This year, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is KINDNESS.
Kindness can be defined as ‘the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate’, these actions individually and in combination as the quality of kindness are needed more than ever at this time of massive change in our lives. We can be kind to others and kind to ourselves and we can receive kindnesses. If we are kind to ourselves it often comes more naturally to extend that kindness to others.
Over this mental health awareness week, we are going to focus on being kind to ourselves first, to build the foundations of our own mental wellbeing, and to celebrate those kindnesses we have received from others that touched us.
Be kind to yourself this week!
Being kind to ourselves isn’t about having lots of treats, but it is about treating ourselves and others well. It’s important to look at all aspects that help us to be healthy and feel good; how we eat, how physically active we are, whether we can connect with the outside world and nature and choosing good, supportive relationships, where possible.
Each day during mental health awareness week, we will focus on one of these key ways that we can be kind to ourselves. We will be posting videos and blogs with top tips and simple, quick ideas for how you can support yourself – see if you can do something kind for yourself every day this week?
Monday – Create a kind, simple routine for yourself and your family
Life has changed dramatically for may of us as a result of Covid-19 – with restrictions being placed on our movements, changes to our work situations or the kids being home from school. You may have noticed that your daily routine has gone out the window as a result (kids wide awake at night and sleeping during the day?!), or that you’ve got into one which doesn’t work so well for you.
Having a routine can help us and our families to feel grounded and know where we are at in our days, and can be supportive in managing our daily tasks, eating better and getting to sleep.
Read our blog about starting to be kind to yourself during mental health awareness week and beyond by getting into a supportive routine.
Tuesday – Eating well helps us feel well
You may have found that during lockdown your eating habits have changed. Are you snacking more, eating less fresh food or missing meals? Eating healthily can feel challenging at the moment, especially if you are struggling financially, unable to get to the shops or getting no time away from the kids. But it is still possible to eat well during these times. And it really does make a difference, eating a balanced diet and keeping regular meal times is an act of kindness to ourselves, supporting us to feel positive, energised and nourished throughout the day.
Read our blog which includes simple ideas for how to improve your diet.
Introducing Heart of BS13 TV
Want a quick, cheap lunch that will leave you feeling great? Check our our video on making delicious creamy garlic mushrooms in just 20 minutes.
Need a night off cooking? Kids eating you out of house and home?
During lockdown we can’t run our normal cookery sessions, so we’ve decided to cook for the community instead. If you live in BS13 and have been affected by lockdown, we will deliver fresh frozen meals to your door free of charge. Find out more and order yours here, and enjoy dinner on us.
Wednesday – Be active, have fun, and find out what motivates you
If you were finding exercise difficult to do before lockdown then the chances are you will have put it to the side on your ‘maybe later’ list. And even if you did exercise before, you may have found that with all the changes lockdown has brought, it has slipped from your routine. For most of us, the very nature of lockdown means that we are moving far less than usual.
However, especially at this time, it’s great to remember how much movement can support us to feel good and improve our mental health. Exercise can help us to feel more connected to and positive about our bodies, and more energised, as well as making it easier to sleep at night. It may be challenging to start, but when do you ever regret making the effort once you’ve done it?
Read our blog which includes some great advice for getting into the habit of moving your body during lockdown. You don’t have to run a marathon up and down your stairs, but including some movement in your daily routine can be a great gift to yourself.
Heart of BS13 TV
Check out our video on ways to get moving more while you’re at home.
Thursday – Enjoy nature (even if it’s from your window)
With lockdown having been in place for almost 2 months, and some of us told to socially-isolate even earlier, it’s understandable that the outside world could feel very far away. When we do go outside, it has been for essential work, shopping or exercise, with little time to pause to notice where we are and the changes going on around us.
But while it may be off our agendas, connecting with nature is well-known for it’s healing qualities and really worth the effort – it can make us feel grounded, connected to a place, and appreciative of the sheer beauty and intricacy of the natural world. And amazingly, while we’ve been cooped up in our houses, nature hasn’t stopped and Spring is fully in bloom.
If you can, go for a walk somewhere green, and notice the environment you are in. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, try growing some seeds or making a bug hotel (follow us on Facebook to check out our up-coming how-to videos on these subjects), or if you’re self-isolating, take time to notice the outside world from your window.
Read our blog on enjoying the beauty of Spring – whether you are getting out into nature, growing your own bit of nature or watching nature from your window.
Heart of BS13 TV
Watch our video on how to invite nature to come to you by making a bird feeder – if you’re self-isolating you could hang it by a window so you can watch the birds up close?
Friday – Stay connected to yourself and other people who nurture you
At a time when it is easy to feel isolated and cut off, staying in contact with the world outside your front door is really important to help ground us and realise we are not alone.
Most of us will be having less interactions with other people during lockdown, especially those who are self-isolating, so staying in touch may require more of a conscious effort. Who could you call today?
When reaching out to others, it can be a kindness to ourselves to reflect on whether our relationships support us or bring us down, and to maximise the role of those who nurture us.
Read our blog on staying connected and managing our relationships during lockdown.
We hope you have found the blogs interesting this week and that you have been inspired to try something new, be kinder to yourself and others or even do a random act of kindness.
We realise that ‘being kind to yourself’ is probably something you do not do that often. What we hear from people when they do start being kinder to themselves is that life can get a bit easier, they get clearer with other people about their boundaries and it is not problematic as they think it will be.
Thanks for dropping by and looking at our blogs. Please keep thinking about how you could be kinder to yourself and others, we are not ‘out of the woods’ yet with Covid 19 measures and the road back to some sort of normality will be a mix of goodness and challenges. Keep looking at our website and Facebook page for new and exciting developments like Heart of BS13 TV!
Through this period of lock-down we have seen and heard of some of the great things that have been happening and we hope that BS13 can continue to build on the sense of community and keep looking out for each other and build a stronger more connected community. If we remember #KindnessMatters, and that we all matter, we have the opportunity to grow and become more resilient as a community as a result of going through this challenging time together.
One of the greatest acts of kindness you can give yourself is the ability to ask for help when you need it.
We understand that this isn’t always easy we often have conflicting feelings, not least not wanting to acknowledge we have a problem or we feel down, stressed or anxious; avoiding these things is a normal way of protecting ourselves. The only problem with this is that this often allows our situation to get worse, so be kind to yourself get in touch with us and see if we can help you help yourself.
Positive Minds telephone support service
Positive Minds are opening our phone lines to people in BS13 who are struggling to cope with the challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown and all the changes, stress and anxiety it brings.
This is not an emergency service but an opportunity for people to talk through their difficulties and get some emotional support, signposting and practical advice. This service is confidential and free of charge.
Our opening hours:
Mon 9 – 12 noon 07378 310 079
Wed 1 – 4pm 07378 310 079
Thurs 1 – 4pm 0788 066 1239
Fri 9 – 12 noon 0788 066 1239
You can contact us on the above numbers via phone, text or WhatsApp. If you have limited call minutes or are phoning from a landline, let us know and we can call you back. Alternatively, you might prefer to email us at Positive.Minds@heartofbs13.org.uk