The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is Kindness. Which feels even more appropriate now than ever, during this global pandemic.
The Mental Health Foundation say that being kind to others can have a number of benefits to our mental health:
- Creates a sense of belonging
- Helps us feel less isolated
- Reduces stress
- Deepens friendships
- Makes us feel more connected
So not only is it nice to be the receiver of a kind gesture, it can also have a positive impact on the person offering kindness too.
In this blog I will be sharing 7 ideas for acts of kindness – one for every day of this week – to help you think about some of the simple things you can do to be kind to others.
But, of course, don’t feel pressured to do all of these, you could maybe just pick the one that resonates with you the most. Although it is Mental Health Awareness week, remember we can be kind to anyone, at anytime.
Acts of kindness can have a lasting impact – the kind that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside when we think about it!
So whenever you choose to get involved, here are 7 days worth of ideas for sharing kindness with others…
Day 1: Saying “Thank You”
Saying “Thank You” can be such a simple thing, but something that can make a big difference to someone’s day.
A heartfelt “Thank You” can go a long way to someone, especially at the moment for those who are continuing to work and support the country during the pandemic.
You only have to think of the recent #clapforourcarers 8pm clap to see how much this can have an impact.
Knowing that they are appreciated can make someone feel happier and more connected.
So don’t forget to give a big “Thanks” to your postie when they drop off your next Amazon parcel, or make a point of saying “Thank you” to the person who serves you in the supermarket.
Day 2: Send Something
As we are all spending time apart from loved ones right now it feels more important than ever to remind each other that we’re thinking of them.
Receiving a card or note randomly in the post can make somebody’s day and can serve as a little reminder that they are cared about.
If you’re feeling a bit more generous, I’m sure I can’t speak for just myself to say that receiving flowers or a little treat in the post brighten up my day!
Day 3: Offer Help
Whether it’s helping the people you live with around the house or supporting vulnerable individuals in the community, there are many ways you can offer help to others.
Think about the ways in which you can offer help to others around you.
You could offer to pick up some groceries for someone who is shielding and unable to go out, or simply make a cup of tea for a family member – no offer of help is too small.
Day 4: Say “Hello” and Smile
Just because we’re social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t still speak to one another. Yet it feels at the moment people have become increasingly anxious about interacting with other people when out an about.
This is of course understandable, however many of us are feeling isolated at the moment and for some, getting out and about doing their daily exercise is sometimes the only interaction they are currently having with other humans.
Saying ‘Hello’ or even sharing a smile or eye contact as you pass by someone when you’re out on a walk can have a big impact on how someone can feel and can help us feel more connected.
If you feel like this is something you might feel able to do, give it a go and give someone a smile when you’re on your next walk outside.
Day 5: Donate
The recent pandemic has hit a lot of charities and support groups hard, with many struggling with funding and donations more than ever. Why not think of a cause that is important to you and see how you can help them.
You don’t necessarily need to donate money – you could donate your time by volunteering, or a number of charities need items, like foodbanks and charity shops.
Perhaps you could embrace your inner Mrs Hinch, have a spring clean and create a ‘To Go to Charity’ collection for when the shops re-open. Toiletries Amnesty are always looking for unused toiletries for people who need them and you can send these by post too! If you’re anything like me, you will definitely have a surplus of hand creams and body lotions waiting for a new home.
Day 6: Make Space to Listen
Whether it’s a virtual coffee break at work, or catching up with a friend, asking people how they are doing ‘really’ can help people feel supported and heard.
Sometimes when we’re asked how we are we can so quickly respond with ‘I’m doing ok’ or ‘I’m fine thanks’, when in fact, that’s not necessarily the case.
Ask, and then ask again “How are you doing, really?” and you’ll often find a very different answer.
Once people feel like you’re really interested to listen to how they are, they will be more willing to open up.
Day 7: Support Small and Local Business
Small and local businesses are feeling the pressure of the pandemic, with many shops having to close and find other ways to continue to make money. Many small businesses have moved their services online so you can still continue to buy products from them. But those in the service and hospitality industry are more limited in what they can do.
Buying Vouchers – Why not buy a voucher for you to use their service in the future? Giving them some much needed income right now and giving you something to look forward to for when they are able to re-open. You could even buy a friend a voucher as a birthday present, perhaps for an experience you’d like to share with them in the future.
Raise Awareness – Instagram have launched a tag to promote your favourite small businesses. Why not give your favourite coffee or gift shop a shout out to help them out?
Choosing just one of the above things to do can help boost your mood as well as helping the others feel good.
But remember, being kind isn’t just about other people. We often forget one very important person – US!
Being kind to ourselves is something many of us find challenging. We are often much harder on ourselves or spend our time focused on the happiness of others.
If this sounds like you, look out for my next blog which will explore ways we can be kinder to ourselves.