Acts of kindness towards others are good for our own mental health and wellbeing, says Guy Richardson from The Retreat

The belief is that, after the coronavirus pandemic, we will emerge as a kinder society.

Guy Richardson, Occupational Therapist and Deputy Service Lead for Autism and ADHD at The Retreat, explains how being kind to others is good for your mental health and how you can start with being kind to yourself.

It is clear that kindness helps us reduce stress, develop relationships and helps us look at situations or challenges in a new way.

As well as displaying kindness towards others, however, it’s also important to show kindness towards yourself. This helps to give a sense of self identity and maintains and improves self-esteem, but is not always an easy thing to do. If you are having difficulties with being kind to yourself here are a few things to try:

Do activities that you enjoy

Engaging in activities that are individually meaningful to you is of vital importance for maintaining and improving mental well-being. In the same way you might plan the times you will do activities that you have to do during a day, such as organising your work day, take time to factor in the activities that you enjoy.

Engage in exercise and physical activity.

Exercise has numerous benefits for physical and mental health. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, find an activity that you enjoy and get moving.

Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet

Eat at regular times during the day and drink plenty of water. Aim to prepare healthy and nutritious meals, if you don’t enjoy cooking these do not have to be elaborate meals search the internet or recipe books for simple recipes.


is really important for health. By being disciplined with regular bedtimes and waking times you will be being kind to yourself. If you have difficulty sleeping look for advice around ‘sleep hygiene’. This will include information about developing a bedtime routine, turning off electronic devices an hour before going bed and activities that can help to relax and wind down prior to bedtime.

Take time to acknowledge your successes, however big or small these may be.

Focus on things that you will have achieved on a regular basis. Throughout the day take a moment to acknowledge those things that you have done well. This may be recognising something you have achieved at work or something small and simple like noting that you were able to get up and get ready this morning when you really did not want to get out of bed. These will all be individual to you and so don’t compare what you feel is a success with others.

Take time to relax

Again the things that you find relaxing will be something that is unique to you. Whether it is reading, listening to music, meditating, playing a game, having a bath or just sitting with a cup of tea and looking out the window, ensure that you take within your day to take a moment and do something that helps to feel calm and relaxed.

Be kind to others.

Acts of kindness towards others are good for you own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve your emotional wellbeing. The way you think about and treat others is often the way you think about and treat yourself. So choose to be kinder towards others to, over time, become kinder and more understanding towards yourself too.