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A Message From Our MD During Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Hear what our staff have to say this Mental Health Awareness Week about what kindness means to them plus a message from our Managing Director.

May 21, 2020

A Message From Our MD During Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and if you ask us, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It only takes a second to glance around and see that the world isn’t the same as it was at Christmas. The world as we knew it has changed and now more than ever what matters is compassion and humanitarianism.

It fits beautifully with this year’s Mental Health Awareness theme of kindness and not only reminds us to practise this kind of empathy and care to those around us, but also to ourselves.

Take a moment to refuel

Car being refilled with fuel pump

We’re all going through a drastic change with many experiencing a temporary break from employment. Whilst this may free up a lot of hours in the day, we shouldn’t look to invest our time and energy in comparing ourselves and being hard on ourselves. In reality, it doesn’t matter who’s being the most productive, who’s baked more cakes and lemon loaves, who’s lost more weight and who’s ran more miles. Sometimes, and now is one of those times, it’s completely normal and in fact encouraged to just take a break to rejuvenate and refuel.

Avoid the risk of burnout

Car drifting and producing lots of smoke

For those of us who continue to work to from home, it’s important we try not to overcompensate for the fact that we’re working from an over-crowded kitchen table. We recently shared some working from home tips and it isn’t surprising that the majority of them were more so to do with the psychological and emotional wellbeing than the physical. Your mind is your greatest asset so it makes no sense not to take care of it. Our advice? Stick to a healthy routine, work to the best of your ability and when it’s time to switch off, switch off.

Kindness is deeply connected to Mental Health

BE KIND in scrabble style squares

It’s proven that kindness has a direct impact on our mental health and happiness and the challenges we face today require kindness more than ever. There have been videos going viral where we see grocery workers being verbally attacked, police officers being ridiculed and social distancing being broken without remorse.

But what we’ve also seen is an increase in kindness, an increase in solidarity and an increase in appreciation for all those who keep the country moving forward. Why? Because we’re human, because we want to feel happy and because we just can’t help it.

NHS staff joining in with Clap For Carers movement Photograph: Guy Bell

With new social distancing and isolation measures in place it can seem harder than usual to be kind to others but in reality, now is the time to check up on your friends and loved ones to make sure they’re doing okay. In fact, that’s the first piece of advice from one of our employees:

“I’d say it’s definitely important to still make time for your friends and family be it over video chat or a socially distanced catch up.”

Another Sandicliffe employee added: “In some ways we’re blessed to have the right tools to deal with social distancing and isolation. I couldn’t imagine doing this without having access to a phone or a laptop. My kids would be so sad not being able to see their nanny and vice versa so I'm thankful for video calls!”

Little girl sitting on sofa with a laptop

A positive attitude – we like it! See what others had to say when asked what kindness means to them:

“Kindness is the glue that holds together relationships.”

“Right now I think it’s as simple as picking up the telephone and seeing if your neighbour needs anything from the shops!”

“What does kindness mean to me? I would say kindness is making people feel happy and loved.”

“Giving from the heart with no expectation to receive.”

“A freshly-brewed cuppa!”

“Kindness is caring. It’s as simple as that.”

“Caring about other people’s feelings and not being judgemental because we don’t know what other people are going through just like people don’t know what we’re going through. Treating people how you want to be treated and showing people that you care. That's kindness”

“I really like that quote ‘if you can be anything in the world, be kind’ I don’t know if that answers your question.”

It doesn’t...but we do love the quote inception! 

Some even shared how they are dealing with the current unusualness of times:

"What helps me is taking a step back and appreciating the small things that get overlooked in day-to-day life - having time to read and exercise is also a massive bonus! Funnily, work is something that is keeping me sane at the moment and gives me definition and structure to the day."

"Although it's tough juggling homeschooling and work, spending one-on-one time with my children is everything."

"I've used this time to build on relationships with my friends and family and have challenged myself to learn new skills which I wouldn't normally have the time for." 

And finally a message from our Managing Director, Paul Woodhouse:

"It's a happy coincidence that Mental Health Awareness Week has fallen where it has in the year because right now kindness couldn't be more crucial. As we're faced with the harsh realities and repercussions of Covid-19, it's the kindness and positivity around us that will get us through each day. That is the real cure. This also rings true in terms of business as now would be the best of times to support your local businesses, support your friend's new start-up company, buy local produce.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the nation's collective fight against Coronavirus whether you are on the frontline of the healthcare system or are socially distancing from loved ones. Thank you for your support, your sacrifices and your generosity at times like this.

The current situation we are in has undoubtedly affected millions across the world and we hear a lot about the physical damage but unsurprisingly the effects on mental health haven't been given the same attention. It's the reason why we partnered up with Ben - Support For Life and have since worked so closely with them - because it's important for me to know that everyone in our workforce has free access to mental health and wellbeing support at all times. Creating an environment where people are not afraid to talk about mental health is important to me and I urge anyone who is in need of support to talk to a friend or helpline they feel comfortable with.

People care, we care. Stay safe and stay positive."

Do you or somebody you know need urgent help? Call Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org. Alternatively, choose a different helpline.

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