The Kindness Pandemic – How St Helens responded in our time of need

Kindness Pandemic by Jodie Cooper positive psychology expert

The Big Lap of Oz

Kindness pandemic 3The kindness pandemic is a concept taking the world by storm. It’s absolutely brilliant! It started with a simple Facebook page and is showing how we have the capacity to dig deep, embrace uncertainty and come together to generate kindness.

Having left home in November for our big lap of Oz, we spent two months in Victoria before reaching Tas. As soon as we arrived, we knew we wanted to stay longer and extended our stay. (Funny how things work out hey.) First, we travelled West and we’re humbled by the untamed forests, wild coast and harsh weather. Next, we went South and saw ancient trees, convict settlements and the largest capacity dam in Australia.

Asking for help

After a wonderful week with friends at Launceston, they told us about the seriousness of the Corona virus. It was only then we started to watch the news and understand the severity of the situation. We made the decision quickly to stay in Tassie and headed East to the coast. (Where it’s a little warmer than the rest of Tas.)

The day we arrived at Cosy Corner North; the rangers came along. They informed everyone that we would need to leave tomorrow. All campgrounds run by councils or Parks and Wildlife would be closing. (Clearly, they hadn’t heard of the kindness pandemic at this stage.)

So, we did the only thing we could. We asked for help. I spent all night emailing out a plea for help, to everyone and anyone we could think of. I contacted the local council, Rotary, Lions club, local Facebook groups, travelling families, real estate agents and people listing air B & Bs.

By 9am the next day, Jackie from Rotary contacted me about a place to stay, and the local Council thought my skills might be needed. That afternoon we moved into our new home and on Monday I started work for Council as their mental health and wellbeing coordinator.

The key? It was simply asking for help when we needed it.Kindness pandemic 1

The kindness pandemic

The last two weeks have been incredible. It seems the kindness pandemic is in full swing here at St Helens. We’re all set up in our new home now and the basestation is parked up for a while. Kindness is all about us and we’re so humbled by this big-hearted little community.

Our neighbours gave us a freshly caught lobster, new friends gave me a big bag of work clothes, Jackie from Rotary lent the kids a huge tub of Lego, we got the ‘locals discount’ at the surf shop and my new boss lent us his dog for a day when I said we were missing Benson.

I can’t believe how kind everyone had been. I really feel like we’re meant to be here in St Helens and I’m hoping to share the kindness pandemic as far and wide as I can.

Kindness pandemic 4

The next chapter

So, we’re staying. Certainly until the pandemic passes, but who knows? I’m absolutely loving my new role with Break O’Day Council and want to make sure I give them as much as I can. I’m using all my positive psychology skills and am so excited about seeing the organisation become more positive and resilient through this crisis.

I’m still coaching privately (on Fridays), so if you’re interested, have a look at my positive psychology coaching program.

I hope that you and your family are safe and also experiencing, (or embracing), the kindness pandemic in these strange and uncertain times. I’d like to leave you with a simple blessing I picked up many years ago.

May you be well,

May you be happy,

May you be peaceful and

May you be loved.

You can also practice this as a mindfulness exercise and energetically nurture the kindness pandemic yourself. Good luck.

Or, if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, please get in touch.