Things to Say to a Loved One Who is Struggling

Written by: Amanda Levison,M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT


Navigating feelings can be challenging but trying to navigate someone we love can be even more challenging. Often, individuals cannot find the right words to say to someone going through a challenging time. Whether that individual is a sibling, a parent, a child, a coworker, or a close friend, it's not easy, and we want to support them. Taking steps to validate their feelings, ease their load, and communicate that they are not alone are ways to help them during difficult times. Here are some helpful phrases to share with a loved one who may be struggling:


“Let’s take a break.” This simple phrase can ease the load on many individuals. For example, children who are struggling with schoolwork may need an adult in their life to encourage them to take a break. For a parent, it may be encouraging one another to take a step out and get some coffee or asking a coworker to grab lunch when you can visually see they are overwhelmed. There are many scenarios and ways to incorporate “let’s take a break” into our everyday lives.


“It is okay to ask for help.” In the middle of feeling overwhelmed or anxious, using this phrase may not be ideal, but it also will remind those around us we support them. We are there for them, and we are ready to show up when they need us.


“You can talk to me about anything.” Often this is said to individuals who are struggling because we want them to feel supported and have a safe place to talk about anything. Showing up and reminding them that they have a listening ear may provide the comfort they need. Sometimes individuals may need a little guidance with their thoughts and what they want to talk about. A simple question to ask someone could be, “tell me what you’re thinking about right now.” Keeping it short and straightforward.


“You do not have to go through this alone.” At the moment, the individual may feel like they are going through this alone, and no one understands, but this is when we can validate their feelings and remind them, they are not alone. It may be saying, I will pick up pizza tonight, or I can pick up the kids. Assisting them in something may ease their load and feelings that may be overwhelming their thoughts. This can also help if they are experiencing the anxiety by going through the holiday stress during a pandemic situation.


“I will check in on you tomorrow.” This statement is crucial because it gives someone who is struggling the validation that someone cares and is there for them. It may be a simple “thinking of you” text message or quick phone call to check-in, but it may reassure those struggling.


Supporting someone who is struggling is difficult, especially when one may say they are “okay” or “I do not need help,” but in those moments is when it is essential to continue showing up and being there. Whether it is providing a listening ear, picking up the kids, making dinner, grabbing a coffee, or suggesting taking a break, these small gestures may help ease the load on someone who feels like the world is crashing down around them.


If you or a loved one is struggling, the team at the Neurofeedback and Counseling center of PA is here for you. You can either schedule an online counseling session or live therapy sessions. Feel free to contact us at (717) 202-2510 or by email at info@neuroandcounselingcenter.com.



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