Given the stresses of the world and our daily lives, it’s no surprise that mental health is a frequent topic of discussion. According to nami.org, one in five U.S. adults experience mental health issues each year. Furthermore, minorities represent 13.4% of the U.S. population, and over 16% reported having a mental illness in the past year. Which equates to over 7-million people!
The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light that mental health is a significant concern. Athletes, celebrities, billionaires, family, and friends – no one is immune to feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed.
This week (the last week in August), Be Kind to Humankind week is observed to encourage kindness among people. And while we should always be kind to Humankind, it’s a reminder to offer support and encouragement to those around us through thoughtful gestures and actions.
While a trained professional should treat the more serious mental health cases, what can we do to show kindness and help those we care about when they might be struggling?
Scroll down for three ideas:
Many times, when someone is sad, depressed, angry, or frustrated, they just need someone who will listen. However, listen to learn, not just be polite. Sit with them, talk to them, or help out if you can. The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management has some fantastic guidelines on listening when someone struggling wants to talk or vent.
What if you can’t provide support in person? Fortunately, there are many online alternatives. If you’re looking to chat in real-time, there’s Facetime, Google Duo, or Zoom. Suppose you’re in different time zones or have commitments that don’t allow you to talk directly. In that case, Marco Polo is a great app that will enable you to send video messages. Sending a short video with encouraging words or quiet moments in nature can offer a comforting solution until you can connect otherwise.
Send something unexpected.
Often a letter or gift can light up someone’s day. Consider sending flowers or a hilarious card. Or take things a step further by putting together a custom care box. Get creative by including items that appeal to all of the senses, or create a package with local merchandise representing the city or state you live in. Some friends and I recently put together a care box for a mutual friend and packed the box with a cozy blanket, snacks, a puzzle, and a journal with a fancy pen.
Candles are an excellent way to encourage relaxation and serenity. They provide subtle lighting and fragrances that can fit any mood or environment. Look for a local candle-making company that uses high-quality fragrances and carries scents that can ease tension. Our friends at Seventh Avenue Apothecary in Tampa recommend ingredients such as Eucalyptus and Ginseng, Golden Bamboo, or Lavender and Black Pepper to calm the body and reduce stress.
Remember, don’t forget the rest of the family! Sometimes it’s not only one person who is struggling, but the entire family. So, if you’re sending a care box, don’t forget to include a little something for not only men and women, but children and fur friends as well. For kids, consider: making your own, or purchase a rock painting kit, drawing supplies, tie-dying kids (the adults can join in on this fun too!), journals in bright colors, or games and activities such as puzzles or coloring books.
For our four-legged friends, seek out a treat company either locally or online that cooks up healthy alternatives to bones or stuffed toys. Or, here’s a unique option: our friends at No2 Tote have created a stylish and discreet way to carry your pups poo while walking, running, or skating. Such a fabulous product that any dog owner would love to have and thoughtful addition to your custom care box.
Lend a helping hand.
Small acts of kindness can go a long way, especially for someone feeling overwhelmed. Or if you don’t know someone well enough to provide an ear or put together a care box. Consider purchasing gift cards and drop them off on their porch or their desk at work. Dining establishments, coffee shops, or grocery and gas station gift cards are always a thoughtful idea. Or, if you know, they have kids, a gift card somewhere quick and easy to grab a bite.
Doing chores such as cutting your neighbor’s grass, washing their car, or weeding their flower bed can brighten someone’s day and take a simple thing off their minds and to-do list.
“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.”quotling.com
There are many things, large and small, we can do individually to help people in need. And while this week shines a light and encourages kindness and altruism in our communities, we should strive to improve the quality of life and Humankind every day around the world.