Checking In On Your Loved Ones
4 Ways to Check in on Your Loved Ones This Holiday Season
When people think of mental illness, they often don’t realize that it’s not a “one size fits all” diagnosis. People struggling with symptoms of mental illness do not always look ill. They may look like the healthiest, happiest person in the room.
However, the person who always seems like the life of the party may also be the one who is battling depression behind closed doors, unbeknownst to any of their friends or family members.
This is why it’s to check in with friends and loved ones to see how they are doing: you never know what they may be struggling with. Here are a few easy ways you can check in on your loved ones and let them know they’re appreciated and supported:
1) Call or text them to see how they’re doing
If you haven’t talked to this person in a while, give them a call or a FaceTime, or even send them a text, and simply ask how they’re doing. If you feel this person has been a little distant lately, explain that you’ve been reflecting on the past few months and realized that you haven’t spoken with them in a while. Keep the conversation light hearted, and casually let them know that you’re always there for them even if you haven’t spoken in a while — and that you’ll continue to only be a phone call or a text away.
2) Send them some snail mail
We’re all missing our friends and family during these times as we’re spending much more time on our own than we’re used to. And what’s more fun than getting an unexpected package or card while we’re stuck at home? No matter what you’re age is, it’s always a small thrill to receive something in the mail, especially when it’s from a friend or family member. This doesn’t have to be a big, expensive present; a small card would be perfect. You can find a funny one at your local dollar-store for under a few dollars, or you could make one with materials you have at home! All you’ll need to do is add a stamp and sign it with love.
3) Post a throwback picture of the two of you on social media
Social media can be a dark place for a lot of people in this season. It can be so easy to compare ourselves to the happy pictures we see online, even if we’re aware that Instagram is simply a highlight reel. Breaking the cycle of scrolling through pictures can be extremely difficult, and while we at re:MIND definitely encourage you not to spend all of your free time looking at social media, we understand the reality is that most people love to browse these apps when they have some down time. So, if you have a friend that you know may be struggling with limiting their social media usage, something small you can do is bring a little bit of happiness to their app by posting a good, old-fashioned TBT with a message showing your love for them! To some, this may seem like a superficial gesture, but to that friend, it could make their entire week and show them how much you appreciate and support them.
4) When you chat, ask specific questions!
If you’re reaching out to someone you feel may be struggling with symptoms of a mental illness, asking them “how are you?” may feel like a difficult question to answer. To avoid them awkwardly responding with a vague “oh, fine” — ask specific questions! Positioning them in the middle of a sentence will be your best bet for making your questions sound conversational. Don’t be shy to make a comment about your own life and then lead into it! This will help the person you’re talking to feel like they can be honest with you. You can begin with simple, surface-level questions like:
- Have you watched any good shows lately?
- I’m looking forward to finally being able to hug my grandma when we’re all done self-isolating. What’s something you can’t wait to do when quarantine is over?
- I’m thinking of making something new for dinner tonight. Have you tried anything good recently?
And then you can dive into questions that are more deep and require more self-reflection, if your goal is to get this person to feel comfortable opening up. These can look like:
- How have you been handling quarantine this week?
- What’s something you look forward to?
- Have you been feeling like yourself lately?
Whether you’re seeing your loved ones in person or virtually, a simple, genuine conversation can do wonders. You never know how necessary your concern may be exactly what they need at that moment.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with symptoms of mental illness, especially during the holidays, don’t hesitate to ask for help or to encourage others to seek professional help if you feel that help is needed.
We encourage you to not only be kind to others, but to be kind to yourself.