It’s challenging to have a good day these days: the news is dire, the weather is changing, the days are growing shorter, and practically everyone you know is struggling with the extended, physical isolation that healthcare professionals have recommended we continue as the pandemic stretches on. Every time you head out to the grocery store, the gas station—or socially distant from others at the local park for some fresh air—you wave to people from six-feet away, hoping that you’ve helped them smile under their masks. When it comes to supporting your closest family and friends through these times, it can be difficult to know how to behave, and even more difficult to know what to say. Here at Minky Mamas, we know all about the importance of providing something comforting under moments of extreme stress. We asked some of our Minky Mamas craftspeople—the outstanding “Mamas” that sew love into every stitch of our custom blankets—what types of words provide the most support and comfort in the face of challenges. Sometimes, Less is More When a friend confides their troubles to you (and you feel that you’re unable to respond with anything particularly helpful or applicable), sometimes it’s okay to say nothing. In these moments, the best thing you can do is let your loved ones know that their feelings are normal. Actively listen to them whenever they open up, but there’s no reason to pry or force out information. Just keep your ears open. No Need for “Abra Kadabra” There are no “magic words” that alleviate emotional distress. You will not have the answers all the time, and you shouldn’t hold yourself to that standard. You will not be able to understand their particular struggle if you’ve never been through it yourself. The best you can do is to reaffirm your presence and your willingness to listen. No Empty Promises Don’t make promises you aren’t confident you can keep. You don’t have to be the support person for everybody all the time. If you’re going to help somebody through a difficult time, you must stay honest with them. For example, instead of promising to meet up when you’re not sure you’ll have time, promise only what you can deliver: a phone call, a Zoom meeting, or a text. It’s Not About You Try to avoid talking about your own experiences and stories when your loved one opens up: remember, every situation (and the person responding to it) is vastly different. Instead, validate their feelings, then simply listen. Try: “you have every right to feel that way right now,” especially when they’re frustrated with a difficult challenge. Love is a Verb Actions. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of saying the right thing but simply doing something special. Sometimes just making a cup of tea or hot chocolate, or picking up some food, and making them comfortable, is a clear sign to them that they are safe, supported—and most of all—cared for. If you’d like to send a comforting gift to a friend or loved one in need, contact Minky Mamas today for a custom, handmade, microfleece blanket: a Minky Mamas blanket is love you can feel. It’s the hug you can’t give, at least not for now. It’s a symbol of happiness, comfort, and security.