It’s hard to watch a stressed loved one struggle, especially if they’re facing a lot of stress or dealing with a difficult time in their life. You want to help. but sometimes there isn’t much you can do, and you feel a little helpless as you watch them face their problems alone.
But you don’t have to do a whole lot to help out someone dealing with a rough patch on their journey. A simple little thing or two, to show that you care, can be enough to help them feel better. It’s amazing what feeling loved can do for someone’s positive thinking!
So, how can you go about it? How can you help the people you care about in your life when they’re struggling? Here are the fourteen best ways to help a stressed loved one unwind and relax.
1. Make Them Laugh
When was the last time you’ve seen your loved one give you a genuine smile or even a full belly laugh? It can be hard to remember how it’s like to be carefree and joyful when you’re stressed – and you probably shouldn’t leave it that way.
Research has proven that laughing regularly helps with the release of endorphins – a hormone that helps with reducing stress. It can even help with increasing pain tolerance! In other words, laughter clearly is good for the soul. So if you need to cheer someone up, try:
- Sharing a funny story
- Watching a comedy with them
- Reminding them about hilarious memories you’ve shared
2. Be A Positive Influence
In times of stress, holding on to positive thinking can become difficult. So try to make yourself a source of positivity for your loved ones! Here are a few ways you can act on it and carry it out:
- Make sure they’re getting enough water, food, and rest
- Encourage them to take care of themselves
- Do not enable bad habits – redirect them to healthier ones instead
- Ask your loved ones as to what they need, and act accordingly
- Remind them that they are good and that they deserve good things
- Encourage them to fight back against any negative thoughts they may have about themselves
3. Motivate Them With Genuine Words
What do you love about them? Do they know? In times of duress, it can be hard to remember that we are wonderful people who deserve positive things. So it’s important to remind them on the regular with statements you know are true about them! For example, you can:
- Text them compliments and encouragements in the morning
- Remind your loved ones of what they have accomplished so far
- Share with them what you appreciate and love about them
- Congratulate and be excited for them when they successfully finish a dreaded task
4. Serve Them A Warm Drink
It seems people always walk away from coffee dates with a closer relationship – and there’s a reason for that! A study has discovered that there is a positive correlation between warmth and interpersonal relationships. The warmer your drink, the more connected you become!
So why not take advantage of this, and share a hot drink with a loved one to remind them that they are cared for? Plus, hot drinks like tea and warm milk also carry advantages like:
- Being soothing and healthy
- Promoting relaxation and stress relief
- Helping with sleep
- Providing nourishment and comfort
- Keeping you warm when it’s cold out
5. Take Them Out To Eat
You might notice that you don’t see your loved ones as much when they’re being stressed out. You may realize they aren’t eating properly either! That won’t do, so why not bring them along for a meal hangout? It can:
- Remind them that they have support and love all around them
- Put them in a good mood
- Take the burden off them for making a meal
- Create a moment of socialization they may not have gotten otherwise
- Ensures that they’ll have eaten properly at least once that day
6. Put On Soothing Sounds
ASMR is a YouTube phenomenon that has only gotten increasingly popular over the last 5 years or so, with its biggest claim to fame being a source of audio (and visual) calm. If your loved one isn’t already a fan, however, you still have plenty of options.
For example, you can try introducing them to other calming audio sources like:
- Calming podcasts
- Meditation apps
- White noise machines
- Soothing music
- Nature sounds
- Water fountains
7. Send Them A Care Package
You can’t deny that someone’s looking out for you when you’re holding a physical representation of their love!
Try assembling a care package to support your loved ones during their tough times. It can be from simple things like comfort foods and face masks to more helpful devices like a brand-new robot vacuum! Here are some ideas you can try including in a care package for them:
- Favorite snacks
- A good book or two
- A hand-written note
- A hand-made gift
- Nutritional, easy-to-make food and drinks
- A body scrub
- A collage of photos of their best times and favorite memories
A care package doesn’t have to be full of helpful items necessarily – it can also simply consist of things you know they’ll love. The possibilities are endless!
