“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.” Winnie the Pooh
The honey-obsessed, naive and rather slow-witted bear also once said, “Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved,” as well as “some people care too much, I think it’s called love.” Despite the need to “think” ever so often, this charming Pooh Bear was always willing to help his friends.
You may have a friend or loved one who finds themselves in a “pickle” – i.e. loss and grief, a severe health issue, heartache, an abyss of anxiety and stress, a feeling of worry and sadness for a loved one, a marriage break-up, money issues, a job redundancy instigating a feeling of failure…the list of “pickles” amongst us all is endless (sadly).
Of course a cuppa, a chat and maybe a few tears is great therapy, but should you know someone who requires some extra special love and attention, here are some suggestions I have come across that are so wonderful, thoughtful and helpful in so many ways…
10 ways to help a friend in *genuine* need…
1) Drop round a few essentials such as a loaf of bread, soups, milk and biscuits to help your friend get by for a couple of days. Oranges and avocados are a good for some nutritional goodness and maybe a newspaper/magazine too, to occupy their mind.
2) Provide treats – whether indulgent such as cake and chocolates and/or healthy – a raw chocolate hamper, bottles of coconut water and some antioxidant-fueled blueberries are ideal.
3) Lend/buy your friend a therapeutic gift – such as a colouring book, a yoga DVD, a picture to paint (with paints!) or even a knitting kit. Even if they seem crazy or unrelated to their personality, they really do work to calm and distract the mind.
4) Cook your friend a nutritional brunch or dinner. Eggs are great for much needed protein, as are leafy greens should your friend be lacking in energy and iron levels. Stay away from anything too rich that may be too heavy on their ‘knotted’ stomachs.
5) Take your friend out for a little walk – fresh air and chats are a great formula. Go easy though depending on their injuries and energy levels. If you own a puppy/dog, take them with you for a dose of fun!
6) If your friend-in-need has a spare room (or even a sofa) stay the night so they are not alone. Chat and watch films until they fall asleep, give them a hug in the middle of the night if they need one or simply help them get out of bed and ready for their first day back at work.
7) Lend books to read and films to watch – and make sure of nothing related to anything they may have been through (i.e. don’t lend Wedding Planner or Bride Wars if your friend is going through a divorce!).
8) Keep in regular contact. Even with just with a simple “Thinking of you” or “Sending a hug” text message. Their messages in reply may be delayed, poor grammatically or be lengthy waffle – but it is acceptable to cut them a bit of slack at this time! Any form of communication does wonders when you know someone is going through a hard time. Avoiding contact with them is ignoring their situation, and therefore devaluing your relationship with them (#justsaying).
9) Flowers – an obvious idea, but depending on the situation some blooms can certainly brighten things up!
10) And finally, a “what not to do” point… Don’t push them! Don’t force them for information on their situation, don’t encourage them to get motivated too quickly and don’t make them do anything before they are ready. Think before you speak (i.e. “Everything happens for a reason” and “sh*t happens” are NEVER helpful during a crisis) – a simple “I’m so sorry” is more than sufficient and provides the right level of sympathy required.
Whatever emotional experience or physical trauma (or both) your friend may be experiencing, I hope these ideas help you to make their life worth finding strength for, and of course I wish them a speedy recovery.