Kindness is cool
Positivity and kindness go hand in hand
How are you? We hope you’re feeling OK... Mental Health Awareness Week has ended, the 2020 theme… kindness. But that doesn’t mean kindness ends here!
This year's theme was meant to be sleep, which will return, as it’s still a very important topic when it comes to mental health. You’re not alone if your sleep has been disrupted, whether through tossing and turning, intense dreams or sleeping too much. *is there such a thing?*
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Now more than ever, we need to re-discover kindness in our daily lives.”
We all know the saying - ‘it’s cool to be kind.’ If we think about the last few months, the love and kindness that has shone through these blurry times show the energy we can create.
Captain Tom Moore makes history. The centenarian went viral for his zimmer-frame aided fundraising efforts for the NHS and has now received a knighthood. *round of applause* He also claimed the UK number 1 single becoming the oldest artist to top the charts and has raised over £30 million for walking around his garden, all at the age of 100. *another round of applause*
You know the challenge - run 5km, donate £5 and nominate 5 pals. The challenge that erupted on social media. How many times did you get tagged? Run for Heroes, has hit 109% of its target and has now raised £5,487,699.79. The original target was £5,000 which they smashed in 4 days.
The Queen delivered a speech to the country amid the Coronavirus pandemic, offering great-grandmotherly wisdom; seen by 24 million. Just to give us all some perspective, The Queen has only given 5 speeches in her entire reign. So this is one for the memories. She left us all with the feeling that ‘we will succeed’. Go Lizzie.
Rainbow drawings, live concerts, clapping for carers, brands donating products to NHS workers, hotels opening their doors to NHS staff and the homeless. Netflix supporting creatives, alcohol brands making hand sanitiser, dance alongs, sing alongs and community workouts. The list goes on... (literally, we’re forcing ourselves to stop typing.) Humankind has really shown we can pull through to show its good side.
The new norm
We’ve all adjusted to new ways of living, (well kind of) working and now phasing into a ‘new normal’. As lockdown eases and we get our first glimpses of life after Coronavirus. We have the chance to make changes towards our ‘always on’ culture and put our mental health first. We should embrace this opportunity…
It’s been one strange bumpy ride, staying positive and being kind, are some of the controllables we can actually control. The message that we're not alone and we’re in this together has resonated across social media, far and wide.
There’s still a lot of unanswered questions floating around. It’s perfectly legitimate to still be worried or anxious. Even if you’ve not felt it yet and it’s now hitting home as we start to plan ‘coming out of lockdown’. Anyone relating to the meme “FOMO has been replaced by FOGO. Fear of going out". Talking of meme, give this a read for a smile. There might be one you’ve not seen and then pass it on and make someone else smile.
For those already struggling with mental health problems, a time like now has and is truly testing and daunting. So, it’s important to try to keep your mindset in a relaxed state. It’s all about balance and keeping the yin and yang in your life at an equal keel. If you know someone that will be feeling these effects twofold, have you reached out to them? Maybe, they’ve only just gone quiet… Staying connected has never been more important. Yes, even when you don’t feel like it.
If you’ve mastered your routine, bravo. If you’re a bit wobbly or lost your mojo we’ve got you… we have some effective ways to boost and look after ours and others mental health.
There are the obvious tips which we’re advocates of and the ones we know we should do but never quite put into action. Team Moda has given them all ago, and they’ve worked wonders for us.
Exercise (for fries)
*Collective eye roll* We all have CBA moments, but movement is so important. Even if it’s just a walk or stretching. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore HIIT every day. Just release those positive endorphins.
Don’t underestimate the power of a walk. Team Moda set themselves a challenge of walking the UK between the Moda cities. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Brighton & Hove (and then some). 7 days. 1,373,908 steps. 687 miles. All for the ‘NHS Charities Together.’ We set up a WhatsApp group, circulated selfies, meme, encouragement, friendly competition and banter. It helped us stay active and raise some money for the NHS.
