Woman trying to support a loved one going through a rough patch

How to Support a Loved One Going Through a Rough Patch

Sometimes, life isn’t fair. We’ve all experienced it. And when you have to go through a loss or trauma during the holidays, it gets especially hard. Holidays are when you spend your time with your loved ones and when they are not there anymore, it’s difficult to cope. If you’re watching your loved one having a hard time, it can be tough to know how to help them. Different people grieve differently and you never know what goes on in their head or how they truly feel. That’s why they need our help and unconditional support. However, to help them, we have to do much more than hang out with them all the time. In fact, sometimes, that can even drive them crazy. So, if you want to learn how to support a loved one going through a rough patch, keep reading this article. We prepared several valuable tips for you! 

Be attentive to their needs

Overwhelmed with the desire to help them get through the rough patch, we often forget to ask our loved ones what they actually need. Many people going through a rough patch may never have been asked what they need. People around them just assume what they need. But, usually, our idea of helping isn’t what helps them. Therefore, before you jump to any conclusion, please take a moment to ask them what they want and need and how they want to be treated. Maybe they want to be left alone; perhaps they enjoy being silent with you. They may even need professional help, but they’re afraid to ask for it alone. You’ll never know until you ask them. By doing this, you’ll support a loved one going through a rough patch and make sure you’re doing the right thing from the beginning. 

Let them have some time off

More often than not, people who are going through some tough times need to take a break from everything and everyone. As their friend, family, or partner, you have to not take this personally. To overcome a difficult period in life, people sometimes need to be alone. They need to process their emotions to get through this situation. Most importantly, they need to do this by themselves. So, don’t push them to go out, talk about how they feel, or tell them how to act. Let them figure this all out on their own. That’s how the healing process works. 

Always be patient with them

People are different, and we all take different amounts of time to get through a rough patch. You need to know that you can’t speed up the healing process. You have to accept that your loved one may need more time than you think. For example, maybe you feel three months is enough to get over an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, but your loved one may need six months or even a year. Understanding this will make you much better support. So, don’t rush them – let them heal at their own speed

Girl ignoring suggestions

Be readily available for them

Many people going through a hard time in their lives need constant care. This is extremely helpful if your loved one lost someone close to them or has a post-relocation nostalgia. Maybe they don’t know how to deal with homesickness after moving, and you’re their only friend in this situation. That’s why having you by their side will make them feel safe and loved. And that’s exactly what they need in this situation. Perhaps what your loved one needs is to help them with their everyday chores. Or you can prepare their favorite meals. Simply, being by their side whenever they need you is immensely helpful. 

Be their shoulder to cry on

Having someone to lean on in the hardest moments of grief is something your loved one needs. So, be their rock. Let them know they can be open with you about anything and everything. Show them you don’t judge them but support them. Make sure they know they don’t have to hold their emotions in when they are around you. Cry with them. Simply being with them and understanding that they need to let go to feel relief, even for just a moment, is the best thing you can do for them, whether they need a shoulder to cry on or a tight hug. 

Don't overwhelm them with your problems

The last thing your loved one needs in a situation like this is hearing about your problems. Even if they insist on you telling them, even if you feel like you’re being relatable, they don’t need one more issue to worry about. It will be a huge burden for them. You can distract them with some fun stories and adventures of yours. Maybe watch a favorite movie or a tv show. Just don’t overwhelm them with your own issues. 

Respect their pain

You may not understand why your loved one feels this way, but you must respect their pain. Phrases like “Don’t feel so sad” or “Try and be happy” won’t help them. They will feel embarrassed for having these emotions and not being able to get through them. They need you to support them and not dismiss their feelings. And by saying these things, you’re doing just that. So, don’t judge, don’t try and make them feel better before they’re ready to feel better. Let them be sad and show them it’s okay to feel whatever they feel. Once they start to heal, try to spread positive thoughts and happiness.

Two women hugging

Listen to them

People going through a rough patch usually aren’t ready to open up and express their emotions right away. That’s why it’s essential to let them process everything on their own and let them know you’re there to listen to them once they feel ready. No matter the time of day that happens. Let them know they can call you whenever they need you. And once they do open up, listen to every word they say. In addition, try and give them genuine advice or at least a big hug. 

Final thoughts

Watching your loved one struggling is pretty hard, especially when you don’t know what to do to help them get better. Sometimes a hug and a good cry session are all they need to feel better, even for a moment. Make sure to ask your grieving friend or family member what you can do for them and what they need. Let them know you’ll be here for them no matter what. It is how you support a loved one going through a rough patch, without any rush and with a lot of understanding.