“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Amelia Earhart
This week is Mental Health Awareness week which has been running by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001. However, we can’t help but feel that this year the awareness around this topic is more important than ever given the current situation we are experiencing. Protecting our mental health is so important in terms of helping us to cope and recover from the coronavirus with the effects on us psychologically and socially much more likely to outlast the physical symptoms of the virus.
The theme this year is kindness. Since we went into lockdown 9 weeks ago we have shown so much kindness to each other, our key workers, vulnerable neighbours, friends and family. However, can the same be said for the kindness that we have shown ourselves? We as individuals put so much pressure on ourselves to succeed, to be seen to be ‘coping’ the way the people around us appear to be managing this situation. We are all going through this at different stages, feeling different emotions and struggling in lots of ways and at a rate that is unique to us as individuals and our families. We need to remember to be kind to ourselves. It is known that offering an act of kindness and experiencing it ourselves offers us a moving experience where we often feel a sense of safety, protection, we feel noticed and loved. Kindness is powerful! Perhaps kindness is a value that could add more satisfaction to and strengthen your relationships. Here are 5 ways to be mindful and encourage kindness within our daily lives;
• Show kindness and compassion to everyone you interact with- friends, family and strangers.
• Teach your children about what it means to be kind and compassionate. Give them examples and tell them what someone did that was kind for you or what you did for someone else.
• Be kind to your partner. Be kind to your children. Be kind to yourself.
• Don’t let yourself be mistreated. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, reach out for support from organisations that can help you.
Anyone can be kind. Anyone can practice being kind. Anyone can be taught to be kind. Show it to others and at the same time expect it from others. Show your children what being kind looks like and to be in a loving relationship. Kindness starts in our homes.
Just as your physical health needs ongoing care your mental health also requires regular attention. When we nurture our mental health, we handle stress more effectively, recover from setbacks more quickly, sleep better, and physically heal more quickly. In many ways, mental health is the key to a healthier, happier existence.
Social relationships can improve your mental health. Research suggests that people with strong, supportive relationships live healthier, longer lives. Studies also show that people with healthy relationships heal more quickly, have lower blood pressure, are less likely to experience a depression relapse and are generally less anxious.
When relationships become stressful consider practising mindfulness which is a useful method of reframing your daily activities, it encourages you to acknowledge and address your emotions and physical responses with curiosity and respect. Recent studies show that mindfulness has great benefits for our mental health and can help to reduce anxiety. Examples of mindfulness that you can include in your everyday life include:
• Pay attention to your bodies responses. Are you feeling anxious? What is your body telling you?
• Acknowledge your feelings. Are you feeling tired, overwhelmed or sick?
• Give awareness to your breathing when you are feeling overwhelmed by taking slow rhythmic breaths.
• Find quiet time for personal reflection or meditation every day.
• Stop and take notice of your emotions before reacting. Why are you angry, upset, worried?
Rethink Mental Health also suggest setting yourself some rules if you are feeling overwhelmed during the current situation as a way of helping to reduce your anxiety:
• Turn off news notifications on your phone
• Mute people sharing updates or misinformation
• Equip yourself with information from trusted sources
• Discuss your fears with someone you trust
• Distract yourself with things you enjoy
• Eat well, sleep well
• Talk to your GP or mental health team
The Mental Health Foundation challenge us this week to try to be active for 30 minutes a day. This does not have to be strenuous exercise. However, if you are feeling particularly active try running, cycling or walking. There are also lots of free online workouts available on YouTube. Or for a more relaxed approach gardening can be considered as a form of exercise.
Remember to be kind to yourself and others, you are doing the best you can.« Are You Safe at Home? Relationships Week Launches »
Our counsellor was excellent and really helped me and my husband to resolve the niggles in our relationshipService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
My counsellor was lovely, attentive and supportive. She helped me to understand my worth and for that, I will always be gratefulService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
This service is invaluable. Such lovely people to meet and help you through difficult times.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
The service was excellent, my counsellor was really good at getting us to open up and helping us to get to the root of our issues. We have definitely improved our communication since attending.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
I found the Relationship MOT an excellent method of focusing on how we work as a couple and just as importantly, where we need to work. It was professional, insightful and well worth the time. It has reminded us of how much we have to be proud of in our relationship and why it is so important to occasionally review it with experts.Service Attended Relationship MOT
I would definitely recommend using the Relationship MOT service as a bit of a check in with your partner. I thought how the counsellor was able to steer the conversation was very insightful and nuanced. The MOT reminded us about why we are great together but also the importance of communication and respect.” “Our counsellor provided an outside perspective which immediately helped us to agree that we needed to stop and think with more kindness and empathy for each other especially when stressed or pissed off. We both felt that our counsellor’s excellent and gentle facilitation was quite invigorating. So many positives!Service Attended Relationship MOT 2
Very Interesting Content. I like the concept of preparing your relationship before you have problemsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 4
The face to face programme has made me feel connected with others experiencing similar thingsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 3
The workshops made me more confident to balance family life after the baby's arrivalService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 2
I now have a better understanding of myself, it is good to know that it is normal to have argumentsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 1
I felt the weekly questionnaire, couples with the counsellor's understanding of my needs help contribute to my own understanding of my mental health and needs throughout.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
I loved every session. Our counsellor listened to what we had to say and gave us helpful wee homework - would recommend this service to everybodyService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
Our counsellor was a fantastic support - we now feel strong enough to continue working on our relationship togetherService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
I had a very good counsellor that helped me through a lot and it has made me come out the other side.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
Counselling took us from a bad place to a good one and I would return if neededService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
Been a lifeline to help us fall in love again - forever grateful!Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I would just like to say that when I first came for counselling I felt that I was drowning. I have completed my sessions and I now feel that I can cope a lot better with everything. Thank you for a brilliant service.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals
Thank you Relate NI for a good nights sleep.Service Attended Relate NI Kids Counselling
Really enjoyed Relate NI and I'm actually going to miss counselling. I Found it helpful to find myself again. Very fair and equal within our relationship.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I appreciated the straightforward, helpful and informed observations about situations. It really helped me cope during Christmas which is a difficult time for usService Attended Family Counselling
The counsellor was very pleasant to meet with. They had the necessary skills to speak and listen when appropriate. I liked their humour and good personality.Service Attended Family Counselling
Relate NI has helped me move on as well as understand myself and situation more. My counsellor listened to me, facilitated me and was compassionate!Service Attended Relate NI Teen Counselling
I felt the weekly questionnaire, coupled with counsellor's understanding of my needs helped contribute to my own understanding of my mental health and needs throughoutService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals
We had four funded sessions and cannot express how grateful we are for the help, guidance and knowledge. Our counsellor was incredibly professional, and her experience and obvious passion for helping couples like us was exceptional. She helped us to understand ourselves and each other like we otherwise never would have been able to.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I have tried counselling many times in the past. This time actually made a difference. I was able to complete online sessions as well as some face to face.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals