In good times and in bad, it’s important to show up for the people who matter most to us.
Whether they’ve had a hard day at the office, are coping with a serious illness, or are navigating a loss, simply being there for your loved one is enough.
But when things are difficult, it can mean that much more to show—not just tell—them you’re there for them.
A simple gesture can go a long way. Here are a few suggestions to show a loved one how much you care:
1. Write a Letter
Sending a letter is a thoughtful, special way to express your love and support. Sometimes it’s easier to be genuine and vulnerable on paper than it is over the phone or in person.
A message of hope and strength may be just what your loved one needs to navigate a difficult time.
Letters are wonderful gestures because your friends and family can keep them to reflect back on and cherish for years to come.
Even a thoughtful email or text message shows you’re thinking of them and sending love.
2. Plan a Special Activity
You’ve probably heard the old saying actions speak louder than words. It’s time to take action and plan to spend the day with your loved one.
Here are a few thoughtful activities to consider:
- Take them to lunch – Reserve a table at their favorite restaurant. If a public outing is too much pressure, then pack a delicious picnic and head to the park. This is an easy way to make sure your friend is actually eating and taking care of themselves.
- Watch a movie together – When things are tough, sometimes a dark room and a glowing screen are the perfect escape. Let them choose their favorite film and don’t forget to supply the snacks.
- Take a long walk – Spending time in nature is incredibly therapeutic. Offer to take a walk together along the river or in a peaceful park.
3. Send a Care Package
If you live far from your loved one, assemble a care package to send their way. Care packages are a great way to send sympathy gifts, encourage self-care, and provide comfort.
Here are a few things to include in your package:
- A fuzzy blanket – Send a luxurious, soft blanket, perfect for movie nights, comfy-cozy evenings by the fire, and much-needed nap time.
- A hot water bottle – This is the perfect cozy accessory to combat cold nights and ease stress-related aches and pains.
- Hydrating face masks – Encourage your loved one to unwind with a moisturizing face mask at home.
- Their favorite snacks – No care package is complete without a selection of snacks! Sweet, salty, savory, and everything in between.
4. Offer to Help with Errands and Chores
When life gets difficult, even the easiest everyday tasks can take a toll.
Managing bills, laundry, and childcare (not to mention putting dinner on the table) can be hugely draining when you’re also dealing with whatever’s got you down.
Being there for your loved one can be as simple as going grocery shopping or delivering a home-cooked meal.
If your loved one needs transportation to and from support groups, counseling, or treatments, offer to be their chauffeur.
They’ll appreciate your company, and you can run a few errands for them while they’re in their session.
5. Listen to Their Needs
Sometimes the best way to offer support is to listen. Allow your loved ones space and comfort to confide in you about their struggles.
Be patient and validate their emotions. Navigating trauma is a unique experience for everyone.
Refrain from offering unsolicited advice or jumping in with your own experiences. While it’s important to show empathy, don’t assume you understand their experiences just because you’ve gone through something similar.
Part of listening is providing them the environment they need to process their emotions.
6. Just Show Up
You don’t need to understand everything your loved one is going through to offer support.
Remember, you can demonstrate sympathy and compassion by showing up to help in whatever way you can.