Being Kind to Yourself

With Mental Health Awareness Week recently, our focus today is on how we can incorporate the theme of kindness into our lives this week. In our last post we focused on how we can engage in acts of Kindness directed towards others. While it is important to be kind to others, especially in difficult times such as these, it is also incredibly important to be kind to ourselves.

This is something a lot of people struggle with so below is a list of things you can do to be kind to yourself:

· Make time to do something you enjoy - this could include anything that you enjoy or that makes you happy, whether that includes running yourself a hot bubble bath, cooking your favourite meal or watching an episode of the new TV show you’ve been loving. Whatever it is, making some time for the things we enjoy is an important way of taking care of ourselves and showing kindness.

· Do something creative - perhaps you like to draw or sew or paint - it doesn’t have to be something you’re good at, if you’re a creative person usually, try something you’ve never done before. Often the fun can be in learning the new skill and going with the flow, being free to enjoy it in the moment rather than creating something perfect.

· Spend some time outdoors - studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a great impact on our mental health, as can physical exercise. If you start to feel stressed or otherwise upset, take yourself outside for a walk in the fresh air, or if you have a garden maybe spend some time taking care of it this week. Focusing on the outdoor activities and taking the time to breathe the fresh air can have a calming effect on us and is a great way to be kind to ourselves.

· Reach out - if you feel like you’re struggling with something or you need to talk, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for support, whether that’s someone close to you or someone in a professional position. It may be difficult to do so but it can be a great opportunity to give yourself some support that you may have been needing for a while and is a great opportunity to give back to yourself.

No matter what you do, just remember to take some time this week to be kind to yourself as well as others. You never know, it might spark the beginning of a positive habit!

Acts of Kindness Inspiration for Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, running from 18th-24th May 2020 and organised by the Mental Health Foundation. The theme for this year is ‘Kindness’ and was changed only last month from the original theme ‘Sleep’ in direct response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Mental Health Foundation website explains that this is to highlight that even in the difficult times people around the world are facing right now, kindness is one way we can all provide support and hope for ourselves and our local communities. This is something we at South Bucks Counselling believe to be very important as well.

Giving our time and effort to others can have a great effect on our mental health, so we’ve compiled a list of ways you can join in with the week through carrying out acts of kindness towards others:

· Call a friend or relative to check in - give a friend a call to let them know you’re thinking about them. A friendly voice can have a very positive effect on our mental health and in difficult times can mean a great deal to each of us. Taking five minutes out of your day to let someone know you care is a quick and easy way to get involved in Mental Health Awareness week, and could have a positive effect on you both.

· Send a care package to a loved one - this doesn’t have to be anything big or extravagant, but it can be a great way to help out someone who needs it, or just make someone smile.

· Check in with your neighbours - if you have neighbours who are elderly or vulnerable, perhaps a key worker, or even just someone exactly the same as you, check in and see how they’re doing. It might be something as simple as asking if they need any essential items on your way to the shops, or having a (socially distanced) chat over the fence, a bit of neighbourly kindness can go a long way.

· Smile - whether you’re at work, going for a walk in the park or waiting in the queues at your local supermarket for your weekly shop, make an effort to smile at the people you meet. It might surprise you what effects a smile and a sunny disposition can have on the people around you.

· Spread the word - talk to the people you know about Mental Health Awareness week, if you use social media maybe post about it on there, encourage the people you come into contact with to take a look at how they can contribute by being kind to others and themselves, and keeping the conversation about mental health going.

· Volunteering - Another great way to get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week is through giving back to your local area. See how you could get involved with volunteering communities both local and elsewhere to make your contribution to kindness. A great place to start for local volunteering is the Buckinghamshire Council Website, where they have dedicated pages for volunteering in the local area. There is also a dedicated page for how you can help and support your local community with Covid-19 related issues. For further volunteering opportunities, visit websites like Do-It.org, Reach Volunteering or search for opportunities with local charities online.

There are lots of other ways in which you can get involved in Mental health awareness week and lots of other acts of kindness which you could decide to do. In our next post we’ll focus on how we can get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week through acts of kindness directed towards ourselves.

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Welcome to the South Bucks Counselling blog. A place to share news, comment, and updates on our agency. We'll also include useful pieces on looking after your mental health and the benefits psychodynamic counselling can have. Comments always welcome.