just one thing and insist that it’s already considered done. Don’t ask them, “Would it help if I..”. Just tell them it is going to get done.
I’ll pick up your kids so you can stay and get some work done. I’ll make your copies or file for you at work. I’ll stop by the store and grab dog food for you. I’ll run that to the post office for you. I’ll babysit this weekend for you.
Find something and insist without being pushy. The more specific you are, the less likely the person is going to be in saying no.
3. Take Them Away
Even just for a moment, take that person away from the stressful topics and situations in their lives. This could be as simple as a change in conversation. A funny story that gets them belly laughing can do more good for their wellness than you can imagine.
You can also consider physically taking them out of their stressful environment. Grab lunch, go on a walk, get your nails done, watch a movie together, take them to a yoga class or even plan a weekend trip. It may completely change their mindset and perspective on the situations weighing on them.
I am blessed with people that understood this well before I recognized it, and I’ve had the chance to learn from their example. No matter how far deep you think that person may be, you can find a way to get them out of it. I work to pay that forward on a regular basis.
4. Tokens of Love
We all feel a bit more special when we receive a token or gift from someone close to us. This is especially true when it’s for no formal reason. “I saw this and thought of you” gifts go a long way.
It shows that person that they are on the forefront of your mind and that you’re willing to go out of your way on their behalf.
A gift that also uplifts their spirits or mood is an added benefit. There are many natural products that support rest and peace. Here are a few ideas:
Peace the Reassuring Blend: This essential oil blend promotes feelings of contentment, composure, and reassurance when anxious feelings overwhelm your emotions.
Balance the Grounding Blend: Balance promotes tranquility while bringing harmony to the mind and body, and balance to the emotions.
Lavender Essential Oil: While this versatile oil has a whole host of uses around the home, it also has calming and relaxing properties that promote peaceful sleep and ease feelings of tension.
5. Feed Them
Stress and overworking can often have a negative impact on our eating habits. Some of us have the tendency to forget to eat while others will overeat.
Observe these people you love. Set a time to pause work and have lunch together if that’s possible and hold them accountable to it. Grab them a coffee and pastry on your way to work. Drop off a casserole at their house that they can freeze if they already have dinner plans. (This cook book has some of my FAVORITE comfort food recipes: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime). Leave a treat in their mailbox or on their desk.
Not only is this another way to show that you’re thinking of them, their body will appreciate that nourishment. You can make these as healthy or decadent as you feel they’ll like.
You want them to feel supported and loved. Walk lightly and lead servant heart. It’s not your role, or even place, to try to “fix” them or their situation. Simply stand by them and lift them up.
Go Be Brave, Friends!
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