Act of kindness #30: Litter picking

A kind-hearted Facebook friend recently wrote this post on her inspiring kindness page:

Ally's Post about Litter.png

And it really hit home. HARD!

I completely identified with the first part of the post:

“We were walking home and I walked past a whole lot of litter that was left from the parade that was on in the week. Guess what I thought? ‘the council didn’t do a very good job cleaning up afterwards, that’s a real mess at the top of my street’ AND I KEPT ON WALKING… yep. I walked past it.”

Yep, whenever I see litter, I say to myself how awful it is, and I keep on walking. And I imagine most people do the very same.

But now, I want to identify with the second part of Ally’s post:

“Then I thought, actually I keep harping on “Be the change in the world” and wondered how many other people had walked past this litter. I turned around, and walked back and with that thought in mind, I had a small plastic bag in my bag, and with Roux [Ally’s dog] on her leash (more hindrance than help) I picked up the litter.”

So rather than tut-tutting about the amount of litter I see strewn around my neighbourhood and feeling outrage at the person/s responsible for the rubbish, I will simply pick it up.

[image: downtownarlington.org]

It’s that easy!

Due to a CFS symptom flare up, I haven’t been feeling well enough to go out for a soul stroll these past few days (my kindness calendar suggested this act for Tuesday) but today, I felt up to taking a gentle walk around my neighbourhood.

And before I set off, I stuffed an empty bag into my coat pocket, ready to pick up any litter I came across.

Like this…

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And this…

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At one point a woman walking her dog shouted to me over the brook: “What are you doing?”. When I explained, she replied: “Thank goodness there are people like you in the world!” and came over for a little natter.

As I came back home I picked up a little litter in our front garden, and came across my dad’s peugeot car badge which he thought had disappeared forever! We’re guessing it had come loose and had been  blown onto the garden.

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Result!!

So from my 10 minute stroll around the green space near my home, this is my haul…

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I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised how much I found.

Just think, if every person in the world picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 7 billion fewer pieces of litter in the world. If every person in the world picked up just 10 pieces of litter today, there would be over 70 billion fewer pieces of litter. And if we did this every day, my mind boggles at the number of fewer pieces of litter around our communities!!

And the good news is that we don’t even have to make a massive effort to do this.

Here are my 3 favourite tips I’ve gathered from litter picking campaigns:

1. Watch and share this inspiring video:
keepbritaintidy.org

2. “You can make a big difference by ‘adopting’ somewhere and committing to litter pick it on a regular basis, say once every 2-3 weeks.”
litterheroes.co.uk

3. 7 Keys for a Successful Cleanup Project

1) be willing to do the activity alone, and enjoy it
2) make the time, place and duration explicitly clear to everyone you tell about it

3) INVITE people. Don’t coerce, try to sell it to them, or overly control their participation. When invited, most people will bring something to the clean up effort that really makes really work.
4) keep it simple. Cleaning up trash is easy. All you need are garbage bags, places to put the trash, and gloves (rakes and shovels can’t hurt either!) Tell potential participants that these are the raw materials, but bring enough yourself to cover half-a-dozen people who come without .
5) have fun doing it. After all, you and everyone else will be actively making the world a better place… really.
6) tell lots of people, including the press. Just call them up and tell them what, when, where you are doing what you are doing. Even if you wind up alone out there, you will still peak interest, and people may want to join you next time.
7) remind people and yourself that what you are doing matters by telling incidents and specifics about how it matters to you. Just the simple truth will inspire others.
litterproject.com

Thank you Ally for inspiring me to spread a little kindness around my neighbourhood to help make my community a better, cleaner place to be.

☆♡☆

 

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

Does anyone else feel like we’re galloping though this year? While I try to live in the present moment, I can’t help but feel a tad taken aback that March is already here!

But I’m very happy as March is one of my favourite months of the year.

I’m especially delighted that it means winter is almost behind us and spring is on its way.  I’ve been hunting for signs of spring on my soul strolls for a while now, and am rejoicing at seeing the daffs and the crocuses brightening up my neighbourhood.

I’m also thankful the days are becoming lighter and longer. It’s lovely waking up to see some pretty stunning sunrises, as I can now see the early morning sun rising from the comfort on my very own bed.

Yes, there’s definitely a sense of spring in the air and everyone seems to have a little more spring in their step.

Hooray!

And I also love that March is my birthday month. I’m a self-confessed Birthday Princess – and urge everyone else to be one too (or a Birthday Prince of course!).

