Be kind - Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18 - 24 May and this year the theme is kindness. This article from Inspire reminds us of the positive impact acts of kindness can have on our community, our household and ourselves.

Now is the time, to recognise the strength kindness can bring into our lives and to tap into and trust in our common humanity. When we focus on kindness, we make a positive impact on ourselves and on each other. We are now, on a daily basis, showing strength in kindness by staying home and respecting social distancing rules.

Strength in community kindness

Kindness is contagious – by being kind, we also have the opportunity to impact someone else’s day. Something as simple as smiling at others or saying hello can help turn a bad day into a bright day.

  • Connect and check in with a work colleague, your friend or neighbour – a simple text or email to ask how they are can make a real difference and start a conversation.
  • If you can, why not give to your local foodbank or local charity?
  • Volunteer your time – check in with local organisations who may need support during this time. Even mow your neighbour’s lawn or get some shopping for a family member.

Strength in kindness in your household

Since lockdown began, we have been told, ‘Stay at Home’ and that action in itself is an act of kindness to all those around us. Particularly as more of us are working from home, in your household, no matter what your situation, you can create a kind space for people to relax, be honest and connect.

  • Talk to your kids about kindness and compassion; spend time telling stories of people who changed the world or make art to bring a smile to your family and friends.
  • Take a walk together, stop worrying about the dishes in the sink or the laundry that needs hung. We all know the important link between your mental health and physical health, therefore it is important to pause, get some fresh air and just be.
  • If someone else is working in another room, check in on them from time to time – offer to make them a cup of tea or coffee and stop for breaks together for a chat.

Not every household is a safe space. Domestic abuse helplines offer much needed support, advice and referral for all victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Northern Ireland. In NI, call Nexus on 0808 802 1414 or in ROI, call Women’s Aid on 1800 341 900 or Men’s Aid on 01 554 3811.

Strength in kindness to yourself

Being kind is courageous. Have the courage to be kind to yourself as well as others.

  • Use whatever space and time you have to reach out and connect safely with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours – these simple small acts of kindness are good for your wellbeing.
  • Feeling good about yourself, recognising and accepting who you are and what you are great at – whether in your work or personal life – all helps boost your confidence. Remind yourself how capable you are.
  • Reflect on your happy memories, this will trigger a sense of happiness and positive mental thoughts.
  • Write down three of your strengths, challenge negative thoughts – self-worth and self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn. Be proud of who you are.

With kindness comes hope, and with hope comes the strength to overcome these hard times together.

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