The basics

When it comes to supporting someone struggling with mental health, sometimes the best things you can do are the seemingly most mundane. Doing a load of laundry hardly feels heroic. However, meal prep, washing dishes, wiping down counters, and mopping floors are all tasks that can feel impossible during a depressive episode or anxiety experience.

Ironically, asking what you can do to help may not be the most helpful, because the person living with a mental health challenge may find it overwhelming. Consider asking if you may do some of the basic things that need doing in day-to-day life. For example, “May I put up some nutritious meals in your freezer?” Make sure there are simple instructions included for reheating and serving. “May I start the laundry? Is cold wash, normal cycle, OK?” is another good one. You can also try, “What groceries would you like to have on hand right now?”

Laundry and dishes aren’t glamorous, but they’re important. Helping to foster a sense of normalcy and order amidst chaos by doing the basic activities of living may be the most kind, generous, and noble thing you can do.

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