Tips for Mental Health Awareness Week
19 May 2020
The theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week is 'Kindness'. During the current crisis one of the good things to come out is people's ability to be kind and caring towards people they don't even know.
Kindness is defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference. Research shows that kindness and our mental health are deeply connected and that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. Kindness helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can help prevent shame about losing our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem. Kindness can improve feelings of confidence and optimism.
But kindness can risk us looking foolish or being taken advantage of, which is why we sometimes retreat. To receive or give kindness is an act of courage. The aim of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is to support each other to take that brave step and harness the benefits for both giver and receiver.
Tips for happiness
At this time of social isolation and lockdown, being aware of our health and wellbeing is more important than ever and here are some tips and ideas for how to look after your (and others') wellbeing.
Staying at Home
- Eat well and stay hydrated. It's important to eat healthily and look after your diet when you are stuck at home. Your diet and appetite may change when your routine changes. Staying at home may mean that you are less active and feeling sad may make you want to eat more. Make a plan of food for the week and plan your shopping and online orders.
- Take care of your home environment. Keeping your home clean and tidy may help you cope with staying at home for long periods. If you are working from home you will want to keep your working space tidy and try to separate it from your home space. If you live with others, discuss it and decide together how you’ll use different spaces and what each of you needs to feel comfortable.
- Take regular breaks. It can be tiring to feel always 'on call' for work or the kids. Set regular times to get up and make a cup of tea or do something different. Involve your kids if they are home with you so that they respect you having a bit of space too.
- Make the most of your permitted exercise time to get some air and a change of scene.
- Keep in touch with family and friends by phone, email, text, What's App, Zoom etc and make good use of all the technology on offer. Most of it is free.
- Talk about a book you've both read or a TV show you've both watched if you are befriending someone you don't know too well.
- If you need help with connecting via technology let us know and we'll try to find a volunteer to help you.
Most important - be kind to yourself!