I love that the theme of 2021’s Time to Talk Day is ‘The Power of Small’. Being small myself, it's great to have the validation that small can be powerful. I’ll take that!
But joking aside, there is a serious message here that I can also get behind. And that is that all of us can help support each others mental health and build each other up by harnessing the power of small. Small interactions, small acts of kindness, small connections and gestures can be all it takes to lift someone’s mood, make someone feel worthy, loved or cared for, or sometimes even save someone’s life.
The most life-changing thing that someone ever said to me was said over a decade ago by one of my oldest and dearest friends. She told me "You just look a bit flat, pal". That one thing was enough to give me permission to talk to her about how I was feeling and what was going on in my life. It helped me feel able to seek therapy that built my self-esteem, helped me create stronger boundaries, and helped me actually believe that my needs are important. It really was a game-changer, and I will always, always be grateful to my friend for her honesty.
Talking about mental health and feeling connected to others is important at any time, but right now, with various lockdown measures still in place, isolation and loneliness becoming more and more common, and uncertainty still hanging over us about what the future us going to look like, it is more important than ever.
Here are a few small, powerful things that you could do today - or any day - to make time to talk and connect with other people:
Smile and say hello to people you see when you are outside
Message someone you haven’t seen for a while to check in on how they’re doing
Phone a friend for a catch up phone call or video chat over a cuppa
Arrange a socially distanced walk with someone outside your household
Write a letter - on proper paper, with a pen! - and post it. The person receiving it will love that you have made that effort, just for them
See an elderly relative or neighbour for a ‘garden visit’ to check if they need anything
Send a card to let someone know you miss them
Spread some cheer by sharing funny memes, cartoons and stories with your social networks
Sit down to dinner with your family and find out about each others day. Some questions could be:
How have you been feeling today?
What was the best thing that has happened today?
Has anything made you sad/angry/upset today?
What one thing would you have changed about today?
What can we do to make tomorrow really awesome?
All these things might seem insignificant, but they’ll all help you stay connected to people you care about in small but significant ways. I’d love to hear what you've done to harness the power of small, and how it was received by others. You can subscribe and comment on my blog; or like my Facebook page www.facebook.com/tranquillocounselling and comment there.