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Stress Awareness Month: Ways to Support Your Friends Who Are Stressed

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April is Stress Awareness Month, and searches for ‘how to help someone with stress’ have seen a +75% increase in the past 24 hours.

Stress, depression and anxiety can be difficult to spot in friends and family, which is why greetings card marketplace thortful has teamed up with psychologist, Mairead Molly of Berkeley International to offer tips on how you can support friends and family who may be struggling with stress.

How can you support a friend with their mental health? 

  • A GP can work with someone to understand if they need medical support for their mental health. Encourage them to book an appointment.

  • Schedule a regular time to see each other. When someone is struggling, everything feels overwhelming. Planning to meet up can feel like a lot of effort, so scheduling something regularly removes the stress of proactivity from the situation. 

  • Exercise together. We all know how easy it is to make excuses not to exercise! Exercise stimulates neurotransmitters that help lift depression, so try and integrate it into your social relationship. 

  • Cook (or food shop) together. Part of the cycle of depression is that people often feel too low to prepare healthy meals. 

  • Encourage your loved one to use physiological self-soothing strategies. Self-soothing can be anything that helps you feel more grounded, from deep breathing to channelling that energy into exercise. Working with a therapist is also a great way to learn more coping skills for stress, anxiety, or trauma.

  • Find out what types of self-criticism your friend is doing. Help educate your loved one about how self-criticism impairs problem-solving and what to do about it. 

  • Be aware of unhelpful relationship patterns. For example, if a friend has been ringing you every day to tell you how miserable they are, won’t try things that are likely to help their mood, and never asks about your day, you might need to figure out how you can set some boundaries and expectations without withdrawing your support.

  • You must look after yourself. Take care of your own mental health and self-care needs.

While it’s always good to help friends and family in need of support, it can be difficult to spot symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, especially from those who hide it well.

Some symptoms to look out for if you think someone close to you is struggling

  • Continuous low mood or sadness

  • Feeling hopeless and helpless

  • Having low self-esteem

  • Feeling tearful

  • Feeling irritable and intolerant of others

  • Having no interest in things

  • Finding it difficult to make decisions

  • Feeling anxious or worried

  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life

Commenting on the tips, the senior brand manager at thortful, Becky Daniels says: “With searches for supporting loved ones up so much, we wanted to share some tips on how to help one another – both in and out Stress Awareness Month. At thortful we are all about being thoughtful and considerate of the ones we love, and hope, as Spring blooms, that people will come together and spend time in each other’s company.”

If you have a friend you would love to reach out to and remind them that you’re there for them through thick and thin, why not send them a lovely thoughtful card?

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