With Random Acts of Kindness Day on Wednesday 17th February, it seems the perfect moment to revisit our thoughts on kindness and to inspire more. We've pulled together some of the many benefits of kindness. Why not pop a kind deed on your 'to-do' list every day. We promise it doesn't feel like work - but will bring a smile to your face.
The benefits of being kind
When so much is out of our control as a carer, "giving kindness" is something completely within our control. And what is more, we directly benefit too!
Aside from just being a lovely thing to do, being kind has proven benefits for our mental health.
"Studies have found that being kind is linked to increased feelings of happiness, wellbeing, and life satisfaction"
Kindness seems to be one of those magic things, the more we use it the more there is available. Even under the strange circumstances 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.
What does kindness look like?
Kind deeds can vary in size, but all bring benefits to both the person receiving and the person giving kindness. Examples can include:
Thanking someone for their help
Volunteering with a charity
Taking a loved-one/ cared-for a cup of tea in bed
Making your teenager's bed or clearing the cups from their bedroom!
Running a bath for your loved one / cared-for
Carers and their families caught in the act of kindness
We thought it would be uplifting and inspiring to both honour and share just a few of the kind deeds we have witnessed in our carers' community.
Setting up a lockdown scheme to help vulnerable people
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"
Reaching out to lonely neighbours
"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.
How it feels to receive 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 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
A socially distanced meet up with a friend or family member that we have been missing
A takeaway coffee
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 ourselves “I am alright, I am enough”; not comparing ourselves to others, or the expectations that others have on us. Our guide to 'self-love' may really help here. https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/post/caring-and-self-love
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
For more kindness inspiration, the Random Acts of Kindness website has a kindness calendar with daily ideas.
And we would love to hear more carer kindness stories over in our Facebook group! They're such uplifting posts to share. What act of kindness have you received or given lately?