Week (18-24th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week. It is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and the theme this year is Kindness Matters. It is no coincidence that we count kindness amongst the Calderdale themes for Vision 2024 because it is a strength that our communities abound in. It is this kindness that will enable our resilience to prevail as we move into the new ‘normal’ whilst living with the COVID-19 virus.
Random acts of kindness are good for both the person receiving them and the person giving them. There are many mutual benefits, such as increased feelings of happiness, wellbeing, life satisfaction and closeness with other people. These benefits can last beyond the act itself and also encourage acts of kindness from others. We have seen and continue to see outstanding acts of kindness from local services and people in the community, both through formal volunteering routes such as the Virtual Volunteering Hubs in Cadlerdale and through important small gestures.
Small gestures can be extremely beneficial to our mental health and they can range from a simple ‘hello’ or a message of support, to a little odd job for someone. These small things build relationships that support our resilience and our ability to bounce back, which helps us to prepare for future challenges.
It is also important to remember to be kind to ourselves. This can often be overlooked, which is understandable, especially when we have others to consider, busy schedules or our own wellbeing challenges. However, taking pleasure in the simple things and stepping away from a source of stress, even just for 10 minutes or so, can be extremely helpful. If there is one thing you can do this Mental Health Awareness Week, this should be it. Find a little time to relax, listen to music, read a favourite book or magazine, contact family and friends, or take some time out in nature.
Moving our bodies more is great for both our physical and mental health. The recent small changes to the government guidelines have given many people the option to exercise more than once a day and spend more time in outdoor spaces whilst maintaining our distance. An added benefit of being outdoors is that it allows us to become more mindful of our surroundings, which can include listening to bird song, noticing flowers coming into bloom, exploring the countryside close to home or stumbling across some hidden architecture.
Mental Health Awareness Week 18-24th May
This year’s kindness-themed Mental Health Awareness Week offers a great opportunity for us to take some time for ourselves and for others. Further information can be found here.