We have all been affected by the pandemic – either physically or emotionally. How much it has changed our lives vary. Some people have coped well despite being quarantine; some may not and may even be going through an emotionally tough time.
The thing is, it will be difficult to notice symptoms of emotional issues in our friends because of the distance. When you notice that your friend suddenly becomes withdrawn, overemotional, pessimistic, or angry, it means they need your support. These are what you can do to help them cope even when you are distances apart.
Keep In Touch Regularly
One of the emotional health issues that a lot of people are experiencing these days is isolation. Ronald E Riggio, Ph.D., notes, “Isolation can lead to serious health problems in the long run.”
He adds, “There is some evidence that extreme social isolation can contribute to the development of heart disease, increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions. The stress of isolation raises cortisol levels, which can raise blood pressure and A1C levels in the long term.”
If your friend already has emotional health problems, like anxiety and depression, sudden and prolonged isolation may worsen these issues.
So, the first thing that you can do for your friend is to keep in touch. You may schedule regular catch up sessions with them and talk about anything – their feelings, their daily lives, or plans. Planning for your next travel can give your friend something positive to look forward to while in quarantine.
Be Ready To Listen With No Judgment
Another thing that you have to remember when talking with your friends is to listen with no judgment. People suffering from anxiety or depression already has plenty of critical inner voice within them. So, when they want you to listen, they mean you do so without adding to that already negative voice.
As a rule of thumb, avoid giving unsolicited advice. Also, defer from undermining your friend’s emotions by bringing the spotlight to you and how you would have behaved if you were in their position.
They also don’t need you to tell them what’s wrong with the way they’re thinking. Doing so will make them defer from opening up to you again, and may result in isolating themselves more.
Ask What You Can Do For Them
And when in doubt, ask them what exactly they need. Asking for clarification or elaboration shows that you are listening intently in what your friend is saying. And that helps build trust and rapport in your relationship.
Also, it will help you a clearer idea of what you can to help your friend deal with their emotional health issues. Also, it means that what you do for them will be what they may exactly need.
Go Extra With A Meal Or Grocery Care Package
If you are not that good with conversation, there are other ways to show care and support to your friend in need.
One of those is giving them what they may need while in quarantine – like grocery or skincare package. These necessities can easily be overlooked when someone is already overwhelmed with their emotions. So, sending them what they need can help relieve some of these worries.
You can deliver them on your own or look for alternatives online. There are a lot of options available if your friend lives far from you.
Do Something Together
Besides talking and sending care packages, you can also spend quality time with your friends by doing fun activities at the comforts of each other’s homes.
Schedule a convenient time for both of you and watch movies, play games, or learn new things together. Engaging your friend with enjoyable activities helps them cope with their emotions and lets them look at the brighter side of things.
Encourage Them To Seek Professional Help
Lastly, the best thing that you can do for them is to encourage them to seek professional help. As much as we can offer our love and support for our friends, we do not have all the answers to help them deal with their emotional health issues in the long-term.
Fortunately, online therapists and counselors are available and reachable despite the quarantine measures. Assist your friend in finding the best one that fits their needs and their budget.
The coronavirus pandemic may have physically distanced us from our friends and loved ones. But there are still a variety of ways to connect and support them, especially those who need us the most. Ease their loads and help them get through these stressful times with a more positive outlook in life.