This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is Kindness. It’s pretty appropriate, not only because of events which have happened over the past 12 months and the strange digital world we can sometimes find ourselves in, but because right now, a little bit of kindness goes a long way.
The Mental Health Foundation tells us that kindness can also help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing* - as Joey says in Friends, selfless good deeds do not exist! But do we really want to get caught up in who should benefit from kindness… surely we all could do with some, whether it’s being on the receiving end or feeling that warm, fuzzy feeling of making someone’s day.
Kindness doesn’t have to come in grand sweeping gestures, it can be a simple smile and a bit of conversation at the checkouts, which could make all the difference to that worker after a long day. Here’s some of our top kindness tips to close out Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.
1. Here’s the Tea: is there a simpler way of showing your love than making someone a cup of tea… without them even asking for one?! If you’re lucky enough to be on lockdown with friends or family, we’ll all be feeling the strain even though we’re lucky to have company. So, just set down a cuppa in front of them if they’re in the middle of a particularly stressful day, or have just had enough of entertaining the kids. It will help, we promise!
2. The Act of Kindness: The Mental Health Foundation also tell us that doing something for someone else creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation, which is what we need right now! Maybe a random act of kindness is something you can fit in to your day, whether it’s shouting someone their Barista Bar, or leaving a bunch of flowers at their doorstep.
3. Reach Out: Do you ever stop dead in the middle of the afternoon and realise you forgot to respond to that text? Yep. We all do it. Especially when life is so distracting right now. So, we encourage you to reach out and respond. Everyone just needs that little extra bit of love right now, even if it’s just a simple “how are you today?”.
4. Volunteer or Donate: Maybe you’ve always wanted to get involved with a cause that is close to your heart and now you finally have the time? Our charities and community groups have been hit hard by this pandemic, and they need all the help they can get. We created a £20,000 Community Cashback Grant to inject some much-needed funds into those who most need it right now, we’ll give you a full update on them next week. It is incredible how they have had to diversify and adjust overnight, so let’s give them all the support we can.
5. Keep Going: Don’t just make your kindness a one week of the year thing, keep it going. As we’ve said, you don’t have to be making huge commitments or lavishing gifts on your loved ones all the time, it’s just that little extra bit of consideration, a smile and a hello. It will reap benefits for us all, and where’s the harm in that?
Remember, kindness should make you feel good, it shouldn’t exhaust you so we’re by no means saying to go and do all of the above. Choose one that works for you and your friends or family, and when we’re slightly restricted in what we can do right now, the little things will go a long way.
* Curry OS, Rowland LA, Van Lissa CJ, Zlotowitz S, McAlaney J, Whitehouse H. Happy to help? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor. J Exp Soc Psychol. 2018;76:320–9.
Post S. It’s Good To Be Good: 2014 Biennial Scientific Report on Health, Happiness, Longevity, and Helping Others. Int J Pers Cent Med. 2014;2:1–53.