After all, aren’t we worth celebrating!

I love having birthday adventures and enjoy plotting how I can celebrate being on our beautiful Earth for another year.  My most memorable birthday adventures include a helicopter ride over the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, being on a yoga retreat in spiritual Bali, and turning thirty in New York City was pretty special too.

But obviously with the limitations that having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome brings, my birthdays have been a lot more low key recently, but no less enjoyable – just in a different way. And nothing really beats having my young munchkin nephews gleefully singing Happy Birthday and then “helping” me blow out all the candles 🙂

And so with this new month approaching, I’ve been busily working on March’s Kindness Calendar over the last few days. And I’m pretty excited to include a few ideas from some wonderful folk from my ‘spreading a little kindness’ Facebook community.

A big thank you to everyone who’s contributed. I’ve saved a couple for next month, so keep an eye out if you can’t spot yours in this month’s calendar! Please do keep them coming as I’m always delighted to hear your ideas, suggestions and any favourites you may have.

Ok, here’s my Kindness Calendar for March 2017:

Kindness Calendar March 2017

And you can download it for free here:

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

As always, I try to make the acts on my Kindness Calendars quick, easy and cheap (well, mostly free actually). So anyone and everyone can join in.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, adapt the acts to suit you, or even create your own kindness acts. And don’t worry if you can’t do an act of kindness every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible as I know too well with the nature of my CFS flare ups.

But even if every one of us manages to do just one kindness act on one day this month – imagine how amazing that would be!

Again, it would be really brilliant and deeply appreciated if you could share this with family, friends, work colleagues, classmates… and share all over social media. 🙂

Every single extra act of kindness counts, together we are making the world a kinder place. So let’s get as many people as we can involved.

And don’t forget to join me on my kindness community page on Facebook, or Twitter and if you post about your kindness act, please use the hashtag #KindnessCalendar so we can all keep track of all the wonderful kindness we are sharing.

Let’s have fun, and let’s remember to be kinder to ourselves as well, we are definitely worth it!

Have a Magnificent March and thank you so much for your kindness.

☆♡☆

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

A Little Note to my Lovely Email Subscribers:
I’m so sorry the link to download the calendar on my email didn’t work. Eeeek!! I’m trying a new download tool and for some reason, it didn’t want to be included in the email! And I didn’t know until it was too late. I’ll hopefully be able to work out the problem for next month’s calendar. Thank you for your patience and understanding ♡

Act of Kindness #29: Free chocolate, anyone?

Happy Random Act of Kindness (RAK) Day!

Today, I wanted to do something a little bit more special, while still taking into consideration the limitations of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

And so I decided to hand out a few chocolate bars to strangers in the street!

As my budget is also very limited, I thought I’d email a few of the larger confectionary companies to see if they’d be happy to help me by donating a few bars.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t heard back from them… but I imagine they must receive lots of requests like mine.

I also asked my kind-hearted local Co-op Foods as they’ve given members of our local community – including lucky ole me!- goody bags filled with lovely things around Christmas-time.

I was thrilled when they said YES!

And I was over-the-moon when they delivered 88 bars of their yummy chocolate (and it really is yummy if you haven’t already discovered it!).

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Then a big-hearted friend said she would donate £50 of her own hard-earned cash to buy chocolate bars with. And on behalf of RAK Day, I simply couldn’t refuse her kind offer.  (THANK YOU my lovely!)

And believe me when I tell you I had a LOT Of fun choosing which choccies to buy and couldn’t believe my eyes when I loaded up my trolley with 205 bars – thanks to a brilliant offer on at the supermarket!

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This makes an incredible, grand total of 300 chocolate bars for my RAK Day giveaway.

WooHoooo!!

I wanted to attach one of my kindness cards to each bar, explaining what the give-away was all about. And I’m so thankful for my lovely mum for helping me write them and then attach them to the bars.

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We couldn’t believe it when we filled up the rucksack-on-wheels my sis lent me for the occasion. And then filled up half a carrier bag too!!

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This morning, I recruited the much-needed and deeply appreciated help of my lovely mum and 8 yr-old nephew Callum, and we all headed down to our city’s Old Market Square.

And they were such kindness superstars. (THANK YOU mum and Callum ♡)

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At first Callum was a little too shy to hand out any bars with us, but it wasn’t long before he joined in the fun and then really got into the spirit of it, which was really heart-warming to see.

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My mum was absolutely brilliant and was happy to go into some of the city centre shops to hand out bars to the hand-working staff.

