Top kindness tips | Education Support

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Kindness tips - mental health awareness week

Top kindness tips

As schools ready themselves for possible re-opening, protecting our mental health and wellbeing continues to be central to coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

The psychological and social impacts of the crisis are likely to out-last the physical toll and a report by the World Health Organisation to the UN has warned must be made a priority.

From 18 to 24 May, Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 highlights that kindness is key to getting through this. Kindness to ourselves as well as kindness towards others which can have a powerful, lasting positive effect on our own and our collective mental health and wellbeing.

Here are our top 3 kindness tips:

Care for yourself

We may know this but it is essential to put the time and effort into being kind to yourself. Strive to do it more often and you will reap the rewards in terms of your mental health and wellbeing. It sounds simple but many of us find it hard to put at the top of the list. If you eat well and prioritise sleep, fresh air and physical exercise, you are far more likely to be able to stay strong for yourself and others not just now but in the weeks and months ahead.

However busy you are teaching remotely or in school, try to set aside a short time every day to do something that will help to calm your thoughts. It will of course be personal to you but a short session of meditation or mindfulness, reading a book, listening to an uplifting podcast, gardening, or practising yoga; whatever it is that you find helpful and calming, make time to do it and you will feel the benefits.

Care for others

At the same time, giving help and support to others feel good. Something that many teachers and education staff are continuing to show time and again that they do brilliantly since school closures.  Not only can it help us to feel connected; particularly important during this time, it can be a real antidote to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

It is also often the case that the more you do for others, the more you do for yourself as you strengthen your relationships and become more aware and feel good about what you are able to achieve.

As research by the Mental health Foundation shows, demonstrating kindness and altruism to others has the power to help people to put things into perspective and feel more positive as individuals. There is evidence that being aware of your own acts of kindness, as well as the things you are grateful for, can increase feelings of happiness, optimism, and satisfaction.  Doing good may help you to have a more positive outlook about your own circumstances and ability to make things happen.

Talk and share

Now as never before, accept the uncertainty and talk about it. Reducing the need for certainty will reduce the drive to worry about what we can’t control. Think about what you can control and share your feelings with others. It’s ok to feel anxious, sad, or angry.

Everything has changed in a very short period of time. Connect with and talk through your worries with your colleagues and peers. Consider any benefits that this time may bring now or looking to the future, any opportunities to approach things differently from what you’ve experienced in the last weeks and months. Many school leaders have talked about just how important the wellbeing of children and staff will be post-coronavirus.

And don’t forget that no matter what you’re feeling, our free, confidential helpline is always here 24/7 for anyone working in education. If you’re struggling, whatever the problem, our trained counsellors are on hand to listen at any time and help you or anyone you are concerned for to find a way forward. Please contact us or pass on our number 08000 562 561.

Many teachers, headteachers and support staff are going the extra mile to support their colleagues, students and local communities. Share on our Twitter or Facebook accounts your stories of those educators showing that #KindnessMatters during #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

What can you do?

If you’re in a position to help others in these extraordinary times, please consider making a donation so that we can continue to answer the increasing number of desperate calls and grants applications we are receiving. Thank you so much.