From mutual aid groups to fundraising efforts, the acts of kindness shown by people towards others throughout the Covid-19 crisis have been a heartening tonic during what has been a very difficult year.
And it’s no surprise that as the pandemic rages on, more of us are seeking out ways to be kind.
To mark World Kindness Day, greeting card company Thortful analysed monthly internet searches for words and phrases to do with kindness.
They found that searches for the term ‘random acts of kindness’ has more than tripled since last year, and searches for ‘acts of kindness’ have grown from 2,900 in 2019 to 4,400 in 2020.
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While this is encouraging, the research shows that we’re less interested in extending that kindness towards ourselves.
Average monthly searches for the term ‘be kind to yourself’ have dropped from 8,100 from March to September in 2019 to 3,600 from March to September 2020.
As we naturally want to help people more vulnerable than us during a crisis, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves. And for essential workers, people in caring roles and those juggling childcare with working from home, it can often feel borderline impossible to find the time.
But self-kindness is essential in both good times and bad – you can’t be expected to take look after others when your own energy resources are depleted and your mental health is on the line.
We asked the experts for some simple, accessible ways to be kind to yourself during tough times.
Nick Hatter, life coach
‘Make time for play. Whether it’s having a laugh with a friend, playing a video game, doing a jigsaw, creating art or doing something that you enjoy, we all need a bit of fun and play to remind us that life is not just drudgery.’
Ali Roff Farrar, author of The Wellfulness Project: A Manual for Mindful Living
‘We’re also anticipating a mental health “aftershock”, as the effects of these turbulent times catch up with our mental wellbeing.
‘One way to cope is to include at least one ritual into each day which is kind to your body, one which is kind to your mind, and one which is kind to your heart.
‘So, nourishing your body might be a workout, nourishing your mind might be a mindfulness meditation, and nourishing your heart might be baking or drawing – doing something you love with no goal in mind.’
Puja McClymont, life and business coach
‘When negative self-talk starts, consider whether or not you’d talk to someone you loved this way. The pause allows you to separate yourself from the emotion, and considering how you would talk to someone else helps you take charge of the narrative to a more compassionate one.’
Toby Ingham, psychotherapist
‘Experiment with setting small goals to avoid overloading yourself, and try to celebrate your successes no matter how big or small your achievements might be. We need to accept and acknowledge that things are changing and that can feel overwhelming.’
Carole-Ann Rice, life coach
‘Have a “bliss point” every 90 minutes – something you really relish and look forward to. This could be cup of tea, breakfast, or even a bath or shower. These keep your happiness tank topped up, as you always have something to look forward to.’
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