Mum+Callum in tram centre

As we stood in the Old Market Square offering bars of chocolates to passersby, some people practically ran away from us. Some people were a little suspicious at first, but then seemed happy to accept a chocolate bar once we explained what we were doing. And some people happily accepted straight away.

We got a few hugs, lots of thank yous, and oodles of big smiles.

Hooray 🙂

We were even joined by our city’s newspaper, the Nottingham Post, who’d come along to capture the choc-fest fun! Click here to see what they wrote.

With only a few bars left, we were feeling rather hungry and headed for a celebratory lunch. Then after giving all the staff a chocolate bar, we slipped into a city centre car park and popped the rest onto cars so that their owners can enjoy a sweet surprise when they return after a hard day’s shopping.

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And now as I’m utterly wiped out after all this RAK Week fun, I’m heading to bed for a few days to recover.

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But I do so with a happy heart and the hope that we’ve made a few people smile this week, and brightened up a few people’s days.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of chocolate bars – thank you for visiting! I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huuuuuuge thanks again to both the big-hearted Kerry at Co-Op Foods Hucknall, and my kind-hearted friend who wishes to remain anonymous. Today wouldn’t have been possible without your kind donations ♡

ppps please forgive any mistakes as I’m super-duper tired whilst writing this, but I wanted to post before I zonk out! Night, night!!

Act of kindness #28: A Valentine’s rose

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And Happy International Random Act of Kindness Week!

What a perfect opportunity to spread some love-filled kindness.

As it’s the school holidays, I have the sweetest little helper in the form of my 4-year-old nephew, Thomas.

Could this day get any better!

And as it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a lovely idea to give a few flowers to strangers to show them some love and make them smile.

Last week, I approached our local florist, Kerry’s Florist, to see if they would be interested in donating a few flowers for the occasion.

And even though it’s most probably their busiest day of the year, they said YES!

WooHooo!!

So, yesterday I collected 20 gorgeous red roses, and was really touched to see that the lovely Kerry and Shania had wrapped every single rose beautifully.

I attached one of my Kindness Cards to each rose with the message: “Happy Valentine’s Day: You are AMAZING. Kindly donated by ‘Kerry’s Florist’ to celebrate RAK Week.”

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Earlier this morning, my little helper and I happily made our way down to our local GP surgery. Here’s a little video I made of us.

And we had the loveliest time placing our Valentine’s surprises on car windscreens.

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We even had the chance to give a few people coming out of the doctor’s surgery a Valentine’s rose in person.

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It was touching to see Thomas happily handing each person a red rose, and most of the recipients seemed really touched. One lady in particular had tears in her eyes, and it was clear we’d really made her day. We both gave her a big hug.

We hope that the flowers are a LOVEly surprise for all the car owners when they return to their vehicles after their Doctor’s appointment.

And we really hope our little act of kindness will make them smile and feel a little bit better and brighter, especially on this love-filled day.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of our Valentine’s red roses, I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huge thanks again to the big-hearted Kerry and Shania at Kerry’s Florist for generously donating the roses and wrapping them so beautifully. You are both AMAZING.

Insight Timer

Being mindful by meditating every single day with Insight Timer:

After the unexpected success and utter excitement around my Kindness Advent Calendar throughout December, I realised I needed to spend some quality time re-grounding myself. I have a tendency to live in my head, and really have to work hard to stay in a calm healing state rather than a stressed, or even excitable, state.

And meditation has become so crucial to this process.

I’d been trying to meditate for years and years, but was always quick to give up thinking I couldn’t do it because my monkey mind would just not settle and keep quiet. I thought meditation simply wasn’t for me.

monkey mind

I finally got into a regular meditation practice when I stayed in an ashram in India for a couple of months and have managed to keep up a regular practice ever since.

And then a year ago, I was introduced to the wonderful Insight Timer app which helps to inspire me to meditate every single day. My practice has grown stronger and stronger and I’m really feeling the benefit.

Insight Timer

Insight Timer is a really easy-to-use app, where you can choose from one of the thousands of guided meditations by one of the hundreds of meditation teachers from around the world – including Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Mooji, davidji, Vidyamala Burch, Andrew Johnson, Elisha Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Kristin Neff, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sarah Blondin, Thich Nhat Hanh.…

Insight Timer Meditation Teachers

There are themed playlists – including Sleep, Sound Healing, Stress Reduction, Gratitude, Relax, Chanting+Mantras, Kids and Teens – so you can choose a meditation depending on what you need.

