Practical Support During Difficult Times

We all need support during difficult times.  One of the ways we can provide or receive support during the difficult times is through practical support.  What is practical support?  Practical support is help with specific tasks.  Practical support implies some sort of action.

I recently visited my sister, who had surgery that requires a long recovery.  During my visit, I was able to do some practical things for her.  I cooked meals, vacuumed the house, and drove her places.  Not only did it help her, it also helped me.  It appears that helping others is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver.

It is obvious what the benefits are to the person receiving practical support.  But did you know how beneficial giving practical support can be to the giver?  According to research conducted by The Corporation for National and Community Service, helping others provides individual health benefits as well as social benefits.  The research revealed that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functioning, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.  So helping others can provide both mental and physical benefits.

I know from personal experience the benefits from receiving help from others as well as the benefits from providing help to others.  When I experienced the onset of postpartum psychosis, I was overwhelmed.  Not only was I trying to take care of a new baby and the household, I was suddenly forced to deal with an illness that, at the time, I had no idea it even existed.  I can tell you how very important practical support was to me during my recovery.  Family and friends stepped in to help care for my baby and me.  Without the practical support I received, it would have been very difficult to overcome the illness.

As a result of the help I received, one of my goals is to try my best to provide practical support to others, who are experiencing a difficult time.  Yes, like most of us, my free time is limited and sometimes I can only do a small task.  But even providing a meal or driving someone to a doctor appointment can make a huge difference to an individual needing practical support.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental illness, many people respond negatively to the individual experiencing mental illness.  But the reality is, that mental illness is no different than physical illness.  Practical support is important when dealing with any type of illness.  In my opinion, all individuals experiencing illness, whether mental or physical, can benefit from receiving practical support.

If you are the one in need of practical support, I encourage you not to be afraid to ask others for help.  If you are the one able to provide practical support, don’t hesitate to offer help to others.  Either way, both will benefit.  So keep in mind that since all of us experience difficulties at some point in our lives, there may be a time that you are the receiver and a time that you become the giver.

Research and Further Links:

Volunteering Produces Health Benefits

Practical Ways to Support Your Loved One

How to Ask for Help