In times such as these, the one thing that has not been limited by the virus is our capacity for kindness. From standing on your door step clapping furiously every Thursday to walking up and down your garden on 100-year-old legs, we’ve shown as a nation our appreciation for each other in our fight to support the NHS.
Kindness doesn’t need to be a grand gesture or to raise money, it is in the simplest of acts. Taking an elderly neighbour’s bin out, checking in on someone you’ve not spoken to in a while or letting your husband practice his golf swing in your living room, that sort of thing.
Mental Health Awareness Week
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), which starts on 18 May 2020 is Kindness, and at a time when our collective humanity is being tested, celebrating something that could help us cope and recover through the strengthening of relationships and communities feels very poignant. The Mental Health Foundation has defined kindness as doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by a genuine desire to make a positive difference.Researchsuggests that acts of kindness can be beneficial for our health and that doing good does you good.
Start being nice to yourself
Small acts of kindness can exist in many aspects of our current situation and importantly, they should take place at home and as often as possible. It starts with yourself, and perhaps now you’re spending more time alone you should start being nice to you. To paraphrase (not all that well) the old saying, you can’t expect someone to be kind to you if you aren’t kind to yourself.
Are you getting enough sleep? Eating well? Drinking plenty of water? That’s your baseline. Then you can consider the extra stuff that makes you happy, write a list even. Take a minute to remind yourself of the small luxuries you enjoyed before lockdown and see where you could fit them in. Used to having a cheeky WTMS brownie or two? Find an easy recipe and make yourself some and freeze a few for when you decide you need to get out of the ‘office’.
Are you comfortable?
Make your new home office feel more comfortable, put photos on your desk or nearby walls so you’ve got something to look at. Be sure to check in to our Health and Safety assessment tool to make sure you’ve got the best possible set up.
If you’re a furloughed worker, consider ways you can keep up communications with your colleagues and other furloughed staff, such as a regular group call or chat. Speak to the HR department about any skills development we might be able to help you with while you are off, if you have spare time.
Volunteering improves mental health
You are also able to volunteer if your home situation allows for that without it impacting on your furlough. Giving your time to others through volunteering has been shown to improve mental health. There are many local charities and support groups who need volunteers to support vulnerable people. Please remember to consider your own needs when agreeing to anything.
Some sound advice from the Mental Health Foundation resources is to keep others in mind when considering the good deeds you could carry out, you’re doing it for their benefit. At the same time, don’t overdo it or worry about not having the personal resources or headspace to think about doing things for others. Do what you can, when you can and if that means taking time to look after yourself, then that’s just fine.
Small acts of kindness have huge impacts
- Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
- Offer to send someone a takeaway or a meal
- Make a cup of tea/coffee for someone you live with
- Offer to skill share with a friend via video call – you could teach guitar, dance etc.
- Arrange to have a video lunch with a colleague
Dedicated RCS wellbeing platform
Tomark MHAW, we’ll be launching a dedicated page on ‘Wellbeing during Lockdown’ from Friday 15 May with a variety of resources and want to encourage you to think about what you might do next week to be kind to yourself and others.
Look out for the daily ‘Who Am I’ quiz which will be replacing Tip of the Week. Read the clues to identify the historic or current kindness icon, famous for their altruism or contribution to humanity.
The clues will go up throughout the day starting with the most obscure fact in the morning to the most obvious by mid-afternoon. Submit your guesses to email@example.com.
Answers will be posted at the end of the day along with the name of the person who responded fastest, so set your alarms!