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Blog: Kindness, nature and pets

The theme of this year's mental health awareness week is kindness. I decided to think about the kindness we can show animals, nature and the environment by being mindful of them. So, I've started with animals, or more specifically, with pets. I agreed to foster a cat as a favour to a friend a while before lockdown started, not knowing how much time we would be spending together and what a lifeline she would be. She was parachuted in (not literally, but almost - she was flown in from Dubai) the day lockdown started. She squeaks rather than meows when she wants food, to play or cuddles. It's been too sunny in the morning for me to work at my "desk" (dining table actually) but it's perfect for Bella’s sunbathing, snoozing and lounging on the cushions that I put out for her so that she can be comfortable.

Bella the cat was originally a rescue cat. Her actual owners adopted her in Dubai - they picked her because they worried that she was too dopey to make it on the streets on her own. Since they showed that kindness she has been taken into a family, has now emigrated to a comfortable foster home in a new country and will be returning to her family once that's possible. 

I've also been branching out from the acts of kindness I can do at home to what is immediately outside my home. I've tried to be kind towards the nature and wildlife that is near my flat by looking after the communal garden behind my building. I've been planting wildflower seeds in the flowerbeds and deliberately not mowing the grass much so that the bees and other wildlife can enjoy the dandelions and longer grass to hide in. I've also been trying to make it look nice so that everyone in the building can enjoy it and spend some time outside.

Finally, thinking beyond my immediate surroundings, I've been trying to be kinder towards the environment by thinking about what I buy. I’ve just started doing as much of my food shopping as I can at the local plastic free shop. It's one of the things I've been meaning to do for months but never managed to organise myself and my tupperware to take down to the shop. Finally, I went because I heard a rumour they were the last place in town with flour, but it felt good to be finally doing something to reduce my environmental impact. So, I’ve made a big shopping list, got my tupperware ready, and I’ll be back soon.

This blog was written by Hayley Chandler, Peer Collaborative Coordinator at Health in Mind. 

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