Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 18th May until 24th May. The focus this year is kindness.
Now is the time to recognise the strength kindness can bring to our lives, tapping into and trusting 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 at home and respecting social distancing rules.
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to hear about the acts of kindness that happen every day. We want you to share your own actions and those of the people around you, showing strength in kindness towards yourself, your community and your household.
Strength in community kindness
Kindness is contagious. By being kind, we also have the opportunity to impact someone else’s life. Something as simple as smiling at others, or saying hello, can help turn a bad day into a bright one.
Connect and check in on your friends or neighbours. A simple text can make a real difference and start a conversation.
If you can, why not give to your local food bank or another local charity?
Volunteer your time – check in with local organisations who may need support during this time. You could 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 to stay at home and that in itself is an act of kindness to all those around us. 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 about 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 understand the important link between mental and physical health. Therefore, it is important to pause, get some fresh air and just be.
Not every household is a safe space. Nexus NI's helpline will offer much needed support, advice and referral for all victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Northern Ireland. You can call on 0808 802 1414.
Strength in kindness to yourself
Being kind is courageous. Have the courage to be kind to yourself as well as others.
Use your available space and time 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, by recognising and accepting your attributes, helps boost your confidence. Now, more than ever, you should direct kindness inwards.
Reflect on your happy memories, this will trigger a sense of optimism and positive mental thoughts.
Write down three of your strengths and challenge negative thoughts. Self-worth and self-esteem help you cope when life takes difficult turns. Be proud of who you are.
With kindness comes hope, and with hope comes the strength to overcome these hard times together.