So many things to worry about. Never has the threat of disease been more scary. Covid-19 itself takes over as our biggest fear, but the anxiety about cancer risks, symptoms and the pause on screening all add to the reasons why so many people worry and find it hard to take up lifestyle challenges.

Supporting the NHS in all its work is core to the health and well being of all of us. We know that the more actions we take to prevent or self-manage a disease the less we need to call upon the NHS. Although we know this,  it doesn’t mean we always do the “right things”. Many of our actions are related to low “headspace” where our minds are suffocated by the challenges of the day and finding our normal sane thinking space has gone. During the last few months I think we have all been there, experiencing times when we have been overtaken by that feeling of the unbelievable being real, the need to touch and see our best friends and fears about the future.

The recent survey from Obesity Action Scotland reports that many people have made very positive lifestyle changes. Since the coronavirus outbreak,  44% of people in Scotland are eating fewer takeaways and 29% are eating more fruit and vegetables. Around a third of people have also increased the amount of indoor physical activity they do. However, the majority of people in Scotland (54%) are eating more out of boredom. Specifically, 49% report eating more cakes and biscuits, 47% eating more confectionery and 38% are eating more savoury snacks.  Over a third of the survey respondents (34%) admit to drinking more alcohol. It isn’t difficult to see how that sense of control over life choices diminishes. Here in SCPN we love to provide support and guidance for getting people motivated and enjoying healthier life choices but we recognise the need to support psychological well-being too.

So, for this month, we don’t want to focus on lifestyle behaviours but to think about small acts of kindness that might (even for a short moment) bring us and many others a moment of happiness, a little space from the moments of turmoil so many people are facing.

We have been really moved by the amazing Facebook  pages from The Kindness Pandemic set up “because so many people need acts of kindness right now; and so many others want to hear stories of kindness”. Words, calls and ten minutes of action can make a difference in a day, in a week and onwards. So, this month we want to share some things in a #kind10mins that might just help people to find their headspace and onwards towards the healthier normal.

In a world where you can be many things… be kind.

Annie Anderson – Professor of Public Health Nutrition at University of Dundee and SCPN Co-Director