4 Ways to Cheer Up a Loved One Who Feels Lonely Due to Illness
July 11, 2017 is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. It is a national day to promote kindness and support someone who might be struggling financially, grieving or struggling with an illness.
There are a lot of negative effects associated with loneliness and social isolation, but we often forget to focus on the power of social support. Social support can help prevent illnesses, lower stress levels and help people live longer. If you have been diagnosed with a rare disease, one of the first words you might have used to explain how you felt is lonely.
When I was diagnosed with erythromelalgia I felt extremely alone. I kept telling my friends and family about the pain, but they couldn’t understand – but they also wanted to help.
For those friends, family members and loved ones, here are some tips on how to show your support not just on Cheer Up the Lonely Day, but any day.
1. Snail mail: Everyone loves getting mail or a package. Send a package, flowers, a letter or a postcard. It’s hard to think about your illness when you are smiling ear to ear reading a letter.
2. Random text: Send a text message saying a fun fact, funny joke or a silly picture of you and your friend. Take some time to reminisce on the good days.
3. Visit: It is always great when you can visit someone in person. Remember to ask your friend/loved one what works best for them. For me, I can’t always go out of the house because my feet will flare up, so sometimes people have to come to me. Other times, people really want to leave their home and getting out of the house is a great idea.
4. You don’t have to cheer up people: Yes. That is right. People are allowed to be sad, and it can be uncomfortable being around someone who is not “happy,” but that is when friends/loved ones need you the most. Take the time to recognize your own feelings, and why you might feel uncomfortable. Recognize those feelings and sit with them.
Lastly, try to do an act of kindness or support a friend or loved one every day, not just one day a year.
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Thinkstock photo via savageultralight.