Next week marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK (Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May) and it’s important to recognise what you can do to support the mental health of those around you regardless of what they’re going through. Here are some simple things you can do to help support someone with their mental health.
Catch up with an old friend
It’s easily done: ‘we should get together soon’. Before you know it, it’s been 2 months since you said it owing to the family, the marking, the upcoming exams and everything else life throws at you. Take the time to message that friend, set a date, calendar it and catch up over a cup of tea.
Join a colleague for lunch
A number of teachers take short, lonely breaks in their classroom because they feel far too busy to do otherwise. Make some time to join a colleague for lunch as often as you can – not only will they appreciate the company of another adult, it’ll make them (and you) feel less lonely and isolated in your classroom.
Tell someone you are grateful for them
We all have people we can rely on occasionally. Drop them a text to let them know you appreciate them and their help. A quick thank you to a friend for printing your worksheets for you while you popped to the toilet during break will let them know you think about them.
Act of Kindness
Take the time to perform a small act of kindness that would really help someone out – make a tea for your frazzled friend in the department, help your neighbour carry the shopping inside. Small yet meaningful actions make a person feel massively appreciated.
Volunteer or be charitable
We often forget how fortunate we are – and volunteering your own time to those that need it is a good way to remind yourself of that fact. Help out in an after-school club or volunteer locally if you have the time. Those less fortunate than ourselves often rely on volunteer services and your help will go a long way.
Ask someone how they are and listen
How are you? Fine, thanks – you? Yeah, not too bad. It’s idle chatter and we all do it. Take the time to ask someone how they’re actually feeling if their body language and behaviour belies their stock answer. We rush a lot so we often hide how we actually feel when in reality, being able to share it would help us all.
Take some time for yourself
Don’t forget about some self-care this week. Enjoy a long soak in the bath, take the dogs and kids out to a local park now the evenings are a bit lighter and sunnier. Head out over the weekend and take in nature. Whatever it is you enjoy doing, make time for it and take care of yourself.
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