To help a friend, family member, or partner who is going through a tough time, you might show up at their apartment with pizza, or demand they come with you on an early morning run — anything to boost their mood and keep their mind off things. But if you're looking for other ways to show you care, or happen to be far away, there are quite a few texts you can send someone who's stressed, that'll also do the trick.
might not text back right away, especially if they're knee-deep in a tough project at work, figuring out something in their personal life, or feeling overwhelmed in general. And that's OK. It doesn't mean they didn't appreciate your message, or that it wasn't helpful.
seeing a text or two roll in often makes all the difference when you're in a bad mood. "Showing interest and concern can, by itself, decrease stress," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. Your text will serve as a quick reminder that they aren't alone and that they have a support system, which is always comforting when life feels out of control.
Below you'll find therapist-approved sample texts to consider sending someone who's stressed, based on the situation.
"I'm here for you day or night, no matter what!" Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images
If someone in your life needs a lot of extra attention right now — maybe because they keep getting sucked into
stressful family arguments, and really need to vent about it — this will be the best text to send.
"It's a simple, affirming reminder that the person is on your mind and that you are truly available to listen and offer support," Manly says. And that can come as a huge relief, especially if they feel like their problems are pushing people away.
"I want to help. Lemme know what you need!"
Pizza, morning runs... these may be your go-to ways of combatting stress. But it's important to remember that not everyone reacts to stress in the same way,
Dr. Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle.
Your friend might prefer to stay in and watch movies, as a way to unwind. Or they might even want to be left alone! Support them by asking and finding out exactly what they might need from you, so you can be as helpful as possible.
"Want to get together for tea tonight?"
That said, if you think this person is too stressed to ask for help, don't hesitate to offer a suggestion. Mull over various relaxing options, like meeting up for coffee or tea, and then send along one concrete plan, Manly says. That way, all they have to do is show up.
"I know you have a lot going on. Thinking of you!"
This text is a simple way to validate the other person's experience, Klapow says, and show they're on your mind — without adding to their overwhelm or making them feel as if they need to respond.
"Remember it's OK to take a break <3" Phynart Studio/E+/Getty Images
It also can help to remind a stressed-out person that it's
OK to slow down, to take a break, and to put themselves first, especially if you've spotted a pattern where they're always working late or taking care of others.
"People who are feeling stressed out often sacrifice themselves physically and emotionally," Klapow says, so this text will give them permission to do what they already know they need to do.
"I heard that Fleetwood Mac song today and it made me think of you!"
Of course, you don't have to make all of your texts about stress. In fact, it can be helpful to talk about something else for a change, including little things that might brighten their day.
"It could be that you heard a song, saw a dog, ran into a mutual acquaintance,"
Katie Sammann, LMFT-Associate, a licensed therapist, tells Bustle. If you think of them, let them know. Just be sure to keep it positive. "Take a deep breath."
According to Manly, this text can serve as an actionable
self-care reminder — one that can instantly provide relief to anyone who's overwhelmed. Send it if you detect someone close to you is spiraling into a stress vortex. *Insert funny meme*
If you're at a loss for what to say, you can always fall back on sending a favorite meme, Sammann says. Pick one that's particularly funny, or one that's a call-back to an inside joke. If they've been stressed out lately, they'll definitely appreciate the laugh.
"I'm proud of you!"
Coping with stress is hard and it takes up a lot of energy, so let your partner, family member, or friend know you're well aware of what they're going through and that you're proud of them, Sammann says. It sounds so simple but it really can mean a lot.
"I'm at Trader Joe's. Need anything?" Somyot Techapuwapat/Moment/Getty Images
If you're worried about your texts sounding too vague or non-committal, Sammann says, come through with a specific way you're able to help. Can you pick up a few groceries? Walk their dog? Drop off their mail? Let them know.
"Let me know when you're ready to talk."
If someone's stressed, they may not have the bandwidth to respond to a text. So if it's been a minute and you haven't heard back, follow up and let them know you'll be down to talk whenever they're ready,
Beverely Andre, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
That way, they know you're there waiting in the wings, but that it's also OK if they can't expend any energy right now coming up with a response.
"Want to talk tonight at 8?"
You can also text and offer to do a phone or Zoom call at a later date, if that feels right. Suggest a time — then sit back and listen to whatever they have to say, without offering advice or passing judgment.
