Since the Government introduced measures around social distancing in response to the Covid-19 spread, Britons have been required to isolate, reduce contact with others, and change the way we interact with friends, neighbours and colleagues. From the moment these measures were announced, there has been concern from a number of sources about the toll that adapting could take on individuals’ mental health.
Health authorities and Mental Health Charities have done incredible work putting out resources to help those who may be experiencing problems at this time. Health Charity Mind has outlined many possible difficulties that, if you’re forced to stay at home, you may struggle with and that could affect your mental health. Likewise, the NHS have released a guide to keeping your mind healthy while at home as part of the ‘Every Mind Matters’ initiative.
The unprecedented challenges presented by the crisis meant that mental health was a clear area in which digital solutions might provide effective support to those facing difficulties. To help companies identify areas of particular importance, TechForce19 split the mental health challenge into 4 sub themes, detailed below:
Discovering and delivering mental health services
Accessing relevant and inclusive peer 2 peer communities
Supporting self-management of mental health and well-being
Research shows that protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic – with the psychological and social impacts likely to outlast the physical symptoms of the virus.
Acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place.
We want to see a world where kindness is built into business decisions, government policy and official systems. However, we can start by individual commitment to showing kindness in our words and our actions.
You might want to do something for someone else or take note if you experience an act of kindness.
Not sure where to start?
We’ve put together some suggestions to help you out…
At home and in your community
Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while
Post a card or letter to someone you are out of touch with
Send flowers to a friend, out of the blue
Find out if a neighbour needs any help with shopping
Ring someone who is on their own, or video call them
Send someone a handwritten thank you note
Tell your family how much you love and appreciate them
Help with household chores
Offer to help an elderly or vulnerable neighbour
Check on someone you know who is going through a tough time
Remember to say hi to colleagues and ask how they are – whether that’s face-to-face, or virtually if you are working from home
Offer to support colleagues who may not be familiar with videoconferencing or new software that you have already used
Set up a virtual coffee/lunch club – with your regular colleagues and with new ones
Have a conversation with a colleague you don’t normally talk to
Get to know a new member of staff – it is hard to join a new workplace under these restrictions
Lend your ear – listen to your colleague who is having a bad day
Say thank you to a colleague who has helped you
Praise a colleague for something they have done well
In public places
Follow the rules on social isolation – but don’t make negative assumptions about others
Wish a passer-by a good morning or afternoon from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more)
Be a considerate cyclist/driver
Pick up some rubbish lying around in the street
Smile and say hello to people you may pass every day, but have never spoken to before from an appropriate distance (2 metres or more)
On social media
Take time to reach out online to people you haven’t seen for a while
Write something nice or encouraging on a post you appreciate
Acknowledge and validate someone’s story – if they are having a difficult time you don’t have to have all the answers, sometimes a like or a brief ‘I’m sorry to hear this, is there something I can do?’ is enough to make them feel heard
Think about what you share – look at the source of the post, and the tone. If it isn’t kind, think twice. If something could upset others and you feel you need to post it, use a trigger or content warning
Think about your comments and replies. Try not to say nasty things, or pile on where somebody questions another person’s actions
Evidence shows that being kind really does improve your wellbeing.1 What’s more, the more you do for others, the more they are likely to do for you.11
With this in mind, we’re suggesting that we all try to help others once a day for a week and see if it makes a difference to how we feel.
You can take joy in being deliberately kind – whether by recognising the time you have for your kids or partner, to speaking more to family, or by volunteering in your community.
Try to keep track of:
any volunteering that you’ve done
support you’ve given to friends and family
any random acts of kindness that you’ve carried out
what others have done for you.
Remember to make a note of how they made you feel.
You could try keeping a gratitude journal. Write down three things you are grateful for each day, or simply say these to yourself as the day draws to a close.
It’s important to be kind to yourself as well
Whatever you can manage today is good enough. Some people feel that the lockdown is giving them the time and chance to learn new skills or try new things. That may be you, and if so, enjoy and celebrate that.
If this isn’t you, try not to beat yourself up about what you see others doing. If things are hard right now, try and find some small things to celebrate each day. Getting up and washing your hair can be just as much of an achievement as someone else posting about a 5k run on Instagram.
Try to tune out the voice of judgement and comparison and tune in to the voice that says you are enough.
Be kind to yourself
Prioritise some “me” time, so you can relax and reflect on how you’re feeling and how your day or week has been so far
Turn off from your social media channels for a day, or even a week
Treat yourself to something small, such as buying or planting some flowers
Do something you enjoy, like listening to a favourite song or dancing in your kitchen
Spend some time in nature, which is good for our mental health