I remember a discussion I had with one of my closest sista-friend about my fears for the aftermath of this pandemic and it focused on Mental Health and how people globally will be so affected and it is a cause of concern even arising now as I write. I worry about the Mental Health or State for All Children (in the season); I worry about the Mental State of all Key Workers and Frontliners; I worry about the Mental State for The Elderly & Vulnerable.
I Worry! I Worry!! I Worry!!!
Ironically, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place this week of 18-24 May 2020 and the theme is KINDNESS (as hosted by the Mental Health Foundation). Mental Health Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all and has been run by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has made people all over the world feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, helpless, overwhelmed, confused or angry so learning to BE KIND to yourself and others can help change that.
The theme of kindness was chosen because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. And this is so needed in these unprecedented times. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.
Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current coronavirus (COVID-19), can be scary and can affect our mental health and has changed the way we live. But while we can’t be together, we can still look out for each other. It is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
Mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. Whether you’re social distancing or self-isolating, you may be feeling anxious or stressed during this time, and that’s completely normal. There are simple steps you can take to look after your mental health and wellbeing.
- PAUSE – Breathe – Notice how you feel
- TAKE BREAKS from COVID-19 content
- MAKE time to sleep and exercise
- REACH OUT and stay connected
- SEEK HELP (if overwhelmed or unsafe)
It is safe to say that Acts of Kindness has the potential to make the world a happier and peaceful place. I particularly want to see a world where kindness is built into all of the business decisions, government policy and official systems happening globally. However, we can start by the individual commitment to showing kindness in our words and our actions.
You might want to do something for someone else or take note if you experience an act of kindness but if you are not sure where to start; here are some suggestions:
At home and in your community
- Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Post a card or letter to someone you are out of touch with
- Send flowers to a friend, out of the blue
- Find out if a neighbour needs any help with shopping
- Ring someone who is on their own, or video call them
- Send someone a handwritten thank you note
- Tell your family how much you love and appreciate them
- Help with household chores
- Offer to help an elderly or vulnerable neighbour
- Check on someone you know who is going through a tough time
- Remember to say hi to colleagues and ask how they are – whether that’s face-to-face, or virtually if you are working from home
- Offer to support colleagues who may not be familiar with videoconferencing or new software that you have already used
- Set up a virtual coffee/lunch club – with your regular colleagues and with new ones
- Have a conversation with a colleague you don’t normally talk to
- Get to know a new member of staff – it is hard to join a new workplace under these restrictions
- Lend your ear – listen to your colleague who is having a bad day
- Say thank you to a colleague who has helped you
- Praise a colleague for something they have done well
In public places
- Follow the rules on social isolation – but don’t make negative assumptions about others
- Wish a passer-by a good morning or afternoon from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more)
- Be a considerate cyclist/driver
- Pick up some rubbish lying around in the street
- Smile and say hello to people you may pass every day, but have never spoken to before from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more)
On social media
- Take time to reach out online to people you haven’t seen for a while
- Write something nice or encouraging on a post you appreciate
- Acknowledge and validate someone’s story – if they are having a difficult time you don’t have to have all the answers, sometimes a like or a brief ‘I’m sorry to hear this, is there something I can do?’ is enough to make them feel heard
- Think about what you share – look at the source of the post, and the tone. If it isn’t kind, think twice. If something could upset others and you feel you need to post it, use a trigger or content warning
- Think about your comments and replies. Try not to say nasty things, or pile on where somebody questions another person’s actions
Evidence shows that being kind really does improve your wellbeing. What’s more, the more you do for others, the more they are likely to do for you.
With this in mind, we’re suggesting that we all try to help others once a day for a week and see if it makes a difference in how we feel.
You can take joy in being deliberately kind – whether by recognising the time you have for your kids or partner, to speaking more to family or by volunteering in your community.
Try to keep track of:
- any volunteering that you’ve done
- support you’ve given to friends and family
- any random acts of kindness that you’ve carried out
- what others have done for you
- you could try keeping a gratitude journal. Write down three things you are grateful for each day, or simply say these to yourself as the day draws to a close.
We will continue to add and update the information to this page but in the meantime:
- Reflect on an act of kindness. Share your stories and pictures (with permission) of kindness during the week using #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
- Use our resources in your family, school, workplace and community to join with thousands in practising acts of kindness to yourself and others during the week
- Share your ideas on how you think we could build a kinder society that would support our mental health using #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
The Renaissance Journey continues …
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Yours in love - The Renaissance Lady ©