"It'll give them an outlet to vent, to talk about their stress, to process what may be going on," Klapow says. "All of that can be extremely helpful in
reducing their feelings of stress." "Remember, you are loved and supported <3" "I've been there and I know it's hard."
While you'll want to keep the focus on the person who's stressed, it can help to admit you've been there, too — as a way of saying "you're not alone." Because going through challenges in life can be very isolating, Andre says, "it is important to show to your friend that they are part of a supportive community."
"I was just thinking of our road trip plans, and it made me smile :)" Ivan Pantic/E+/Getty Images
Kimberly Dwyer, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, connection is everything for people who feel stressed, which is why you'll want to remind your friend that they 1) aren't alone and 2) have social things to look forward to in the future.
Remind them of your upcoming road trip, or anything else you've been planning. It'll provide their brain with a welcome break from mulling over their problems.
"Just about to drop off cookies at your door!"
As Dwyer says, you might also want to send a non-committal text like this one, as a way of offering support, without adding to a friend's stress.
Simply send the text, set the food (or whatever else) down outside, and go on your merry way. It'll be a godsend for anyone who needs a little love, but you think doesn't want to hang out IRL right now.
"It won't be like this forever!"
Depending on what your loved one is going through, it might help to remind them they won't be this stressed forever, and that there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
"In the midst of struggle, it can be hard to see the finish line,"
Darcie Brown, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "This reminder is meant to trigger the positive feelings that there will be an end to this hard time." "Let me know if you need help finding a therapist."
If their stress is extra bad enough, they might
benefit from finding a therapist, but also might be in a place mentally where doing that research and scheduling an appointment likely feels impossible. So don't hesitate to step up, Brown says, and help them out. "Omg, that's really frustrating."
The way you respond to their texts is important, too. Because a stressed-out person might not want advice, as much as they just want to vent. And knowing the difference is key.
Julia Koerwer, LMSW, tells Bustle, sometimes just saying "that sounds frustrating" is the best way to help them feel seen and understood. “Just remember how much you’ve helped me in the past” LeoPatrizi/E+/Getty Images
Dr. Brenda Wade suggests sending a text that reminds them of all the times they’ve helped you in the past. “[It] acknowledges that we all have good days and bad days,” she tells Bustle. “In addition, it lets them know they have value.” “I love XYZ about you.”
Another way to remind them of their success and value is by sending a text that points to a specific thing you love about them. As psychotherapist
Kimberly Perlin, MSW, LCSW-C says, “People respond best to positive feedback that is specific.” Say something like “I adore your tenacity” or “The way you handle situations like this is inspiring.” “What would make this situation better. Anything?”
“Sometimes anxiety blocks our thinking to the extent that we are unable to problem-solve,” says psychologist
Dr. Karen Weston. “Frequently, however, the solution to our difficult situation is simple and right at hand.”
To figure it out, send a text and start sussing it out. “Encourage them to identify what they need to reduce or even eliminate their worry,” Weston says. While you don’t have to single-handedly rescue them, knowing that you have their back can be a huge relief.
“That sounds like a lot, I’m so sorry.”
According to licensed clinical psychologist
Dr. Nancy Irwin, validation is everything, so go ahead and agree that what they’re going through really does sound like a lot. Not only will they feel better knowing their struggles are seen and heard, “validating their situation and feelings can help them move through the stress better,” she tells Bustle. “Hi, here’s your daily reminder that you’re amazing!”
This simple text is another way to show gentle support. “You don’t want to add to their stress by bombarding them,” Irwin says, “but one text here and there can be helpful.” Especially if it’s a cute reminder that they’re the best.
"This is tough, but you've handled it before." Moyo Studio/E+/Getty Images
If your loved one has handled a similar situation in the past, remind them that they got through it then, and they'll get through it now,
Heather Z. Lyons, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle.
"Reminding people of their past experiences getting through stressful moments helps trigger their sense of self-efficacy," she says, "or their confidence in their ability to perform a task or manage an experience successfully."
Experts: Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist Katie Sammann, LMFT-Associate, licensed therapist Beverely Andre, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Brenda Wade, relationship expert Kimberly Perlin, MSW, LCSW-C, psychotherapist Kimberly Dwyer, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist Darcie Brown, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Karen Weston, psychologist Julia Koerwer, LMSW, therapist Dr. Nancy Irwin, licensed clinical psychologist Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, licensed psychologist
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This article was originally published on
November 27, 2020