Be Kind to Beat the January Blues

Kindness
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By Georgina Manning | January can be a difficult month for many of us, even at the best of times, with cold, grey days, dark evenings, and all of December’s festivities over. At EqualiTeach we take the month of January to focus on kindness, to beat the blues and start the year with some positivity- and this year I invite you to join us!

Kindness may come in the form of generosity or compassion towards others, or of looking after yourself. I am sharing 30 ideas of small actions you can do for others or yourself to show a little kindness- that’s one small action every day for a month! Feel free to print out this list, share it with colleagues and friends, and let’s set 2022 off to a good, kind start.

The ideas are based on the 5 ways to wellbeing developed by New Economics Foundation (Click here to find out more). You can see a short video put together by The Sanctuary Group about them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gJ5V525SCk

As well as encouraging staff members to show kindness to themselves and others, EqualiTeach, as a team, are:

  • Hosting virtual team lunches to make time for us to connect with each other informally and get to know each other better
  • Running a ‘kind colleague’ system so everyone in the team has a colleague they can check in with throughout the month to share if they have some good news or talk things through if they’re not having the best day!
  • Collecting items to donate to a women in crisis group

Connect

Connect with others, investing and developing relationships with colleagues, family, friends and your local community.

Small actions you could carry out:

  • Take time out to ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you.
  • Phone a family member or friend for a chat
  • Text someone to tell them why you appreciate them
  • Join a group/club/community with a shared interest
  • Send a postcard to let someone know you’re thinking of them
  • Say hello to a neighbour you haven’t spoken to before

Be active

Find small (or big) ways to move your body each day that works for you – being active gets endorphins flowing and helps to make you feel good!

Small actions you could do:

  • Set an alarm on your phone reminding you to take regular breaks from work to stretch, and move your body
  • Use your lunch break to get outside for a walk, run or other activity
  • Sign up to a class or activity in your local area
  • Cook your favourite meal
  • Do some gardening or plant something

Take Notice

Pause, be present and take notice of the world around you and your own thoughts and feelings.

Small actions you could do:

  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Take a break from social media for a day (or longer!)
  • Take a moment to check in with yourself, how are you feeling physically and emotionally?
  • Spend 5 minutes looking out of the window, noticing different colours, shapes, textures
  • Visit somewhere familiar, but look for 5 things you’ve never noticed before

Learn

Learn something new, it feels good to face a new challenge, to use our brains in a different way, and it can be fun too!

Small actions you could do:

  • Rediscover an old interest or hobby
  • Ask colleagues to recommend a book or podcast (or why not take a look through some of our blogs on various equality topics: Visit the EqualiTeach Blog)
  • Find new accounts to follow on social media, and try to go beyond your ‘echo chamber’ to follow people with different identities and experiences to your own
  • Sign up to a class or online course (Did you know we have e-learning courses, one of which is free to access? Find out more at: EqualiTeach staff training)
  • Try a new recipe

Give

Showing kindness, generosity and compassion to others not only has a positive impact on them, but it makes you feel good too- everyone’s a winner!

Small actions you could do:

  • Ask a friend or colleague how they are and really listen to their reply
  • Donate money or goods to a good cause
  • Sign up to volunteer at a local foodbank, charity shop or other cause
  • Pay someone a compliment
  • Offer to help someone with a project

Self-Care

Self-care will look very different to everyone, so I encourage you to think about what makes you feel good.

Small actions you could do:

  • Have an early night
  • Relax in a bubble bath
  • Do some doodling
  • Write down three things you are proud of

I leave you with this quote from Howard Zinn:

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”

― Howard Zinn

Find below some links for Mental Health support:

NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/mental-health-services/where-to-get-urgent-help-for-mental-health/

Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/where-to-start/

Time to Change: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/mental-health-and-stigma/help-and-support

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