If there was ever a time for kindness, it’s now. Social distancing and self-isolation have meant that we are in increasing danger of losing our sense of connection and losing touch with the most vulnerable in our society. Psychologists in recent weeks have stressed that we consider this a time of ‘physical distancing, social connection’. We must now look for new and creative ways to demonstrate kindness to friends, family, and our wider community. For World Mental Health Week this week, we’ve put together a few ideas of ways that you can spread joy and kindness, from the safety of your own home.
- Rainbow your window
As the Queen noted in her VE day address, rainbows are quickly becoming the symbol of togetherness and strength in the face of the ongoing global uncertainty. One of the highlights of a morning walk around a neighbourhood is seeing the various rainbow paintings, drawings, and murals that people have stuck up in their houses. This feels like a collective kindness and is an easy, simple way to bring some happiness into your community. Bonus points for providing an afternoon of crafty fun for those repetitive weekends, too.
- Send a card
Tweets, DMs, texts, Snapchats, and Zoom calls all may be nice, but there is nothing quite like receiving a thoughtful card addressed to you in the post. Many online companies are now offering special COVID-appropriate messages, including thank you cards for health heroes, ‘thinking of you’ cards, and more novelty pandemic-related humour (“Happy birthday! Enjoy a Quarantini Martini!”). These are a fun, inexpensive way to make someone’s day.
- Consider volunteering
The pandemic has left an enduring strain on charities and community groups. Once we start establishing a new sense of normality, these groups will be needed more than ever. To keep them going throughout this difficult time, consider volunteering your time to your local charities, community groups, and online support centres. Could you spare an hour or two to help in community kitchens? Do you have some non-perishable food that you could donate to a local food bank? Do you have skills or expertise that charities might benefit from? The more we pull together, the easier the transition will be.
- Neighbourly acts of service
This one requires a bit more of a commitment but is the ultimate, classic kindness. When you go to the supermarket for your weekly shop, could you also pick up some bits for an isolating neighbour? If you pass a pharmacy on your daily walk, could you offer to deliver a friend’s prescription? Check on Facebook to see whether your community has a neighbourhood group or forum. If you are able to venture outside, think about the ways that you might be able to ease the burden on those who are less able.
- Pick up the phone
Sometimes, when we are overwhelmed with the day-to-day of isolation, we forget the simplest of kindness acts that can often have the biggest effect. If you are in the shielding group, or you are pushed for time, you can still offer some kindness to friends and family by letting them know you’re thinking of them with a phone call. This is particularly impactful if there’s a family member or friend who you don’t speak to often. A quick ‘virtual coffee’ and a chat is the easiest way to let someone know that you care.