February 15th – February 22nd marks two significant weeks internationally. During these weeks we recognize “Random Acts of Kindness” as well as “International Boost of Self-Esteem”. Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital (Bakersfield Behavioral) feels strongly about both of these weeks, especially during the time of heightened emotions surrounding the pandemic. Many who have now been isolated for many months are faced with low self-esteem and an overall sense of worry. We at Bakersfield Behavioral would like to do our part to help our community combat these feelings through some helpful information concerning the benefits of performing acts of kindness, tips for self-care activities as well as the launch of our #projectcare campaign.
According to an article written and posted on Cedar Sinai’s website, it speaks to the health benefits that performing acts of kindness can have on your overall health. When we perform acts of kindness, it releases hormones that help improve health and mood. The act of performing selfless acts of kindness to others has shown such success with one’s mood and health that many have adopted it into their psychosocial routine with their patients.
The blog goes on to say, “What we know about the science behind acts of kindness is influencing how we treat certain health conditions, Dr. IsHak says.
- Studies are investigating if oxytocin can be beneficial in treating some conditions. The hormone is a protein and cannot simply be taken as a pill. It's being studied in injection and nasal spray forms.
- Mindfulness-based therapy is becoming increasingly popular for treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. The therapy is built on mindfulness meditation, documenting your gratitude, and acts of kindness. People being treated in a mindfulness-based therapy program incorporate acts of kindness into their daily routines.
- Helping others is also believed to increase levels of an endorphin-like chemical in the body called substance P, which can relieve pain, Dr. IsHak says.”
It’s important to remember, however, that a single act of kindness can’t carry you for extended periods of time, and therefore repeated acts of kindness are helpful in the overall improvement of your mood and health.
It’s vital that we also remember the importance of not only performing acts of kindness for others but also taking steps to ensure we are performing diligent self-care. Bakersfield Behavioral has posted several videos on their YouTube channel that touch on this very topic. When thinking about ways to promote good self-care, it’s good to create a “Self-Care Kit”. Each person’s kit is going to look different, depending on the types of things that bring them the most joy.
Directions for a Self-Care Kit:
- Find a box or tote
- Take time to decorate your box or tote
- Performing and completing art projects can be very therapeutic.
- Depending on your personal interests, the contents will be different, some examples might be:
- 2 large candles that smell good
- Bath bombs
- Pedicure items – along with your favorite nail polish (if applicable)
- A book
- Puzzle books
- Art project and supplies
- A list of songs that make you feel good (make a playlist on your phone)
- A neck massager
- A list of recipes you want to try
Make sure that you have a designated area that you can retreat to and utilize your items in your self-care kit. It’s also important to communicate with your family that you will be in a room, garage, back yard, etc., and that you are taking some time for yourself. You should put a time limit on your self-care time if you have a family that you help support, you might want to talk to your children or your significant other and discuss a time that works for everyone. (ex. 1 hour a day, 3-5 days a week). Encourage others in your life to create and implement self-care activities. Remember, some of your self-care activities can also include your family such as family game night, family walks around the block, taking the pet to the dog park, etc.
During this prolonged time of self-isolation, we may find that performing solitary self-care activities does not bring us joy as it may have in the past. It’s ok if your self-care activities include your family or friends. Some have chosen to create virtual book or cooking clubs so that they can feel connected with their friends and loved ones. The idea behind creating a self-care kit is to take time out of your day to do things that renew your feeling of joy. Depending on whether or not you are an introvert or an extrovert, how you revitalize your energy could look different. We encourage you to find the things that bring you joy and purposefully include them into your daily and weekly routine.
Lastly, we would like to introduce a new campaign that the hospital will be launching in February. Bakersfield Behavioral is proud to announce the launch of #projectcare which focuses on performing random acts of kindness for yourself and those around you. Bakersfield Behavioral will be launching this new campaign internally with their staff as they embark on performing many various acts of kindness throughout the month.
Some ideas you could do at home or your office:
- Decorate a cart, load it up with candy, fruit, sodas, chips, and other snacks and take it around your place of work for all the employees.
- Create an affirmation tree in your home or office and invite people to write words of encouragement and appreciation for others in the home or office.
- Volunteer your time (picking up groceries for a loved one who is isolated and can’t get out of the house)
- Donate non-perishable food items to a local food bank or church that helps provide food to your community.
- Post one positive thought every day of the month in February on your various social media platforms
If you or your business would like a full list of ideas or help with initiating and promoting this #projectcare campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone from the Business Development team would be happy to work with you.
Throughout February, let’s encourage acts of kindness to ourselves and all those around us. Remember that to take care of others, we must first take care of ourselves so that we then have the strength to be the very best we can be.