Kindness felt like an enormous part of our lives at the start of lockdown. We were scared, and our daily acts of kindness helped us feel that we would all get through it together. We spoke to our neighbours, we waved to strangers, we went to the shops for relatives. As we go into winter, it definitely feels like we’ve needed to focus on looking after ourselves, to focus on much needed self care. I don’t know about you, but my energy is feeling pretty low.
The truth is that living through a short term crisis is hard work. We get through it on adrenaline. Living through a longer term crisis is exhausting. We’ve all lost energy – we feel tired and we’ve gone into self preservation mode. And yet, it is exactly at this moment that we need the kindness we saw earlier in lockdown.
We’ve all needed kindness at some point this year. Sometimes we needed someone to talk to, sometimes just a smile to make us feel less alone. And sometimes we were the one sharing a smile, or listening to someone’s worries. Sometimes it is our turn to share kindness and other times to receive it – this is the nature of community, it’s how we look after each other.
Kindness, as Carnegie UK’s research has shown, is something that helps us feel included and connect to others, particularly in times when we are forced to be distant. Kindness helps us remember that someone cares about us. But often, we need permission to reach out.
That’s why we launched our Be Kind, Reach Out, Coorie In campaign, along with our partners in the Community Action Response, encouraging people to do what they can to keep spreading kindness this winter. At a time when so many people still feel isolated, small things that make someone smile can make a huge difference. But we’re also encouraging people to accept kindness, and to reach out for help and support when they need it. We’re signposting to emotional and practical support on our website. We’re also encouraging people to look after themselves, to show themselves a little love and self care, by coorie-ing inside and getting nice and cosy.
Kindness can be a wonderful source of joy, particularly when the days are short and the nights are cold, and I’ve no doubt it will get us through many a difficult time. So if you can, look for ways to share kindness with your friends and neighbours this winter. And if you need it, don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you.
Get involved with the campaign!
Check out www.edenprojectcommunities.com/winter for ideas and tips on spreading kindness, as well as signposting to mental health support and self care resources.
If you’d like to share the campaign download our posters and resources on the website, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Bridger is the Scotland Country Manager for Eden Project Communities, and lives in Leith. Eden Project Communities initiatives are all about connecting people in their communities, supported by The National Lottery. When the pandemic hit earlier this year we quickly launched the Community Action Response working with over thirty partners. Be Kind, Reach out, Coorie In is our new campaign to help people connect and support one another through the ongoing crisis.
Find out more at www.edenprojectcommunities.com or at @EdenCommsScot