Insight Timer playlists

I tend to reach for a meditation depending on how I’m feeling and what I’m needing at that moment, whether it’s sleep, welcoming the morning, stress relief, present moment awareness, letting go, or a burst of positivity. There seems to be a guided meditation for most things really and lengths vary from one minute to over an hour.

Or you can also select the timer if you prefer to meditate in silence or with ambient background music. You can choose to have a beginning, interval and/or ending bells or gongs (I loooove the gong) if you wish.

Insight Timer Timer.jpg

The app logs your meditations so you can keep track of what you’ve done and for how long you’ve meditated for.

It also connects you to the other 1.5 million meditators around the world, and if you wish you can become friends, or join a group. And one of my favourite features is seeing who’s been meditating at the same time. There’s something really comforting and quite powerful knowing you’re meditating with thousands of other lovely folk all over the world, even though I’m sitting by myself in my bedroom.

Insight Timer Fellow Meditators

And you can send even them a ‘thank you for meditating with me’ message.

I absolutely love this app and what makes it even more special is their mission: to achieve the equivalent of 10,000 years of meditation.

Insight Timer Mission

Meditating daily really does helps me stay grounded, be in the present moment, and have a calmer and more focused mind.

Of course, it’s not always or often easy. I’ve discovered that some days are harder than others in my quest to quieten my monkey mind, but the simple act of gently bringing my attention back to the present moment can make all the difference to my day and how I’m feeling.

Meditation has become an integral part of my healing tool kit and I honestly can’t imagine a day without it.

☆♡☆

If you’re interested in checking it out, visit: https://insighttimer.com/

Kindness Calendar – February 2017

Hello kindness warriors!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful January and remembered to be kind to yourself as well as to others.

An incredible 12,000 kind folk downloaded January’s Kindness Calendar, which equates to a potential 300,000 acts of kindness. Which is pretty amazing, especially during a month where a lot of people suffer from the January blues – so a huge THANK YOU for making a difference and for making so many people smile.

My heart is so full of gratitude for all the kindness you are spreading all over the world.

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better after my quiet and restful month. I’m grateful for the reminder that I need to go gently and slowly. So while I might not be online as much as I’d like to be, I am always, always, cheering you on from my bed!

And now we’re into February ♡

As you’ll see, I couldn’t resist the ‘love’ theme seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day and all. And what a perfect opportunity to show those we love how much we love them – partners, friends, family, children and pets alike!

But most of all, please don’t forget to show yourself some BIG love this month too!

It’s also Random Act of Kindness Week from 12th-18th February and Random Act of Kindness Day on Friday 17th. Yay 🙂 So let’s make an even bigger impact by spreading a little more kindness and making even more folk smile.

Please do let me know if you’re planning anything – you can post on my ‘Spreading A Little Kindness’ facebook community page. I love to hear what you’re getting up to, and I know everyone else does too.

So here’s February’s Kindness Calendar:

Kindness Calendar February 2017 FINAL

To download your free copy, please click on this link: Kindness-Calendar-February-2017.pdf (1839 downloads)

As always, I try to make the acts on my Kindness Calendars quick, easy and cheap (well, mostly free actually). So anyone and everyone can join in.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, adapt the acts to suit you, or even create your own kindness acts. And don’t worry if you can’t do an act of kindness every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible as I know too well with the nature of my CFS flare ups.

But even if every one of us manages to do just one kindness act on one day this month – imagine how amazing that would be!

Again, it would be really brilliant and deeply appreciated if you could share this with family, friends, work colleagues, classmates… and share all over social media. 🙂

Every single extra act of kindness counts, together we are making the world a kinder place. So let’s get as many people as we can involved.

And don’t forget to join me on my kindness community page on Facebook, or Twitter and don’t forget to use the hashtag #KindnessCalendar.

Let’s have fun, and let’s remember to be kinder to ourselves as well, we are definitely worth it!

Thank you so much.

☆♡☆

To download your free copy of February’s Kindness Calendar, please click on this link: Kindness-Calendar-February-2017.pdf (1839 downloads)

Kindness Calendar – January 2017

I am absolutely astounded and deeply heartened by the incredible response to my Kindness Advent Calendar and the amazing kindness ripple effect it has created.

With nearly 340,000 downloads, a potential 8.5 million acts of kindness have taken place around the world.

☆ Eight and a half million acts of kindness ☆

How brilliant is that!

