Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place this week, commencing 18th May 2020, and the theme this year is kindness.
Kindness is the act of doing something towards yourself or others, driven solely by the desire to have a positive impact. Kindness and mental health are profoundly intertwined – kindness can reduce feelings of stress and isolation, while deepening friendships. Directed at ourselves, it can elevate self-esteem and boost feelings of optimism.
Here are 7 ways to encourage the spread of kindness, in order to harness its benefits – 1 per day for the duration of Mental Health Awareness Week.
1. Write a letter to your future self
You can write a lovely letter to yourself via the Letter to my Future Self website and it will be automatically emailed to you at a chosen time in the future. You could write to say that whatever the outcome of this academic year, it’s been a tough one, so go easy on yourself. You could write a list of all the things you’ve learned to appreciate at this difficult time, and send it to yourself a year from now when you might need reminding of what’s really important.
2. Stair-climb for charity
Just because you can’t get out and about much these days, doesn’t mean you can’t stay active and take on a mammoth challenge for a good cause. There are lots of people raising money at the moment by taking on a stair-climb challenge – climbing stairs to the equivalent height of a mountain of your choice. How about Snowdon, the Matterhorn, or even Mount Everest?
Have a look at the Much Better Adventures website to find out how many flights of stairs you’ll need to climb to reach the top. Then start a fundraising page and gather sponsorship to keep you motivated.
3. Start a blog/guest-write for a blog
If you enjoy writing you will know it’s a great way to unwind and relieve stress as it can act like a form of therapy. Starting your own blog is easier than you might think, with cheap hosting and loads of templates from WordPress.com. Pick a subject you know a lot about or have a passion for, and then outline some interesting articles you could pen. You could even ask friends if they would like to contribute too. If that all seems like too much work, you could offer to guest-blog for already established sites, such as Lifehack.org.
4. Make a photobook
Looking back through old photos is a mood-boosting exercise, so why not take a trip down memory lane and compile a book of photos from a favourite holiday, or the past year. Try Snapfish, Photoboxor Vistaprint, amongst others. Once you have the book you are also more likely to flick through it to revisit those memories again and again.
5. Learn to give an Indian Head Massage
Others in your household will thank you for this! You could all agree to watch this You Tube Indian Head Massage tutorial on how it’s done, and then practice on each other.
6. Learn to draw
Drawing is the ideal way to unwind as it can encourage mindfulness, and the Drawspace website is offering free online lessons. While away a couple of hours sketching and shading and I guarantee you’ll feel happier for it.
7. Get involved in conservation
The National Biodiversity Network has a range of different surveys requiring input from the general public. Recording things such as bats, butterflies, bees, birds or beetles, there should be something to interest everyone. It will get you out noticing and appreciating nature, and will also benefit the biological research community.
Take a look at the Mental Health Foundation’s website for more information during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond. And remember, kindness is free to give, but priceless to receive, so sprinkle it everywhere!