At a time like this where the whole world feels uncertain, kindness is a simple, priceless and moving act. It is mental health awareness week, and kindness is fittingly this year’s theme. Kindness and our mental health are innately connected; being kind can improve others’ wellbeing as well as our own, reducing stress levels and improving mood, self-esteem and happiness.
You might be wondering how to be kind, what you can do to spread kindness… you’re in luck because there are so many ways. You can offer someone you live with a cup of tea and a chat; I always say that a cup of tea is like a warm hug. You can check up on your friend who you may not have seen for a while, ask how they are and maybe share some laughs. You can share your knowledge and offer support to those who are struggling, if you are able. These are only a few ideas; there are countless more things you can do, and you can be creative with it too.
What about being kind to yourself? This is immensely important. Being kind to yourself will allow room for happiness, positive feelings about yourself and even productivity. Working or studying from home may have proven more difficult than it seemed initially and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself by taking breaks when you need them, recharging and resting. Sometimes all you need is some time to do your own thing, whether that’s playing games, reading, exercising, napping or doing absolutely nothing (my favourite). It can be pretty difficult or disheartening to see others taking up new skills or being productive; it is important to remember that all of us are different and will have our own reaction to the new and unforeseen situation we are in. It is okay if you take this time to rest. It is okay if you don’t pick up a new talent, like juggling oranges or baking bread. Be kind to yourself.
I’m currently taking part in Miles for Mind to raise money for the mental health charity Mind, as a member of the Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology Lab. We are all passionate about supporting mental health research and resources, therefore we’re covering as many miles as we can throughout May to raise mental health awareness. This has been a wonderful experience so far; despite being apart physically, we have been able to run together for a fantastic cause, one that I hold close to my heart.
I am also taking part in Maytree Movement Marathon to raise money for Maytree’s suicide prevention work. Maytree offer 5 day-4-night house stays to people in suicidal ideation. As a volunteer befriender, I have had the pleasure of seeing the amazing and special work that Maytree does first-hand, and the hope and kindness Maytree spreads. You can keep up with all of the supporters’ journeys (and my embarrassing dancing) this week here.
Any donations you could give are appreciated, no matter how large or small – if you’d like to donate, the links are below:
Here’s to hoping that the world post-lockdown will be a kinder place to live in.
If you are struggling and need support, you can get in touch with these services and organisations which offer help and support directly:
- Talk to the Samaritans – they offer 24-hour emotional support in full confidence. You can call them for free on 116 123 / email@example.com
- Shout Crisis Text Line – you can text Shout to 85258 if you are experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support
- Rethink Mental Illness – you can call Rethink Mon-Fri 10am-2pm on 0300 5000 927 (calls are charged at your local rate) for practical advice on therapy and medication, financial issues, police, courts, prison and your rights under the Mental Health Act
- Mind – you can call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 / firstname.lastname@example.org, the Mind Legal Advice service on 0300 466 6463 / email@example.com
- Speak to somebody you trust
- Talk to your GP