Trying to help a friend through a tough time can be hard on you, too. After hearing about your friend’s feelings, it is common to feel shocked, sad, scared or overwhelmed but it’s impossible to help other people if you can’t first care for yourself. Here are some ideas to help you look after yourself:
Listen to your feelings. Acknowledge how you’re feeling – including what makes you comfortable and uncomfortable about the situation.
Talk to someone you trust. If you’ve had a similar experience to the one your friend is having, it might bring up old feelings for you. It’s important that you have emotional support from the people around you so that you can continue to be a support for your friend. And while you don’t have to tell this person exactly what your friend is going through, it might also be helpful to seek advice on how you can help your friend.
Take time out for yourself. It’s great to talk to others about how you’re feeling, but it’s also important that you have time alone to reflect on what you’re going through.
Recognize your limits. Your friend is lucky to have you! But even though you’d like to do everything in your power to help your friend,sometimes it’s important to acknowledge that some factors are out of your control or comfort zone. Remember that staying within your boundaries doesn’t make you any less of a friend.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.