Mental Health Awareness Week runs from the 18th - 24th May 2020, the theme for this year is kindness. Now, more than ever it’s important we show kindness to one other. Giving and receiving acts of kindness can help to improve mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings.

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot about the words “Be Kind.” Not only does it seem to be trending on and off over on Twitter. It’s a reminder that you should be kind and that you can’t and shouldn’t judge someone when you don’t know about anything they’ve been through. I’ve also heard the words being tossed around as being bad. However, from my opinion, I’ve noticed more that people are telling others to “be kind” to themselves. I then notice that these people who say to “be kind” never really think or say it to themselves. It is hard to think about being kind to yourself. Some people say if you did then you would be called “selfish.” But realistically, what do we actually do to take care of your physical and mental health?

As a champion encourage positive change with the way we associate mental health. It’s not evil and it’s not a “disaster waiting to happen.” From my experience, I have faced too much stigma, some of which is from my own self. Especially recently: my mental health has been really bad, and since being diagnosed with ME in January, it’s been hard to be kind to myself, not let my own stigma take over me.

I’m definitely no expert when it comes to being kind, but thanks to my loyal family and most amazing friends – they reminded me it’s okay and to take a step back to allow myself to breathe. There is so much that does help me, and when I am being kind to myself, they are my go-to. However, here are just 5 ways that I do which also acts as being kind to myself.

Music

“I’ve always emphasis about how music helps me. Listening to music, writing my own music, dancing along to music. When I have bad days with my mental health, I know that music will help me. I’ve written songs about my severe depression, and situations in my life which has caused pain and worry. It helps me express how I’m feeling, and gets the bad thoughts out of my mind. Currently, I have Phil Collins on repeat. Which must be annoying for my neighbours when I attempt to sing the lyrics to every single song of his!

Grounding

I learnt from a group before the term ‘grounding.’ This uses all your senses. It’s a technique I should use more often. One of the things I was encouraged was to put one small chocolate piece on your tongue and let it melt… the only problem I find is that I love chocolate too much and find it difficult to use just ‘one piece.’ I tend to try and ground myself when my mental health is quite severe, and is something that really helps me.

Cups of Tea

“For me, a good cup of tea always brings me comfort. My family and friends know that I’m not feeling great, that they should instantly make me this hot beverage! Tea is everything. I don’t drink coffee, and drink very little alcohol. So for me, if I say to someone “I need a stiff drink,” it’s generally a tea with an extra spoonful of sugar in it! My partner makes me tea quite often (his tea making skills are awesome!) And I especially love Typhoo teas! I could constantly drink those!

Heavy Weighted Blanket

I remember my partner read before about a heavy weighted blanket, and so we did some research and bought one! As soon as it arrived, I put it over myself, and felt like a ton of bricks just come off my shoulders. It really did make me feel relaxed. And it also helps me at night with sleeping! I’ve been using it for months now, and sometimes if I need to try and relax during the day, I’ll just put the blanket over me whilst watching a film or playing a game…. Whilst drinking a tea!

Positive Box

Inspired by a book by Cathy Cassidy I first read as a young girl, I created a positive box. With my box I filled it with things that always make me smile which include chocolate, photos, a candle, and a sudoku book for me to do. Once the lid is on the box, I don’t touch it until a moment where my mental health isn’t great. I find it helpful, as I’m also very forgetful, so when I do look in the box, it really makes me smile.

 

-Laura Moulding, Time to Change Wales Champion

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