A growing number of studies have shown that nature and greenery have an undeniable positive effect on our psyche. It only makes sense, then, that research has also proven outdoor activities are beneficial to reducing one’s stress and anxiety levels!
So why not suggest to your loved ones to join you for a:
- Hike in the wilderness
- A quick walk around the neighborhood
- Stroll to the park
- Bike ride – maybe even with a tandem!
- Picnic outdoors
- Visit the beach or riverside
9. Make Something With Them
Have you ever noticed how much joy and pride you naturally get from making something successfully? It’s no wonder then that art, handicrafts, and other similar hobbies can be so addicting. Luckily for your loved ones, it’s also a great source of stress relief and relaxation!
With that in mind, why not encourage them to try art as an outlet. Consider:
- Painting on canvases (they don’t have to be good or perfect!)
- Textile work like crocheting, knitting, or even weaving
- Cooking or baking
- Learning how to play an instrument (or picking up an old one to shake off the dust)
- Writing or drawing
- Making assorted resin jewelry and knick-knacks
In more creative cases, you can even try introducing your loved ones to blacksmithing or silversmithing. There’s plenty of options out there for them to do something with their hands – and it can be just the stress outlet they needed this whole time!
10. Help Them Around Their House
Trying to keep up with the chores can be difficult, even in the best of times. So you can imagine just how much more difficult it is when you’re stressed or overwhelmed! In such times, it can be a huge relief of burden to have someone come in and do some of the chores, like:
- Cooking them a meal (or two, or three!)
- Doing some laundry
- Sweeping the floor
- Light (or serious) grocery shopping
- Taking out the trash
- General quick cleaning
11. Use Calming Scents
Aromatherapy has gotten incredibly popular as of late – and as it turns out, for a good reason. Research has shown that fragrances and pleasant smells induce positive effects on our psychophysiological state, which can be just what your loved one needs to relax and destress.
Some notable benefits include:
- Helping with entering deeper states of relaxation
- Encouraging positive thinking
- Calming and soothing one’s emotions
- Creating a comfortable and homey atmosphere
Creating calming scents is pretty easy too. All you’ll need is a diffuser, an oil burner of some kind, or even simply a wonderful perfume, and you’re all set!
12. Listen To Them
At the end of the day, the ultimate support often boils down to simply being there for your loved ones and listening to them. Often enough, it’s really all they need too. Here are some of the ways you can show you’re listening and paying attention:
- Please keep your thoughts to yourself, unless they are explicitly asked for
- Avoid sharing opinions unless they request for it
- Follow up with questions for further elaboration or explanation
- Mirror or reflect their situation to them as you understand it
- Show empathy and sympathy
- Ask them what you can do to help and support them
- Remind them that you are there for them and love them
13. Meditate With Them Or Guide Them In Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is the latest buzzword self-help buzzword found everywhere, and for a good reason too. A study found that it can help with managing one’s anxiety and depression. Not only that, it can help with:
- Focusing on the here and now
- Calming one’s mind during a difficult moment
- Managing your stress
- Encouraging positive thinking
14. Plan A Self-Care Day Of Pampering
We all deserve a little “Me Time,” – but when you’re busy and stressed out, it can be easy to forget that important detail. So why not try doing the remembering for your loved ones? Plan a day to make your loved one feel special with a trip to the spa or a massage session. You can even try:
- Planning a movie date
- Enjoying some face masks
- Preparing them a hot bath soak
- Breakfast in bed
- A trip to the nail salon, or DIYing it for them
- A visit to the hot springs or a sauna
- Taking them on a day trip to somewhere they’ve wanted to go
You don’t have to strictly follow these suggestions, especially if they’re not of interest to your loved one. So long as they feel like they’re being made special and they’re enjoying themselves, then that’s really all that matters!
If you have a stressed loved one, trying a couple of simple methods to help them relax and unwind can be just the thing they need to feel encouraged, motivated, and supported. Small acts of compassion and care can go a long way, whether they’re for a family member, friend, or other loved one in your life!