Our local Time to Change Champions are leading the fight against mental health stigma. With this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week being themed on ‘Kindness’, they are sharing stories about how different sorts of kindness have helped them, and allowed them to help others:
“You’re so kind’ – from a distance
‘You are so kind’ – what does it mean when somebody says that to me? What have I done or indeed not done to make somebody feel happy, made their life a bit easier with a helping hand or provided a listening ear and an open mind.
I believe kindness is a mutual quality we can both give and receive throughout all our life scenarios. Indeed when I’m not very kind to myself somebody may lend me a bit of their kindness with a reassuring word or listening ear. Currently it’s not seen as appropriate or safe to go around showing kindness with handshakes, hugs or indeed any contact within 2 metres or face to face.
If I wasn’t unable to travel at the moment due to the Coronavirus restrictions I would be spending a few days a week out and about across the South East in my work capacity or around my local community in leisure time. How do I express kindness when I’m travelling? Helping the stressed Mum with a buggy on the train, directing somebody to the loo or just making sure I make eye contact and smile when the guard checks my ticket.
I would ask the taxi driver how his day was going and listen to his reply with interest. I would try to show I cared. The tasks we take on and what we offer to do as part of our work and leisure are sometimes seen as ‘going the extra mile’. Well I can’t go any miles at the moment but I can still show kindness to others and myself.
I can make that friendly online greeting in an email, checking out how people are doing with interest and without sounding patronising. I can show genuine interest in other’s wellbeing.
When out for that socially distanced walk I can smile at the stranger, wave to the toddler, offer an unsolicited compliment or just acknowledge a job well done by the supermarket staff.
I can offer time and space for somebody to talk freely if they wish without an agenda or judgement.
Just finding space in my own life to practice what I preach with self- kindness. I use Mindfulness Self Compassion as a therapeutic tool and allowing myself time and space to engage with this fully is an act of kindness. Rest is kindness for the soul. So checking out that small gift, gesture or kind thought that might just make a difference to somebody’s day – ‘You’re so kind’”
The Portsmouth and Southampton Time to change hub is delivered in partnership by Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council, co-ordinated by Solent Mind.
We are committed to the Hub being led by Champions. There are many ways that registered Champions can get involved in the direction of the Hub, including joining us at Steering Group meetings. If you’d like to find out more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for support with your mental health or wellbeing at this difficult time, please visit our support page.