Supporting a Friend during Lockdown
Lockdown has made an impact on most of our lives, particularly for those of us who have been shielding, or who live alone. As things are ever-changing, some of our friends may find it difficult to keep up with the latest developments. Arthritis Action has put together a few helpful ideas on how to support a friend who may be having a difficult time.
There are many different ways to keep connected instead of physical interaction. You can schedule a phone call, FaceTime, or WhatsApp call or try a video call, such as Zoom. Jot this into your diaries, so neither of you forget.
Regular chats can help to get a sense of how someone is really doing, and can help people feel more connected. Whether long or short, it’s good to schedule regular contact if someone you know is struggling.
Let your friend talk, focus on them and allow them to speak without judgment or interruption. Ask open-ended questions about the situation and acknowledge that it’s a really challenging time. If they do open up, it is important that you listen and give them your full attention.
Stay as you are
As things change daily, the stability of your friendship in the form it has always taken may provide great comfort for a friend. It is important to ensure you act as you usually do together. Behaving differently can make someone feel more isolated.
Random acts of kindness or a thoughtful gesture can make a huge difference to someone struggling. It is a reminder that you are thinking of them and that you care.
Plan to Meet
If they are ready, help plan a day and time to meet in person. It can be helpful and beneficial to have a focus, knowing you can do this together.
If someone you know is really struggling, you may suggest they speak to their GP, or tell them about organisations and services that may help them through their current difficulties.
Being there for each other is an important aspect of friendship. Remember, supporting a friend is a wonderful thing, but make sure you also take care of yourself during this time. Arthritis Action has put together Positive Wellbeing, a resource with accessible apps for your phone, helpful websites, interesting podcasts, and inspirational books to help you stay positive.