It’s hard to watch your friends or family deal with any kind of pain, but loss can be especially difficult. Watching loved ones grieve can make you feel helpless as you struggle to find a way to offer aid. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to helping a loved one. However, there are many ways you can make the situation easier for them. From lending an ear to holding out a helping hand, here are three ways to support a loved one dealing with loss.
Practice Patience and Understanding
Grieving can take on many forms. To provide the greatest support for your loved one, you must let them express their grief in the way that works best for them. Keep in mind that this might not be what you expect, and it may differ from how you would take the loss. After all, everyone handles grief differently. Do your best to understand exactly how your loved one is feeling. You might need to be patient as they process their emotions for themselves. Practice active listening and give them the space to talk through their feelings.
Watch for Warning Signs
Grief isn’t linear. Setbacks are a natural part of the process. However, you should still be aware of signs of depression or other indicators of serious low points. If your loved one starts to struggle with daily tasks, develops a substance abuse problem, or has trouble eating or sleeping, it might be time to intervene. These and other symptoms are signs that someone should seek grief counseling. Support groups and professionals can help your loved one better understand their grief and create a constructive plan to work through it.
Offer Practical Help
Of course, not all support has to be emotional. Grief often throws off people’s lives in a way that makes every day even harder. Lighten their load by helping with everyday tasks. Things like buying groceries, making meals, or taking care of children or pets are all useful ways to support a loved one dealing with loss. When you take on these responsibilities for your loved one, you give them more space to grieve and prioritize themselves without abandoning other parts of their life.