The Mental Health Collective wanted to find a new way to bring people together, and they came up with the idea of #KindnessByPost. It’s like a Secret Santa for random acts of kindness, spreading hope, joy and togetherness across the UK – one card at a time.
This feel-good project is really easy to get involved with, and all for the cost of a stamp:
STEP 1: Sign up to #KindnessByPost via the website: www.kindnessbypost.org
STEP 2: You will get matched with somebody else in the Collective via email
STEP 3: Send a card or letter to them, filled with a positive message
STEP 4: You will receive one in return from somebody else in the Collective
From care homes to isolated countryside villages, bustling cities to coastal towns, kindness criss-crosses the country via post boxes and Royal Mail vans. Over 10,000 cards have been sent to date, as people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities come together to do something nice for a complete stranger.
Thinking about others and spreading positive vibes is a brilliant way to give ourselves a boost. Research shows that acts of kindness, whilst benefiting other people, also improves our own men - tal wellbeing. The person you send your card to might live far away, but it nonetheless increases our feelings of connectedness and helps us value our actions. Kindness shouldn’t just be directed outwards, but needs to be focused towards ourselves too. This often requires practise to get right, so the more opportunities we get to try it out the better.
This is a brilliant project to get young people involved with – and they can get super creative with it. From making their own card, to writing a thoughtful message, sharing words of hope, inspiring quotes, poetry, or even lyrics from a song that makes them smile. These thoughtful touches make it special for whoever receives it.
A teenager’s experience of #KindnessByPost:
We decorated our own cards, which I actually enjoyed doing. It was fun to think about the lady who was going to get it. I don’t know what she looks like, but I imagined her smiling when she opened it and read my letter. It was a little bit difficult to think about what to say at first, but I remembered the things that my friends tell me to make me feel better when I’m feeling a bit down. Once I started I wrote loads.
A card came from Julia a couple of days later. It had a lovely message on the front: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. She said she hoped that her card brightened my day up, and she also sneaked in a chocolate bar and some stickers. It really did brighten up my day, and I like to look at my card when I’m having a really tough time.
This is also a great way to talk about mental health with young people. You can use it as an opportunity to discuss loneliness, how this might feel, and the different ways we can combat it. We can all feel lonely at times, particularly when going through great periods of change. Even though we might be surrounded by lots of people, it can sometimes be difficult to find people who truly relate to our circumstances. This has a knock-on effect on our levels of self-esteem and the way we communicate our thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, fears, ambitions and worries. Having a conversation that isn’t directed towards their own personal situation, but is a broader brush-stroke approach that takes other people into consideration can be a very valuable learning tool. And receiving a card in turn helps to contextualise this and feel the difference that small acts of kindness can make. The New Year gives us a chance to check in with ourselves and hope for brighter times ahead.
#KindnessByPost isn’t just for Christmas. Initiatives run all year round, and you can choose which ones you want to get involved with. Once you sign up, you’ll be notified about the different exchanges that happen through the year and sign yourself up. Note: all personal details are kept securely and the website outlines how this information is used. www.kindnessbypost.org