Beautiful things often grow even in the most unusual locations and situations. Amid all the chaos, fear and stress that the coronavirus has brought, we can still see that beneath all of that the sense of community, support, hope and kindness are thriving. Perhaps now more than ever. There are many things that can affect mental health and one of those things is kindness. Being kind to or helping others is known to be good for our own mental health and wellbeing because it can help reduce stress, make one feel more positive and improve emotional wellbeing in general. Not only that, but your kindness will also help the mental health of the person receiving your gesture. It’s an incredibly positive two-way street that only has benefits. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d do my second post for mental health awareness week on the very theme that the week is centred around: kindness. Lots of us, I’m sure, want to show kindness but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming as to where to begin. That’s why today all I’ll be doing is sharing a few ideas for ways to spread the love and care. If you’re looking for inspiration for a random act of kindness then look no further!
Virtual catch-up with a friend
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean not being social at all. Being far away from pretty much everyone except the people we’re living with can lead to a lot of loneliness but that doesn’t have to be the case. Human connection is essential for our health – we are social beings after all so all of this isolation is no doubt having its toll on everyone’s mental health. If you’re feeling lonely, then no doubt your friends are too so a great act of kindness is to reach out to them. Arrange to have a virtual catch up session with them somehow. Either a cup of tea with a phone call, or a video chat that includes watching a movie you both love. Even if you call an old friend that you haven’t spoken to in ages and see how they’re doing, that will undoubtedly be a gesture that they appreciate. From personal experience, nothing makes a person feel more loved and appreciated than a friend reaching out and asking how you’re doing.
Tell someone how much you care
How warm and fuzzy do you feel when someone in your life tells you how much they love you, or appreciate you or are thankful that you are in their life? It’s almost like a fire being lit from the inside and that small amount of kindness can do so much for someone, whether they are going through something or not. So, whether it’s a family member, a friend, a work colleague or an old school teacher, send them a little message to let them know how much they mean to you. It may sound a bit cheesy, but the thing is even though we all know that we mean something to the people in our lives, it always feels nice when they remind you just how much.
Send a little love
Nothing says you care more than a tiny olive branch of love. For someone feeling down, a picture of a cute animal may be the highlight of their day. For someone struggling with work/school during this rather unconventional situation, sending them an inspirational text or quote or even a little joke to try and lighten the mood may be exactly what they need. Spreading kindness isn’t meant to be a big thing, more just a bunch of little things that you can do to show someone that they aren’t alone and that someone is thinking about them.
Share the load at home
With everyone being stuck at home, I’m sure there are more than a few individuals who would sooner never see a dirty dish or laundry ever again. Sure, household chores are something we all had to do before lockdown but I think the cabin fever makes those chores even worse. Plus, with all the uncertainty and struggles with working from home, I’m sure all the people who need to include house chores to their list of things to do are begging for a small reprieve. So, a great little random act of kindness to try at home is to share the workload. Do the dishes without being asked, or offer to do the laundry. Even better, if one of your parents is the regular cook for the house, why don’t you make dinner for the family to give them a bit of a break? Those small actions will probably make such a huge difference because you are lifting the stress off someone else and we all know what a negative impact stress is on mental health. So, doing dishes for your parents = less stress for them = happier parents = more possible positives for you and less tension in the house in general. Doesn’t that sound awesome??
Send something sweet to someone struggling
I was catching up on one of my favourite YouTube channels the other day and they said they’d started doing something fun with a group of their friends once a week. To lift the stress of cooking and the subsequent clean up, they sent takeaway meals to one another. How fun does that sound? So that got me thinking, sending a meal to someone else is a great way to show kindness and lift a little stress off someone who may be struggling. If you have neighbours or friends who you know could be struggling to cope with everything they need to get done in a day, I’m sure that them receiving a meal (one they don’t have to cook and they didn’t pay for) will feel like a miracle or a blessing. You could also share your skills online (i.e. if you know of a friends child who is bored at home and wants to learn music and you happen to play you could offer to teach them.) or simply reach out to help those around you in any way you can. These are difficult times and now more than ever we need to think of our communities and do what we can to share the problems we are all facing.
Donations or care packages
If you don’t know anyone in particular who might be struggling or if you want to expand your kindness bubble, you could always help out the greater community. For example, you could make care packages for disadvantaged families, make sandwiches and drop them off at homeless shelters or charities, or just give a fruit to someone on the side of the road. We buy some extra groceries each week and then my mom gives out loaves of bread with peanut butter and jam bottles on her way home from work. You could also donate to a foodbank, or any charitable organisation, if that is something you’d prefer. Since the lockdown, more and more people are losing jobs and battling to make ends meet more than ever. Poverty levels are rising and so sharing a little kindness in this way, by helping someone you don’t know and helping them get through this disaster for a little longer, is the only way our communities are going to outlast this pandemic.
Random warm fuzzies
I’ve been following the videos from the Mental Health Foundation on Facebook and the video I watched today brought tears to my eyes. A mom had to close her business due to the pandemic and so what she and her kids did while stuck at home is they decided to spread as much love and kindness as they could and they did this by sending out kind messages, care packages and positive drawings (done by the children) to people. This reminded me of the warm fuzzies from Elle’s snap cup (please tell me I’m not the only one who adores Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, along with her snap cup). If you want to spread random warm fuzzies, you could make kindness cards and stick them outside the gates of everyone on your street when you go for your morning walk, or bring a post-it pad and stick a few on people’s cars the next time you go grocery shopping. It may sound a bit strange but imagine how much you could uplift someone’s day just by leaving a sticky note with some kind words on their car.
Think of yourself
Last but not least, it’s important not to forget about yourself. Now this is something different from being selfish – you can’t do good and share kindness if you aren’t looking after yourself. And, the best place to start is always with yourself. Being kind to others and finding ways to make their day a little more special or easier is a great thing to do, but if it’s too overwhelming for you and causing you stress, or you are already too stressed or in a negative place to begin with then that’s a problem. I’ll say it again, but these are difficult times and you need to remember to be kind to yourself. So yes, give back to the community, share kindness in any way you can, but also remember to be kind to yourself, even if that means hiding from the world for an hour so you can have a nice hot bath, sit outside in the sun or read a book. Your mental health matters too!
And so there you have it! Not to be too tacky by quoting High School Musical, but it really is true that ‘we’re all in this together’. This blog wasn’t meant to pressure any of you into trying these things or doing any/all of them but it was more meant to be a source of inspiration for anyone who wanted to spread a little love or do a random act of kindness but didn’t quite know what to do or where to start. I hope that, if you were looking for ideas, that this post then gave you one or at least some inspiration for your own plan. As always, thank you all so much for reading today’s post! My post was inspired by the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week and their theme of kindness (but I’m sure you guessed that considering I used the word ‘kindness’ about a hundred times in this post). As I mentioned earlier, kindness is a great way to improve both the mental health of the person receiving your gesture, and your own because of the good you are doing, and this week is all about raising awareness for mental health. If you’d like to check out the Mental Health Foundation you can do so here:
Otherwise, I wish you all a very safe and happy weekend and hope that kindness continues to prevail during these uncertain times. I’m a big believer in karma, so the kindness you give will find a way back to you so share those warm fuzzies! I’ll be sending some Bluetooth ones out myself 😊
Lots of love
Blondey on a Mission xxx