The 18th May 2020 marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week. A yearly campaign hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the overall aim is to raise awareness and promote by driving conversations on mental health. Last year, the theme was all about body image. For 2020, the theme is all about kindness, which is all the more important during the difficult time we’re all living in. We’ve all been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and for some of us, it’s had a huge impact on our mental health, and will continue to do so long after things return to normal. That’s why it’s important in the current climate to show each other a little kindness.
The power of kindness has been shown to have benefits to our mental health and wellbeing, including reducing stress and isolation, creating a sense of belonging and improving feelings of optimism and confidence. While the coronavirus pandemic has certainly brought out the worst in some people, it’s also brought out the best. We’ve seen it through the amazing fundraising efforts of Captain Tom and the support behind him, clapping for NHS workers and through the blogging community sending each other little gifts from each other’s Amazon wish lists.
My mental health has certainly taken a hit over the last month or so, but luckily I have some wonderful friends who have been there for me and send me a few little gifts and cards, as well as my husband, who I am immensely grateful to have been isolating with. In particular, my recent lockdown themed birthday was amazing and was only made possible through the effort and hard work of my family and friends.
So, in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week, I’m sharing my three top tips for showing kindness during this bloody horrible time. Not just if you have friends or loved ones living with mental health issues, but to anyone you know who may be struggling at the moment, or someone you think deserves a little pick-me-up.
Three Small Acts of Kindness You Can Show During Mental Health Awareness Week (and Beyond!)
Pick Up the Phone
At a time where we physically can’t see our friends and loved ones, it doesn’t mean we can’t still keep in contact. Calling a friend or family member even if it’s only for five minutes just to check in, can make such a difference and will put a smile on their face. If the option’s there, why not go a step further and do a video chat? It’s of course not the same as seeing them for real, but it’s the next best thing!
Message a Friend You Haven’t Spoken To in a While
We all have those friends that we end up losing touch with every now and again – we don’t mean to do it, but often life gets in the way. During a period where we’ve all got a bit of free time, it’s the perfect excuse to get in touch again. Just sending someone a quick WhatsApp or Facebook message to ask how they’re doing can really make someone’s day, particularly if they’re having a tough time.
Send Them a Little Something
There’s nothing better than receiving a little something in the post to bring a smile on your face. We’ve all seen the kindness being spread on Twitter with the Amazon wish list threads, and it’s a lovely way to make someone smile. Of course it’s not an option for everyone, particularly if funds are a bit tight, but if you’re able to, sending a loved one a little something will be a great way to cheer them up. Whether you treat them by sending something from an online gift website, or perhaps even make them a little care package of sweet treats and such, it’s the best way to send a little cheer! Just make sure you follow the social distancing rules if you’re dropping anything off!
Now is an important time as ever to show some kindness, especially if you know someone who’s having a particularly tough time. Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect time to get involved, and there’s plenty of ways that you can do so, with everything from raising funds to joining in on social media. Make sure to share your efforts on social media too, and use the hashtags #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek!
Images from the Mental Health Foundation.