Practical tips on looking after others
- Offer your support. Let your friend or family member know that you are here for them when they are ready to talk.
- Know when to talk. Pick a nice quiet spot to talk, meet with them one on one rather than in a group, avoid talking during stressful times i.e. meal times, and choose a time when you both have plenty of time to chat.
- Be prepared with what you want to talk to them about.
- Be respectful of their boundaries and privacy, they may not be ready to talk to you about what is going on for them.
- When your friend is ready to talk ask open questions like “what can I do to support you with that?” practice reflective listening using phrases like “it sounds as if” “what I understand is that” and don’t worry if you don’t understand your friend will appreciate you just being there.
- Keep up with all the fun stuff that you normally do together.
- Keep in touch. Do small things for your friend to show them that you care and that you are thinking of them.
- Encourage them to seek support. Offer to help your friend access some professional support and to go with them to the first appointment.
- Look after yourself. Supporting a friend or family member through a tough time can be challenging therefore it is important that you look after yourself, continue to keep up with your daily routine and get support for yourself.