Set yourself a challenge to improve your mental health

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

It's day 3 of Mental Health Awareness Week and today we are asking you to find a ‘bigger’ act of kindness which will push you a little beyond your usual comfort zone!  Something that will mark the week as different from all others, and perhaps ultimately change some habits you hold.

Kindness is choosing to do something that helps others; often putting other people’s needs before our own. But it also means being kind to yourself, a concept that is alien to people who work in the caring professions!  

So, what can you do? Even small changes can make a big difference: here are some tips on how to bring a little bit more kindness into your life. All will be great ways to help yourself and others, and each fulfils the five basic pillars of wellbeing: connecting, learning & growing, exercising (possibly!), being aware and giving.

  • Fulfil an act of kindness every day for the next month: This only has to be small: make some tea for a colleague, praise their work, spend a bit of time with your children (when you would rather do something else!), give yourself a pat on the back, take an extra 30 minutes in the bath!  Find what makes you feel good.
  • Focus on family: Have device free meals, make time for a boardgame, walk and exercise together, dress up and take selfies, paint and draw as a unit (here are some kid’s kindness colouring pages to share).
  • Take a daily walk in nature: Regardless of the weather challenge yourself to get out for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.  Take time to look around you, notice the colours, the changes in time and season.
  • Exercise more: If you hate the gym, or running, or even leaving your armchair, think about ways you can get yourself moving.  Try to set a challenge of 30 minutes a day for a whole week and see how you feel. It’s only 7 days after all!
  • Be kind to yourself: Acknowledge the effort it took to wash your hair, praise yourself for not comparing yourself with those who post their 10km run on Facebook, turn off from social media, treat yourself to some new flowers, dance like no-one’s watching, tell yourself you are more than enough. 
  • Volunteer: We’ve already mentioned helping neighbours, colleagues and friends during the Covid-19 pandemic but why not look further ahead?  Offer your help as a mentor, your expertise to a local community organisation (or even via online video?), support your children’s school.  
  • Do something for a good cause: If acts of kindness can make the world a better place, why not get involved with an organisation that is dear to your heart; tree planting, animal rescues, child abuse?  It might change your life.
  • Journal: Find a way to record every day the things you have done, and the things that others have done that have made you feel alive, appreciated and grateful.  It might be any voluntary acts you have done, support you have given to colleagues, friends and family, your random acts of kindness, and those you have enjoyed in return. And don’t forget to record how they made you feel.
  • Give gifts of gratitude: To your colleagues, children’s teachers, delivery men.  Find someone every day for a week to surprise.  Why not keep it up?  A family weekly gratitude gift?

The list is endless. Be imaginative. And whether you adopt a dog, keep a kindness journal, take photographs, create a cookbook, meditate regularly, or have self-indulgent PJ days we hope you enjoy it!

Be kind, be creative, be well.  Take care of yourself and others.

Published 20th May 2020

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