Understanding and Showing Compassion for Others Not Coping Well

When a crisis happens, like this Covid-19 virus, we come face to face with our own vulnerability, our own mortality, and our own lack of control over events. What can we do to support those whom we love who are not coping well? Allow me to give a few suggestions that might help. Remember that the 2-metre distancing rule still ought to be maintained with those not from your household.


Listen to each other and hear the pain, the anguish, and the concern that is voiced under the words that are spoken. Often the words are spoken with a hint of anger but deep down inside there are deep concerns. These concerns can be debilitating, making every decision a monumental struggle. Showing understanding and compassion through listening actively allows the person not coping well the assurance that there are those that care and are willing to walk beside them through the difficult times of their life.

Do some activity

After listening to someone not coping well, going for a walk, whether along the street or through some open area allows the person to witness the resilience of nature. The fresh air, the camaraderie of a good friend, and the warm sun washing over their face ought to give them a sense of peace, knowing that, though things are not in their control, there is a sense of permanence in nature.

Create something. Whether building a birdhouse, cleaning out a messy garage or planting a garden, the physical activity of actually doing something allows one the sense they are involved in making the world a better place to live.

Together create a meal or some kind gesture for a neighbor or older friend that is need.


Yoga: allow the body and the mind to rest. YouTube would have some good videos to watch that could provide guidance to make the yoga experience as good as possible.

Allow the person to sit quietly on a park bench or in the back yard, close their eyes and listen to the sounds of nature. Bird calls, animal sounds and insects buzzing are all soothing reminders that life is precious, and each moment needs to be treasured.

Ponder a favourite poem or a favourite saying, letting the words of the poem or the saying enter the heart and the mind, pushing out the concerns and worries of the day.

Read aloud to each other, whether from a book of poems or from some other book of sayings. There is much reassurance that comes from the experiences of others who have ventured into the unknown before.


Encourage the person not coping well to write their thoughts, feelings, memories, and anxieties down on paper. Set a timer for two reasons: 1. They do not write for too long or 2. If the thoughts and words do not come right away, there is an end to the writing and the strain.

Stick with them in love, now is when the person needs you more than ever.

John Siebenga, MEd MCS RCC

Walmsley EFAP