Featured Image: Ohh Couture
Article By: Kasey Edgerton
We all go through stressful times in our lives and some are definitely more trying than others. Work, school, bills, relationships—it can all add up overwhelm us. That’s where our support networks and close friends come in.
There’s nothing so disheartening as being clueless as to how to help a friend who is stressed and needs you the most. Do you know what to do if you notice that someone you love has been distant and stressed? Or what to do if they come to you for help?
It can be tough to know exactly what to do to help a friend and how to be strong enough for someone else to lean on, especially when you don’t always feel strong yourself. So to help, here are 20 simple ways you can be there for a friend who’s having a hard time.
1. Just Listen
Encourage you’re stressed out friend to talk to you and let them pour their heart out. Sometimes you don’t have to offer solutions, just a listening ear. Make them feel like it’s safe to talk about what they are going through, and just listen and try to understand. Don’t reprimand them or point blame, just hear them out. Then you can use what they tell you to brainstorm ways to help.
2. Exercise Together
Encourage your friend to continue or join you on a workout. You can take them to the gym if possible or you can use videos to work out at home. A jog in the early morning will help them start their day happy and rejuvenated. Exercise helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol and even helps improve blood circulation.
3. Make Plans For a Yoga or Meditation Class
If your friend doesn’t want to talk and just needs to relax, invite them to come with you to a restorative yoga or meditation class, or go through your own flow at home for some immediate relaxation and peace. Grab your mat and find your own relaxation while your friend finds hers in Savasana.
4. Help Them Out At Home
Chores like grocery shopping, cooking, or laundry can feel even more overwhelming when you’re going through a stressful time. Surprise your friend by bringing over dinner one night, bringing some groceries, or offering to come over and help out with any laundry or quick cleaning. It will make a big difference in stress levels to have one less thing off their plate.
5. Send a Care Package
The oldest way to let someone know you’re thinking of them is still one of the best. Gather all their favorite snack foods, a book or two, some self-care indulgences like a face mask or body scrub, and send it their way.
6. Make a Vision Board
Creative visualization can be a powerful tool for organizing thoughts and planning the future. Head to your local bookstore for a magazine binge and spend the day manifesting positive vibes via a craft project.
7. Schedule Some Quality “Tea-Time”
Rife with potent herbal compounds, chamomile tea binds to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium. The active ingredient in chamomile is apigenin, which has been shown to reduce anxiety and decrease stress.
8. Meet Up For Breakfast
When you’re rushed or anxious, the morning breakfast ritual sometimes goes out the window. Start the day off on a sunny note with a breakfast date. Get plenty of omega-3s, good fats to boost your brainpower, and reach for everything from eggs to cold-water fish.
9. Plan A Netflix Binge
Reveling in the catharsis of make-believe is a time-honored pastime. Maybe go in for a theme? Exotic travels? Sweeping romance? Girl power? Need to just watch buildings explode? Give your mind an escapist vacation via the power of TV.
10. Explore the Great Outdoors
If breathing is the key to relaxation, why not take in the crisp, cool, clean air? Head out for a hike or just bask in the healing powers of Mother Nature.
11. Curate a Playlist
Music is good medicine. Whether it’s making a motivational Spotify playlist to charge up her morning run or a soothing list of tracks to unwind with at the end of the day, the cathartic power of the mixtape is undeniable.
12. Have A Girls’ Game Night
Sometimes you just need to take your mind off of something. Get spontaneous and goofy and throw a wine-fueled game night, complete with prizes and yummy snacks!
13. Indulge in Some Retail Therapy
Women’s brains, in particular, respond to shopping in a unique way. It’s science. Whether it’s hunting down new spring décor or a pair of shoes, spend an afternoon indulging your desires.
14. Share a Favorite Book
Get personal and pass along a meaningful book that helped you through a difficult time or always puts a smile on your face. It shows a real depth of thoughtfulness and it’ll give you something to bond over. Maybe even start a monthly book club!
15. Gift an Aromatherapy Candle
Aromatherapy candles are an amazing solution to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. They were once considered as an exotic gift, but now they’ve sprung up on grocery shelves and you can find them almost anywhere.
16. Share a Walk
Taking a stroll through the neighborhood may be just the thing for someone who needs cheering up. It’s something you can do for free, it soothes nerves, and helps relieve tension. It’s just the thing for someone who is experiencing a temporary setback.
17. Cook Them Dinner
Sharing home-cooked food will give your friend a chance to relax and it might make them more comfortable sharing their problems if they do it over a meal. Budgets may be tight, so the meal need not be expensive or complicated. You can even just bake a loaf of bread together.
18. Send a Cheerful Bouquet
Who can deny that there’s just something about looking at fresh, cheerful flowers on your desk or kitchen counter that fills you with joy and brightens your mood? Besides, a beautiful bouquet is such a nice reminder that you appreciate and care for your friend.
19. Schedule a Soothing Spa Experience
Having a spa day doesn’t need to be expensive. Just buy some face masks, soothing candles, throw on some nice ambient music, and you’re set! Relax, unwind, and simply enjoy one another’s company. Treat yourself and your friend and stop the world for an hour or so. You’ll both feel relaxed, refreshed, and pampered. A spa day is just a great way to hit the ground running again.
20. Volunteer Together
Believe it or not, volunteering is a great stress reliever. Research has proven that volunteering helps improve sleep, creates a new perspective, and raises self-esteem. There are many opportunities to lend a helping hand—tutoring, homeless shelters, or working with a charity. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of a shared experience with someone who really needs the lift.