Get involved in our 12 Days of Kindmas campaign as we practice being kind to ourselves and each other to mind our mental health at the end of a difficult year.
Celebrating hope and finding solace
The impact of COVID-19 has made 2020 an especially trying time, and has brought significant changes to the way we live, work and interact with each other: everyone has felt the effect. And while the end of a year is often a period to reflect on or celebrate the last twelve months, for many of us, the ways we traditionally mark this or restore ourselves at this time are not possible.
Celebrating hope and finding solace
Minding our mental health at moments like these is so important - and, in a year like 2020, that starts with kindness. Being kind to ourselves helps us to take pause, acknowledge how we feel, introduce or refresh practices to look after our wellbeing, and renew ourselves. Being kind to others empowers us to reconnect with and reengergise those around us, forge new bonds, and find solace together.
So, we're inviting you to join us for 12 Days of Kindmas as an opportunity to consider how we're all feeling, spread messages of hope and solidarity, and provide some relief and restoration this winter season.
From 8 December 2020, for each of the 12 days of the campaign, we shared insights and tips from our team on how we can foster kindness and compassion for ourselves and one another, develop coping strategies for the challenges we've faced in recent months, and refresh and revive ourselves to prepare for a more mentally healthy new year ahead.
After launching the campaign on Day One, we shared lots more news, resources and ways to get involved over the 12 days, which you can catch up on below.
Practicing self-care and mindfulness
Taking time out for self-kindness and showing ourselves empathy helps us to focus on considering what we can do to really make ourselves feel good. Whether it's setting a few minutes or hours aside for a relaxing activity or trying out a grounding mindfulness practice, we have lots of tips and ideas that will help you to get started in making yourself and your wellbeing a priority this winter.
The festive season can be a busy time with lots of expectations, but slowing down our minds and bodies can ease feelings of stress. From pausing for breath to setting everyday mindfulness reminders, we share ways you can bring yourself back to the present moment with an open heart and an attitude of kindness.Watch our video here
Getting self-care ideas
Taking time for ourselves throughout the winter to refresh ourselves and replenish our energy is so important. If you're looking for ideas of little things you can do just for yourself, dip into our ideas for a quick spark of inspiration on what you can easily put into practice to boost your mood and support your wellbeing.See our self-care lucky dip
Staying well in winter
Winter can be challenging, but offers opportunities to connect with pleasure in different ways. We look at some tips and ideas to mind your mental health and wellbeing in the winter months, from using your senses to relax physically and mentally to finding ways to occupy and invigorate ourselves in the darker evenings.See our tips here
Minding our mental health
Winter can be a challenging time. Whether it's experiencing feelings of guilt or anxiety about over-indulging on festive treats, feeling unmotivated and lethargic in the harsher weather, or missing loved ones who passed away during the year at a time you would normally be together, there are lots of everyday moments that we can find more difficult - with the exceptional circumstances of 2020 often compounding this. However, treating ourselves with kindness when these moments do arise can help us to move through them in an easier, healthier way. So, during #12DaysOfKindmas, Clinical Psychologist Professor Jim Lucey shares with us some guidance on dealing with grief and bereavement during the COVID-19 outbreak; dietitian Eleanor Sutton discusses how we can enjoy a healthy approach to food; and Advocacy Manager Louise O'Leary gives suggestions on how we can engage with nature's wonders during winter to support and maintain our mental health and wellbeing. Read more from them below!
Minding our mental health
2020 has impacted our ability to spend time with our family, friends and loved ones, but, with some simple acts of kindness, we can extend the hand of friendship, support and love. These acts show we care and give us and those we care for a real boost. From something as simple as sending a text to neighbours to check if there's anything they need help with to pairing up with a friend to learn a new skill online, there are lots of ways we can let people know we're thinking of them - and our #12DaysOfKindmas campaign celebrates these!
Encouraging random acts of kindness
Staying safe and helping to suppress the COVID-19 virus has meant fewer hugs, less time with our loved ones and our spirits feeling down from time to time. But don’t forget - there are some clever ways that we can extend the hand of friendship, community and love while protecting ourselves and each other.
We began our #12DaysOfKindmas campaign by inviting you to tell us of someone who has made a difference to you with their acts of kindness. By taking part, you were in to win a gift of an AVOCA Christmas candle and paper-chain kit for both you and that special person.
While the competition is now closed, you can look back on some of the acts of kindness you celebrated with us here.
Sending good wishes
We're sharing a free eCard which you can use to send best wishes to friends and family, letting them know that they are in your thoughts. While we might not physically be able to be with those we love as we would like to be at this time of year, taking a few minutes to share a special message with them is just one way we can show them that we are still together. Click on the links below to download a card which you can send to those in your thoughts by email or on social media. Use the hashtag #12DaysOfKindmas to help spread the positivity!
Share a digital card
Send this card by email to someone you have a special message for, or print off to create a card just for them!Download the digital card
Post on social media
Download this image which you can share on Facebook or Twitter, tagging those you are thinking of at this time of year.Click here for the social card
For so many of us, our home, working and social lives look very different today to how they did in January of this year, and we have been through experiences and felt losses that we couldn't have foreseen or prepared for. In such a turbulent year, taking a few minutes to reflect on both the people and the little things that we're grateful for can make a big difference to us. Whether it’s enjoying a long-overdue phone call with a friend, being thankful for feeling well, or appreciating an act of kindness someone has done for you, acknowledging these moments and remembering these pockets of joy can brighten our days and give us positive boosts.
Using a gratitude journal
Taking stock of what we're grateful for and what brings us joy is important is a great way to be kind to ourselves. We're sharing the Walk in My Shoes gratitude journal, which you can use to write down something that you're grateful for every day and use to look back on the positive experiences you have if you ever need a little reminder of them.Download the journal here
Shining a light of gratitude
Highlighting how much the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted each and every one of us in some way, we joined with partner organisations Mental Health Reform, SeeChange and Samaritans Ireland to light a candle and share your gratitude for someone who has supported you through or brightened up your year.Follow #12DaysOfKindmas on social media to see the response