News • 23 Jul 2020
Five kind things to do to give yourself an instant mental health boost
In times such as these, it is important to look after ones mental, as well as physical health, and there is nothing better than acts of kindness to give yourself an instant mental health boost. Many say, that a small act of kindness, can go a long way – not only in doing good for others, but giving value and worth to our own lives, thrown into chaos through the current pandemic crisis.
Being kind to others has been known to help boost our own immune system, slow down aging, elevate our self-esteem and improve blood pressure.
Here we will take you through five easy ways that you can give your mental health an instant boost:
GET CREATIVE FOR KINDNESS
Do you remember when you were younger and the joy of the postman arriving at your letterbox with a handful of letters, and one was for you? Well these days, with people receiving less and less actual mail, this spark of joy is not to be underestimated. Make a card for your neighbour who you haven’t seen for a while, or a nurse that may live down the road, or send a letter or card to a person isolated at an aged care home.
Creative outlets like writing a letter or creating a homemade card can be freeing on the mind, and a small gesture of happiness for the receiver, that can change their outlook of the day – or even their whole week.
There is a thought that kindness can involve some kind of sacrifice on our part, for someone elses gain, but science shows that being kind to one another, is actually one of the best things we can do for ourselves to help our mental health. Kindness boosts our moods and can make us happier.
If you don’t want to make a card or write a letter, the simple act of sending a text message to a friend, colleague or even an acquaintance who could be a frontline worker i.e. a nurse, checking in on them or saying thank you for their hard work, is a simple act of kindness that could make their day.
SMILES ARE CONTAGIOUS AND THEY ARE FREE
Checking in on your neighbours, friends and extended family to see if they are okay, can give you and them a mood booster, but do can a smile to a stranger. On your daily walk, why not smile at everyone you walk past? It’s the simplest display of kindness that there is.
Now, whilst we are socially distancing, but also staying connected, why not smile and wave hello to your neighbours when you see them, offer to walk your neighbour’s dog if they can’t get out or offer to get them a take-away coffee if you’re on your way to get one, and leave it at their front-door to maintain social distance (but of course, let them know when you’ve dropped it off).
Be positive by focusing on gratitude – emotions are contagious and there’s always a silver lining, especially when talking about this to children or people who might be particularly vulnerable during this time.
COOK FOR COMFORT
Have you been seeing all the social media posts about sourdough bread, cakes and home cooked gourmet meals? Home cooking has become a favourite past time of Australian stuck at home and looking for things to do.
If you are into cooking, why not double your batch for dinner, bake two loafs of bread, or a batch of banana bread with those leftover banana’s and leave it on the doorstep of a friend or neighbour who is having a bit of a hard time.
Giving baked goods or dropping of meals to people who may be having a tough time during this pandemic can help you feel good as you are helping, but can also change the receivers day as they know that whilst they are isolating away from friends and family, they are still being thought of.
By cooking new recipes and cooking stuff from scratch, whilst also being a good way to keep entertained whilst continuing to social distance – cooking can bring joy to yourself and also your community.
CONTRIBUTE TO A CAUSE
Earlier this year the level of generosity for those affected by the bushfires was huge. Now is the time to act for those less fortunate in our community who have been affected by the current pandemic, either through social distancing measures or whom have lost their ability to earn an income.
You might have seen the Adopt a Healthcare Worker QLD Facebook campaign, this is a perfect way to contribute to a cause.
Helping doesn’t always have to mean financial donations. It could be making facemasks or scrub caps for healthcare workers, knitting soft toys to donate to children or aged care residents so they have a ‘friend’ for company, or making an extra few meals and offering them to your local community members who may be struggling.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Now is a good time to get back into or to increase your frequency of contemplative practices such as walking, jogging, yoga or meditation. Going for a walk can not only assist in clearing your head, but you are also getting fresh air, and exposure sunlight that helps with natural vitamin D production.
Being kind to yourself, or taking some time out, is always good for your mental health, but is especially important during a time of crisis, such as the current pandemic. At time when you could be feeling that you are facing so many challenges, you really have to look after yourself, take a breath and focus on what’s important.
Think of it like when you’re flying on an airplane and the safety announcement advises you to fit your mask first, before helping others. Take care of yourself so you feel good and can help others too.
Adding a small meditation to the start of your day, partaking in a virtual pilates or yoga class, or going for a walk around the block is a good way to get into a good mental health space and can energise you for your day ahead.
If you don’t want to go for a walk, you could always add some gentle stretching into your daily routine, and an added bonus is to do with whilst standing barefoot on some grass in the sunshine (but not too much sun, as you don’t want to get burnt).
It’s important to keep your body moving in times of a crisis, as external stresses can cause your body to get stiff.