Everyone gets stressed from time to time, so it’s easy to sympathize with your friend when she’s going through a rough patch. Part of being a good friend is wanting to make your friend feel better or to lighten her load a little until things go back to normal. While you can’t solve her problems for her, you can roll up your sleeves and jump in with both feet to help get her over the hump. Even just a listening ear can make a world of difference.
Offer to watch her kids for a few hours so she can have some time to herself. Clean her house or help her catch up on her laundry. Run some of her errands while you are running yours. Do whatever small task might help ease her workload or burden without increasing yours.
Get out and do something fun together. Go to the movies, spend a night out on the town or go ice skating. If she’s stressed about money, have a old-fashioned sleepover with cocktails, movies and plenty of laughter.
Take a yoga class together or head to the gym. Regular exercise helps relieve stress and increase feel-good chemicals in the brain. Yoga adds relaxation techniques and mental calmness to the mix. Try to work out three days per week for at least 30 minutes at a time.
Offer a listening ear so she can vent her frustrations. Understand you can’t solve her problems, and don’t try to. Just offer support and your caring presence. Call to check in often so she knows someone’s got her back.
Buy her a journal. Encourage her to write in it each night, both to get her feelings out and to drain her brain each night before sleep. If she’s stressed, she might have trouble falling asleep because of all the thoughts rushing around in her head. Fatigue makes stress worse.
Watch for the signs of depression. People under large amounts of stress can feel overwhelmed and get depressed. Watch for signs, like a loss of interest in your friendship, her favorite activities, her children or her job. Listen for signs she’s given up trying to get through this crazy time in her life. Encourage her to seek support from a doctor or therapist.