It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme for 2020 is kindness. Thankfully, the spread of kindness will never be stopped by a lockdown, a face mask, or a 2m social distance. So here are our top tips for how to be kinder to yourself and others this week, and always:

Our top tips

Make self-care a priority and do something that’s meaningful to you be it dancing, going for a walk or simply relaxing in a nice, hot bath
Call a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while or reach out to someone you know is having a difficult time
Engage more with the things that bring you joy and make you feel good. On the flip side, limit the activities that drain your energy
Tell a friend or family member how much you appreciate them. If it’s not something you’re comfortable saying out loud, then showing it in your actions always goes a long way, whether it’s helping out with housework or making dinner
Watch out for your inner critic and have one or two positive affirmations to hand that feel supportive in times of stress
Arrange a video call lunch with classmates or colleagues and take it in turns to talk about how you’re doing

Being kind = feeling good

When we think about kindness, we often think of it in terms of being kind to others and of course there’s a good reason for that. Not only does it make the other person feel good, plenty of research shows that it helps to improve our emotional and even physical wellbeing too. A quick rummage through your own memory bank will no doubt bring up times you were left with a smile on your face after doing a nice deed for someone. Whether it’s helping you neighbour bring in their shopping or checking in on a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while, it doesn’t take much, and yet in our normally busy lives, with its pressures and stresses, being kind can very easily fall to the wayside. When we add lockdown to the mix, with little choice but to spend 24/7 with family or flatmates, it’s even less surprising that these simple acts take a back seat.

Be kind to yourself

It’s also easy to forget that kindness is a two-way street and while we may be familiar with the term ‘self-care’, kindness to ourselves is probably the hardest thing to achieve. We speak to ourselves in ways we wouldn’t dream of speaking to someone else or punish ourselves for something we did years ago but as we soon find out, a lack of self-compassion takes a huge toll on our health and wellbeing. Cutting ourselves some slack, on the other hand, has been shown to slow down our heart rate and make us feel calm and collected. What’s more, as our own wellbeing increases, we’re more likely to be loving and supportive towards others! A win-win for all!

Sharing kindness

Let us know about any acts of kindness you’ve seen or been part of during lockdown – sharing stories of kindness in itself is a good mood lifter! Just tag us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and we’ll share your stories.

“Kindness is like snow – It beautifies everything it covers.” – Kahlil Gibran