It can be incredibly difficult to watch someone you know go through a hard time. Sometimes it can be tricky to know if someone is just going through a rough patch or whether there might be something more serious going on.
If you notice signs in someone you care about, it's important to start the conversation. The best way is to be honest with them about what you've noticed and how you feel: "You haven't seemed yourself lately and I'm worried about you."
Follow this up with assuring them that you are there for them: "I want to help you and I'm here for you if you want to talk."
It's important to recognise that you don't have to be an expert, you don't need to have the answers or offer solutions to anyone's problems. It's more important to ensure you're being a mindful listener.
One small act of kindness to show someone that they're in your thoughts is to put together a personalised care package - hand-picked full of goodies from yours truly. You can include things that encourage self-care, help someone relax, feel pampered, reflect or get creative.
Some of the following items could do the trick:
Sticky notes - write down some positive affirmations or inspirational quotes like "Hey, thanks for being you", "You've got this" or "Be gentle with yourself" that they can put up around the house, on their mirror or laptop to remind them you care.
Book to read - there's nothing like getting comfortable and letting your mind wander to another place between the pages of a good book.
Pampering items - get them a face mask, candle, bath soak or body scrub; a little self-care is not self-indulgence. It's about making time to care for yourself, something they may not be focusing on during tougher times.
Cozy socks - especially on the colder days, pulling on a warm pair can help them put their best foot forward and sock it to the difficult times.
Baking, snacks or chocolate - it doesn't have to be homemade, just picked out for their taste or something easy to nibble on if they're not up for a big meal. The secret ingredient is your kindness.
Bring them a furry friend to play with. When someone's had a rough day or feeling a little lonely, having a pet around for comfort has pawsome benefits. If you can't bring the company to them, the dog park is the next best place to get a fur fix.
Watch their favourite movie beside them. Your couch or theirs. Sometimes just being there with someone and keeping them company during a difficult time can be more powerful than having a conversation.