Health issues can be some of the most challenging topics to broach with a loved one, especially when you feel like they're not taking good care of themselves. Should you tell them? Should you leave them to figure out what they need on their own? It can be tough to decide how, when, and where to have that conversation. You have to toe the line between expressing concern as a form of love and care and being intrusive and controlling—this isn't always easy!
There are various reasons to be concerned enough about a loved one's health to consider talking to them. You may notice that they seem weary, gain or lose weight too quickly, overstress, or feel sick more often than usual.
It's not easy watching a loved one's health or diet slip through the cracks. And even though it may seem like you're being a nag, it is sometimes crucial to help them navigate their way out of certain unhealthy traps. It's easy to neglect hard conversations because you don't want to upset your loved one or cause them to push you away defensively. Still, it is more important to find a way to help them stay healthy.
Cultivating this type of conversation will take courage and tact on your part, but once you get through to your loved one and begin to help, it will all be worth it. Topics like weight and diet can be particularly tough to bring up. So, how do you approach your loved one with compassion, understanding, and encouragement while still being able to communicate your genuine concerns? Here are some tips to help you out.
The hardest part about having challenging conversations with a loved one can be figuring out how to start. Try to choose a time when you're relaxing together or maybe out to lunch or for a coffee. Creating a safe space to initiate conversation is a must. Start slow and try bringing up the issues you have noticed them feeling or exhibiting gently and empathetically.
Once you have started the conversation and have a dialogue going, there are many turns it can take. Hopefully, your loved one has also been considering what to do for their health, but it may turn out that they have been blind to their changes and choices or still in denial. Again, remember to keep your emotions in check as you continue the conversation.
Continue to coax them with questions and be aware of your tone. Even something as small as your body language could change the course of the conversation. Remember, you want to create a safe space to discuss their health because you love them and want to see them get better.
Now that you have had an open and honest conversation with a loved one about their health and they have agreed that it is something they want to work on, how do you actually help them? The help you can offer here will depend on the situation, but there are many ways to guide them. Here are a few ideas:
So, the takeaway here is that if you’ve noticed that a loved one is struggling with their health, there are many ways to have a conversation with them to help them decide to improve their health. It's important to stay respectful of boundaries and empathetic. But it's just as essential to help them live a happy, healthy life without overstepping, nagging, or blaming them for their problems. Keep an open mind and an open heart, and there’s a better chance your loved one receives your words and offers of help with open arms and an open mind.
Remember that helping loved ones care for their health is a good thing—but you can't always do it alone! Sometimes, they may need a few resources to manage their mental health or an expert like a registered dietitian to help curate the perfect diet and lifestyle plan. Often, they're likely to want to go through a few resources on their own after that initial push in the right direction.
Remember that the best thing you can do is be a pillar of support for however they choose to start their journey towards better health. And if you want to help them track and document their lifestyle choices and dietary health, check out our CGM or Nutrition Coaching Programs.
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