With it recently having been Mental Health Week, we want to reflect on the importance of spreading kindness.
The benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.
I would like to share instances of kindness experienced by my family and I that can inspire you to spread the good will during this time.
My children recently went out for a walk, and on this walk one of them dropped an item on the ground, without realising. A passer by picked it up, announced it and placed it on a higher surface from which they could retrieve it easily, without making physical contact with him. This was very thoughtful and considerate, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic period, as it allowed for essential social distancing whilst still helping them to notice and conveniently collect an item they had almost lost.
A lovely neighbour recently dropped me a card and flowers to cheer me up after I had received some bad news. This was a nice unexpected surprise. I have also been receiving uplifting phone calls and cards from friends. This shows that with a little bit of time and creativity, anyone can brighten up someone's day.
Practicing mindfulness is also a great way to feel better during this time. I have been benefitting personally from attending virtual mindfulness and meditation sessions. Using technology to engage in such practices is an effective way for people to increase their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic; especially when more individuals are using their homes, which are traditionally refuges from the stresses of their day-to-day jobs, to carry out their work. Practicing mindfulness or meditation is a healthy way to balance out these added home stresses.
Interestingly, many people are likely to be practicing mindfulness during this period, even if unintentionally. It can be reasoned that during this lockdown period, as increasing numbers of people go outside with the sole purpose of going for a walk, or to get some fresh air and exercise, they are more likely to be practicing mindfulness on these journeys, through being in a state of focusing calmly on the present and enjoying their immediate surroundings, than when they would, as was more common before the COVID-19 pandemic, go out for the sole purpose of traveling to and from a destination, such as work. One thing we can take from this time is inspiration to practice these habits more often, for instance through going for short walks with family on the weekend. This is a great way to practice kindness to ourselves- which often helps us to reach a mind-state where we are more able to spread such kindness to others.
Some final tips for spreading kindness are:
- Ask neighbours if they need essential items (such as milk) when you go shopping, and drop these off at their doorsteps
- Phone friends and family members to check up on them every so often
- Send surprise packages of small gifts, personalised notes or helpful items to uplift friends and family
This may be a new and challenging time for all of us, and so it is essential now, more than ever, to practice and find new ways to promote kindness within our communities.
Primrose, Community Development Officer