Don’t forget to breathe
You don’t need to become a meditation pro. Do take in the next sentence you read - deep breathing floods our systems with happy hormones, tricking our brains into making us feel instantly more chill. Practice breathing exercises. Ground yourself with mindfulness.
The next time you go for that daily walk, pause, look around you and describe (in your head or on the phone to someone) what you can see, smell and feel. Sometimes, we often forget to even take in our very surroundings, it's all about the small things.
Try something new
We know, we know… we’re not saying raise thousands of pounds, totally transform your body, start a blog or learn dozens of new skills. But, if there was a hobby you have always wanted to try, the time is now. Give it a go.
Already nailed this? Let's keep the habits and new hobbies we’ve created or rekindled. Taken up golf? Reading instead of endlessly scrolling, doing 5 minutes of meditation a day, enjoying your daily walks or starting to learn another language... continue these activities as lockdown lifts.
Use the ‘gram wisely
Social media can be a wonderful tool in trying times, and it can also be pretty damaging if not used properly. Unfollow anything and anyone who makes you feel like you’re not enough. Control where you get your updates from, set some realistic rules… ‘I won’t scroll through Twitter in bed’ or ‘I’ll only check the news on my lunch break and at dinner’. Too much news consumption may put you in a constant negative headspace.
We’re glued to our screens like never before, take a digital detox, draw the line, even if only for half a day. Completely disconnect from the situation. It’s refreshing. Another controllable you can control. You can turn off your screen.
Write that sh*t down
Write down your worries. Putting pen to paper can seriously mould our outlook. Writing down your thoughts, feelings and what you've done that day is incredibly therapeutic. Referring back to the positives can help put the bad days into perspective. When times get tough, it’s easy to forget what we’re grateful for and what you have succeeded in. Studies have shown that gratitude can lower stress, relieve depression, and help you sleep better. It's the perfect addition to your self-care routine.
Writing is cathartic. Something weighing heavy on you, write it down, be aware of your feelings. Accept them. All feelings are normal and acceptable, especially right now, so be compassionate towards yourself. The more you try to suppress your feelings, the more damaging they can be.
Zoom quizzes, bingo, virtual pubs. House party app, FaceTime or WhatsApp video call. We had a virtual date every evening of the week. Still going or has the novelty worn off?
Be present, call your bestie and plan your next big adventure. Check-in with your circle. Especially the bubbly extrovert. Call your aunt for a random chat. Stick your earphones in, walk and talk.
Staying connected will be different for individuals, whatever it is for you, we need connection right now more than ever. Not feeling very chatty, don’t completely go off the grid, rearrange or make it quick. If you can pick up the phone, it’s so worth it. Reach out to someone you trust.
A phone call can do wonders and completely lift your mood, even if you don’t talk, someone’s voice and stories will soothe you.
We may all be different and experience emotions in a number of ways, however, everyone is going through this together and that's important to remember.
Turn up the music
Music is medicine and good for the soul, whatever genre is your bag. Cleaning, cooking, sitting in the garden, whatever you’re doing music can calm us, lift our mood and connect us.
Create a collaborative playlist. Get it in the WhatsApp group, add a song a day, or whenever you think of one, hear one that you think should be shared... share it! Why not check when your favourite artist is next doing their Instagram Live concert? Spotify has teamed up with CALM to create the new Spotify Mental Health Awareness Week Hub, including playlists and podcast content.
Be kind to yourself
Have you turned into your own worst enemy during lockdown? However you’re feeling at the moment, or in a year's time, it’s important to remind yourself that your emotions are completely valid. You’re not alone…
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year with 1 in 6 people experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
Treat yourself to a coffee now the cafes are opening up. Buy a plant. Cook your fave meal. Selfcare is productive. Don't compare your journey, pre, and post corona. Laugh - be a friend to yourself.
Never forget you've got this! *friendly elbow bump*