How Acts of Kindness Can Help a Friend Through Illness

No one wants to see the ones they care about struggle with life’s setbacks, including an illness. Whether a loved one suffers from a physical or mental ailment, you want to support their recovery. You may not be able to always be physically present, but finding other ways to extend acts of kindness helps.

At the same time, you might be unsure of how to lend a hand and the benefits kindness brings. If this sounds familiar, don’t fret. This article outlines several pointers on supporting your friends during an illness and how your actions bring comfort. Without further ado, here they are.

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Giving Care Packages With Comfort Food Shows Thoughtfulness

When a friend is ill, they may not feel like doing much. They might find it difficult to shop and cook for themselves. Even going out to grab a bite at a nearby drive-thru could prove to be too strenuous. Care packages with comforting yet nutritious food provide some of the relief your friend needs.

Packages with get well soon gifts like soup, bread, and tea contain items friends will appreciate. When they’re under the weather, having easy-to-prepare meals supports their healing process. Not having to worry about their next meal relieves anxiety while providing them with foods known to have healing properties.

For instance, you can include chicken noodle soup and tea with honey. Care packages also let you include a personalized note to wish them well and offer additional assistance. Some gifts come with add-on options like warm socks and blankets. It’s a way to let your friends know you care even if you can’t be there with them.

Offering Services Takes Care of Everyday Chores

Food may be one of the top-ranked basic needs, but it’s not the only one. Day-to-day routines necessitate chores like cleaning, household errands, and looking after pets. A bout of sickness can easily get in the way of performing everyday chores. As these items pile up, it creates additional burdens and feelings of anxiety for someone trying to recover.

You can offer to alleviate your friend’s worries by performing the chores yourself. Alternatively, you could hire a service to perform them on your loved one’s behalf. If you don’t want to go that far, you have the option of purchasing gift certificates for personal services.

According to 2022 averages, people spend nearly two hours each day on household activities. Unsurprisingly, food prep and cleanup dominate the list. However, cleaning the inside of the home and laundry are next. Ask your friend what they need help with and see if you’re able to alleviate some of the burden. It could be mowing their lawn, hiring a maid service to keep their home tidy, or walking their dog.

Lending an Ear Provides a Safe Space

Sometimes acts of kindness involve letting someone vent. A physical illness, particularly if it’s unexpected or extended, can become a source of stress. Sickness could also contribute to a friend’s financial woes. If they don’t have adequate sick leave, the inability to work might add to debt and income instability.

While the causes of mental illness are complex, life stressors are among the contributing factors. It’s not unusual for a physical illness to intersect with the development or exacerbation of depression and anxiety. Certain injuries, including concussions, also make individuals more susceptible to developing depression/anxiety.

Having an outlet to work through feelings of fear, sadness, and anxiety without judgment provides needed emotional support. While talking to a friend doesn’t substitute for professional help, it can make someone feel better. You don’t have to offer advice or words of wisdom. Simply listening and letting someone get their feelings off their chest can be enough. Listening can validate a person’s experiences enough to make them realize they’re not alone.

Providing Breaks for Caregivers Recognizes Everyone’s Needs

Say one of your friends has an extended or serious illness that requires in-home caregiver services. These caregivers could be your friend’s family members and certified medical professionals. They could also be people without certifications who your friend has hired for assistance with basic needs.

It’s common knowledge that caregivers are vulnerable to burnout. The responsibility of looking after someone with an illness takes an emotional and physical toll. Due to their everyday tasks, caregivers may also neglect their own needs. Giving your friend’s caregivers well-deserved breaks provides them time and space to look after themselves.

For instance, you could offer to stay with your friend while their caregiver takes the afternoon off. You can also schedule these breaks on a regular, recurring basis. The time off allows caregivers to step away, tend to their responsibilities at home, and get some rest. Regular breaks also let caregivers enjoy hobbies and leisure activities. Knowing their family member or patient is in capable hands can reduce some of the guilt they may feel.

Helping Your Friend Through an Illness

Part of friendship is supporting each other, whether it’s offering to listen or lending assistance during challenging times. Knowing a loved one is going through an illness is tough. You want to see them get better, but may not know what to do.

Sometimes small acts of kindness are all you can do. Knowing how these acts help your friend makes you realize you are making a difference. You might not be able to change the illness itself, but you can demonstrate the qualities of good friendship.


Troublemaker. Wannabe music fanatic. Beer aficionado. Devoted food junkie. Twitter fan. Freelance thinker.Won several awards for analyzing sheep in Cuba. Spent 2002-2009 promoting action figures in the UK. What gets me going now is getting to know pond scum in the UK. Won several awards for investing in toy soldiers on the black market. Spent several months getting my feet wet with spit-takes in Gainesville, FL. Spent 2002-2009 testing the market for tobacco in the aftermarket.