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How to be Kind in a Crisis

We are currently living in uncertain times and it’s safe to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone. It’s during difficult times like these that we notice people coming together, supporting one other and acts of kindness become more important than ever. We have seen communities supporting each other by helping elderly and vulnerable neighbours, thousands of people responding to the UK government’s call for volunteers, and Captain Tom Moore's 100th Birthday Walk fundraiser raised millions for the NHS. Despite these troubling times, now is an ideal opportunity to celebrate these examples of unity and encourage more acts of kindness.

Before the pandemic, the non-profit organisation Kindness.org was collaborating with Harvard University on several studies that focused on evaluating a list of over 1,000 acts of kindness they had previously compiled. The arrival of Covid-19 gave the Kindness.org research team an opportunity to switch their focus and create a list of 100 acts of kindness that could be done during lockdown and while social distancing.

They asked US citizens to rate how costly these acts would be to perform (in terms of time, money, and effort) and how beneficial they would be to the recipient. The results showed that almost all the acts on the list that were relatively low cost had more of a benefit than the high-cost acts. The acts of kindness that made the most impact included practicing good hygiene, taking care of sick family members, cooking and sharing meals with family, arranging video calls with relatives, and supporting people in need by helping neighbours with their shopping and making donations. Interestingly, the Kindness.org research team have also mentioned that they are planning to examine how kindness during a crisis impacts the virtual workplace and the digital world.

In the UK, the Mental Health Foundation announced that kindness was the new theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) in response to Covid-19. The Foundation’s Chief Executive, Mark Rowland, said ‘One thing we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times, helping people to connect and communities to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic … We want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this pandemic’.

Like Kindness.org, the Mental Health Foundation is encouraging everyone to share any acts of kindness online – whether it’s calling a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while to offering support to a vulnerable neighbour.

Evidently, kindness matters more than ever but as well as carrying out acts of kindness, it’s also important to remember to be kind to yourself. Making time for yourself and practicing self-care, whether it’s taking a break from tech or taking a long bath, benefits you as well as the people around you. 

Author: Housing Technology

Kindness is the theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May 2020).