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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
fandomqueen Offline
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Helping a friend - July 25th 2020, 11:41 PM

Hey guys!

So my best friend is someone who holds herself to very high standards in terms of academics and is extremely prone to prioritizing work over her health. I know sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice some sleep when a lot of work is piled on at once, but she does it frequently. As many people, being at home for the last few months has practically made her nocturnal.

This alone is not what concerns me. She is currently applying to med school along with taking a course online and has had breakdowns occasionally. I also know she has had some in the past over coursework as well. I worry deeply about her, especially knowing that the stress will get amped up quite a bit in med school.

I do not know how to express to her that learning how to manage stress and start prioritizing her health is crucial. I know she will succeed in med school, but I don't want to see her completely sacrifice her own health and sanity to do it. I know stress coping isn't easy and especially in today's world having the occasional breakdown is, unfortunately, common.

First, I want to ask if it is even my place to do anything. I've definitely expressed concern before but never in a super serious way. Am I in my rights as her best friend to tell her she should consider developing some healthier mindsets/habits? And if I am, how do I bring this up? I don't want to sound condescending, insensitive or sound like I'm trying to be a therapist.

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you! <3
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Re: Helping a friend - July 26th 2020, 12:58 PM

Thanks for reaching out and it's so nice of you to care so much about your best friend. You've asked all the right questions too! Correct, you do not want to be condescending or try to sound like a therapist. Remember, the choices she makes are ultimately hers; you can only do so much, so please remember that. I wouldn't be too harsh or critical of her choices, but just stand on the sidelines and let her know (but don't do it often!) that you are there for her if she ever needs a friend to speak to or a shoulder to cry on. Don't use those words exactly, because then she'd get the impression you don't believe she can actually achieve her dreams. I would pretty much try to stick to what you've been doing as friends for years; right, she is going to get overwhelmed with medical school and everything else she has to do, but still be that friend you've been for all these years.

Additionally, perhaps try talking about these things now and not when she's started school.

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Re: Helping a friend - July 27th 2020, 03:08 AM

Hello there,

It's great to hear you wish to help your friend. It goes to show you are a caring and wonderful person. As Serendipity mentioned, maybe remind your friend that you'll always be there for her if she ever needed someone to vent to. Could you possibly help here when she has a lot of work? I hope this helped.

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Re: Helping a friend - July 27th 2020, 08:09 AM

Hi there,

Thank you so much for reaching out to us here on TeenHelp. First of all, I want to take a moment to appreciate how thoughtful you're being about your best friend.

To directly answer your question on whether it's your place to give her advice - OF COURSE it is! You're her best friend, love, and isn't this what best friends do for each other? Like the above users mentioned, ultimately she'll make her own choices as it's her life, but you have every right to advise her out of care.

Perhaps what you could do is bring up this conversation the next time you meet or call. Tell her that you really admire how hardworking and determined she is, but tell her that you're worried that she's compromising her health for her future. You may clarify that you wish her success in every venture, but as a friend, it is concerning to see her use up all her energy in the process. Also, you might want to give her some suggestions as to how she can better manage her time and maintain some work-life balance, while not changing any of her goals? As a very academically-driven person myself, I can share some tips I use:

- Have a checklist of items for study planned for each day (even when it's not exam time, or anything), and call it a day once they're done. This way, you have work-life balance in a single day, yet you're being super productive. This is useful for people who are disciplined when it comes to their work, which your friend definitely seems.

- Wake up early to study rather than stay up late. This is helpful as it gets you to finish your work for the day earlier as well, so that you not only have some time for yourself but also gives you the chance to go to bed early. This enables one to get 7-8 hours of complete sleep too.

- Having a timetable planned based on the Eisenhower matrix (http://www.mytimemanagement.com/time...-students.html). In fact, you can just share this with her casually, like "Hey, I recently came across this thing, and it might be useful for busy people like you," and it might just do the trick if she is interested.

Seriously, I swear by these tips, which allow me to have sufficient me-time, get enough sleep and still get straight A's. You can share these in conversation with her; whether she follows them or not would be up to her, but at least you've given her some options.

I cannot emphasise how important it is for goal-driven students to prioritise their health, or else, it will lead to breakdown. I think you're absolutely justified for being worried about her mental/physical health. Just talk to her patiently, and don't worry if she gets a bit restless/indignant. It's natural for her to react that way, but your talk will still get her thinking about her routine. And like the above users mentioned, you can tell her that you're always there to support her, so if she needs any sort of help, she can rely on you. I'm sure she'll appreciate it

Good luck!
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