With recent government announcements making this Christmas even more challenging, it is the perfect time to check in with friends and family. If you notice someone behaving differently or being distant, it’s a good idea to see if there’s anything you can do to help. When we say ‘check in’ with loved ones this Christmas, we don’t just mean a quick phone call. When you ask someone how they are, ask with purpose.
It seems the easier option for many of us to say we are ‘fine’ with a half-smile on our face but if someone does need a helping hand be prepared to really listen.
Sometimes we think that sharing our own experiences and thoughts on a situation is the best thing to do, but often the most helpful thing is to provide space for someone. There isn’t a perfect way to start a conversation but whenever we are hearing how someone is, give the person the time they need to share their story. We’ve researched a few ways that we think will help you check-in with someone:
- Explain you have noticed a change in them and wanted to make sure their spark was lite
- Avoid questions with yes or no answers by asking open questions where people can talk about their life freely
- Don’t shut down someone is saying and say, ‘it’s fine’ – although the person to feel their emotions and be reassured it is okay to not be okay
- Create a ‘we’ vibe – if you want to help someone feel better, be inclusive of yourself in the solution with phrases like ‘How can we change your negative thoughts’ or ‘Together we can work on making things better’
Even if someone is okay, we can always reaffirm their importance to us and how they are appreciated. Someone may also not be ready to talk and that is okay too, as long as you remind them you are there for them, the first step is better than no step. See our list below for ways to send a little love to someone:
- Make a care package of some goodies
- Send a post card or a homemade card to remind someone you are there for them
- Write a letter/appreciation note on the back of a photo and send it to that person
- Set a challenge to do together and check your progress each day, it may be something as simple as drinking 2L of waters a day or practicing 15 minutes of Yoga or writing a daily gratitude list!
- Call someone on zoom and propose you both dance to one of your favourite songs, simply letting go yourself may help someone let go of their struggles or let go of the fear to share their story
On the flip side, when someone asks, “How are you?” they really care about the answer. It is okay to be vulnerable and lean on your friends and family or look for support from those around you. The new era we live in allows us to be transparent so don’t let the stigma stop you from sharing your story.
Checking in with each other is important, and particularly at the moment when it is easy to hide away in our lockdown bubble. Don’t take each other for granted and remember to really ask “How are you?”
Whatever you’re going through, there are people you can talk to any time. You can: