6 Steps for Keeping Balanced While Helping Others

If you are helping someone else – friend, child, family member, care partner, whomever, remember: 

  1. You are doing important work in being supportive. Please remember to take care of yourself as well as of the one you intend to assist. Be aware that you are helping them in THEIR life, and it is they who must make choices and choose directions. 
  2. Write everything down. Keep a notebook & log every conversation or appointment. Jot down questions. Include all meetings and evaluations, with dates & names.
  3. Keep important names & numbers visible in your home & with you. Remember, you are not the only one who may need to know this information or to respond.
  4. Enlist help for yourself. Ask, and appreciate the assistance you receive.  Let important people know of your involvement and appreciation. They can help you think of new approaches or help relieve your burdens.
  5. Be patient. All processes take time. Take time for normal time together as well – movies, cards, pizza: whatever you both enjoy. Turn to spiritual practices, too, if these are part of your life. Remember to breathe deeply and to spend time in nature.
  6. Be sure to factor in time for you too – nights off for play, social contact, relaxation.

Adapted by Personal Safety Nets® from “When Something’s Wrong – Ideas for Families.” The Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, Toronto, ON.