The theme this year for Mental Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th May) is kindness. During such an uneasy time people have already been showing such immeasurable acts of kindness towards others. Just take a look at the frontline workers, those volunteering for the NHS, and helping the vulnerable in their communities.
The Mental Health Foundation say this is the most important week they’ve run, and that protecting our mental health is going to be crucial to us coping and recovering from the pandemic. They say “we have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity.“
Kindness can be shown in so many ways, and the added benefit of doing good for others is that you’re also doing good for yourself, it can help reduce stress and improve your own emotional wellbeing.
- Post a Cheerful Note
- Bake Off at Home
- Got Green Fingers?
- Get Crafty
- Share Your Skills
- Volunteer and Donate
- Share a Story
- Keep Up Communication
- More Useful Reading
Handwritten letters are simple and charming, but have become lost in a world of digital media. Write a letter to a missed friend or relative and illustrate it with drawings of what you’ll do together post-lockdown. Or maybe you have some photos of yourself and friends together that you can use to make a card.
It’s a simple thought but the handmade touch adds a special element that will make a delightful surprise when it arrives in their letterbox. Plus, spending an afternoon making your own cards, drawing pictures, and writing letters is a great activity to keep you occupied!
Brushing up on your skills in the kitchen has proved to be a popular way to spend isolation. We’re sure your neighbours would appreciate acts of kindness revolving around your tasty baked goods, too!
If you have a a lot of elderly and vulnerable in your community you could make a meal or a baked treat to take round to them. They’ll appreciate the thought and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a home-cooked treat?!
If you’re good in the garden why not gift what you grow. Delivering flowers or a plant to a neighbour can be a simple treat that will brighten up their home or garden.
Also, if you’re able to grow vegetables and herbs why not spread some love by sharing these around. Especially if some of your crops grow in abundance and there’s plenty to spare. Fresh, locally grown produce is always a treat, and it means you can reduce their grocery costs, too.
Why not start sewing, knitting, and crocheting gifts for all your friends and family. Do you have some spare wool lying around and can knit someone a pair of socks, or crochet them a blanket? ‘Scrapbuster’ patterns for hats, children’s toys, and blankets make the most of the yarn you’ve already got without costing anything extra. Check out free patterns on websites like we are knitters, All Free Knitting, and Ravelry.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic! Check out YouTube too for video tutorials for different stitches and techniques you may need. Simple stitches are easy to pick up and you can find cheap wool to practice with in supermarket hobby sections (while craft stores are still closed). Places like Deramores, LoveCrafts, and Hobbycraft often have introductory discount offers for new customers when you first sign up, too.
One of the best acts of kindness is anonymity. You don’t have to give something to someone you know! Lots of charities run knitting and crochet projects you can get involved in, too. From Bobby Buddies to hats for the homeless or octopus comforters for premature babies, there’s something for every skill level to get involved in!
If you speak a second language, play a musical instrument proficiently, or are a fitness instructor, you could share these skills for free. In lockdown, many people want to learn something new to keep themselves entertained. To stick to current social distancing consider making videos available online, or live stream classes using Zoom.
When the rules relax, consider offering to clean a friend or neighbour’s house in return for some childminding hours, or perhaps you can help someone write their CV if they bake you something tasty in return!
Not everyone can afford to donate cash but by volunteering and donating your time will still help massively and really helps those in need.
In Your Community
Many communities have set up a group which looks after the elderly and particularly vulnerable by making sure they have what they need. Offering to pick up shopping and prescriptions, or running an errand for them could be a massive help. You can also use the app NextDoor to see if your neighbours may need any assistance.
If you have time to spare, volunteer for a charity. The National Care Force is a nationwide network of care providers and volunteers supporting social care services and vulnerable members of society. They’re looking for anyone from across the UK who wants to donate their time to helping others.
If you can afford to do so, pick up a couple of extra items during your shop and donate them to a food bank. You can find the nearest one to you here. Many supermarkets also have donation boxes in store so you can easily donate a few extra items when doing your weekly shop.
Literature is great escapism and being able to slip away into another world is needed right now, so share the pleasure of it. Pass on a book you loved to someone else you think would enjoy it! Sharing books with your community will bring some happy escapism to everyone. Consider setting up a book swap group too – each of you buys one book, then you pass it to the next person and receive someone else’s purchase. This way, you’re supporting local independent bookshops without spending a lot of money individually!
If you read an article celebrating good things in the world right now, or something that made you smile, share it and spread a bit of joy by sending it on to friends and family.
Although you can’t see someone, don’t forget to check in with them. The number of people suffering from loneliness in the UK have increased since lockdown with people being forced to self-isolate.
Get in touch with the elderly in your neighbourhood. Over half of people aged 75 and over live alone – it’s a classic in the acts of kindness list because of the friendships you can build. A regular chat over the phone can bring comfort and happiness to them.
Organise regular catch ups with friends and family, even if it’s just virtually and only for twenty minutes or so, having contact with a loved one undeniably brings a lot of happiness to someone’s day.