The theme for last week’s Mental Health Awareness Week was “kindness” so in our Mobilise Cuppas, Facebook group and on Twitter we have been chatting about the topic. As carers we have shared examples of how people have shown kindness. I’ve also picked up on many examples of kindness from carers and we’ve challenged ourselves to think about how we can show ourselves kindness.
Kindness seems to be one of those magic things, the more you use it the more there is available. Even under the strange circumstance of lock down and in the busiest of times, for some, kindness has thrived. It has been really uplifting to take a moment to notice it.
Carers and their families caught in the act of kindness
One carer has initiated a scheme with a local charity since lockdown. The organisation is helping vulnerable residents, elderly and disabled. She suggested letter writing to people who could not participate as well with telephone befriending. "This is because I have been helped the past year with my own sense of isolation via Letters from Louise a run by scheme with another charity. I write now to a lady who is deaf and cannot be befriended via phone. I felt my own experience of health disability and being a Carer helped me to recognise what isolation feels like, and show kindness to initiate this. The scheme is growing locally"
"This last week my son showed kindness to a local neighbour resident here who we know nothing about but appears very shy and on her own in the NHS clap for Carers nights. He wanted us to drop her a card and he offered to bake for her."
Carers have also been showing kindness to neighbours, adding their shopping to their own online shop, baking cakes, dropping off meals and treats. Others have been able to buy extra food items to donate to the foodbank.
On the receiving end of kindness
From being made a cup of tea, handmade cards, gifts of plants to a call from friends, family or a voluntary organisation we are noticing kindness all around us. My favourite example this week was one of our cuppa participants who had been given a second hand (but good condition kitchen) from their next door neighbours!
And how are we showing kindness to ourselves?
Here's a little list of ways carers are finding to be kind to themselves - there might be something new here to try:
Something frivolous: A cheeky can of cocktail with the supermarket shop, in the fridge ready for later; buying a new notebook (I’m sure it’s not just me that gets joy from stationery!) and chocolate cake
Making the most of the small changes to lockdown guidelines: A socially distanced meet up with a friend or family member that you have been missing; a takeaway coffee; a trip to the garden centre
Words of kindness to ourselves: Just taking each day as it comes - not every day will be one where we tick things off and achieve something - that is ok; let other people be kind to you; take the time to tell yourself “you are alright, you are enough”; not comparing ourselves to others, or the expectations that others have on us.
Things to add to our weekly routine: a nice long bath; take myself outside more; a bit more structure about when people can call me; a Joe Wicks workout, a yoga session or some simple laps up and down the garden path; making a promise to myself - go on a walk every day and stick to it