My heart is overflowing with gratitude to everyone who has taken part… and have shared the calendar with others. I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to every single person who has completed even just one more act of kindness…  thank you for making a difference, you really are AMAZING.

I’ve absolutely loved reading about your kindness experiences and hearing how much you’ve enjoyed doing them. And I must confess, I’ve often shed a happy tear or two.

Hand on heart, I truly believe that together we are making the world a kinder place.

And so, why stop there?

I’ve been thinking how a kindness calendar doesn’t have to be just for Christmas, and how absolutely amazing it would be if we kept this huge kindness ripple effect going throughout the whole of 2017.. and beyond!

So, I’m going to be creating a Kindness Calendar each month and would love for you to join me.

Here is January’s Kindness Calendar…

Kindness Calendar January 2017

To download your free copy, please click on this link: Kindness-Calendar-January-2017.pdf (14227 downloads)

Again, I’ve made each kindness act quick, easy and mostly free (or really cheap!) so anyone and everyone can take part.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, or even create your own kindness acts. And don’t worry if you can’t do an act of kindness every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible as I know too well with the nature of my CFS flare ups.

Every single extra act of kindness counts, so let’s get as many people as we can involved.

It was because of lovely you so kindly sharing the Kindness Advent Calendar that helped keep the kindness ripple effect going and reaching so far and wide.

And so I’d like to ask for your help again. It would be really brilliant and deeply appreciated if you could share this with family, friends, work colleagues, classmates… and share all over social media too 🙂

And don’t forget to join me on my kindness community page on Facebook, and I’m even on Twitter too (although I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’ll get there!).

Let’s have fun, and let’s remember to be kinder to ourselves as well, we are definitely worth it!

Thank you so much.

☆♡☆

A LITTLE EXTRA NOTE:

I’m going to be taking a little break from my blog and social media in January.

Unfortunately my Chronic Fatigue Symptoms have flared up after all the activity and excitement of the last few weeks. I have to practise kindness to myself by concentrating on my health and feeling the best I possible can, so I can come back ready to continue spreading a little more kindness.

Please do keep on sharing your kindness experiences, thoughts and ideas – I know how we all love to read them, and they really do help keep us inspired.

Have a wonderful and kind January.
Big hugs to you, love Helen Xxx

To download your free copy of January’s Kindness Calendar, please click on this link: Kindness-Calendar-January-2017.pdf (14227 downloads)

Merry Christmas!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

And at this most magical time, I would like to say thank you.

thank-you1

Thank you for all your support this year, it means so much to me. I’m especially grateful to everyone who subscribes, letting me pop up in your inboxes every now and again.

Thank you for your comments. Reading your kind words always puts a huge smile on my face, boosts my spirits, and inspires me to keep going especially when my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms have flared up and I’m feeling really rubbish.

And last but definitely not least, a HUGE thank you to to everyone who’s joined in with my Kindness Advent Calendar this year and has been spreading a little more kindness throughout December.  You really are AMAZING and I’m so excited that together we are making the world a kinder place.

Wishing you all a wonderfully magical Christmas and a brand new year filled with all that you wish for, and so much more.

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Festive love+hugs, Helen Xxx

 

Act of kindness #27: Lotto luck

Day 23 of my Kindness Advent Calendar is to “buy a lottery ticket and give it to a friend, loved one or stranger”.

So this morning I bought a few lottery scratch cards and popped them in a bag along with a little chocolate bar and one of my Kindness Cards with the message: “I hope this brings you a little lottery luck! Merry Christmas.”

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I then randomly placed them on windscreens of cars parked in my local town.

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IMG_6250I really hope they bring someone a little lottery luck this Christmas.

☆♡☆

A warm and grateful heart

Being grateful for receiving kindness from big-hearted folk:

Oh boy, what a month it has been in the life of my Kindness Advent Calendar; it honestly feels like a huge ripple effect of kindness is spreading out all over the world. I’ll write more about this once I’ve got over the shock!

I also would like to acknowledge all the lovely folk who’ve recently signed up to receive my blog posts directly into your inboxes – a huge twinkly, jingle bells of a HELLO to you and I wish I could give you all a great big THANK YOU hug.

Seriously.

But for now, it’s back to today’s post…

All this excitement and activity has unfortunately – well, rather predictably – brought on my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms 🙁

I’ve been feeling utterly wiped out and unable to get out of bed for a few days, and last week I had to switch off from social media for a little while. This frustratingly meant I couldn’t respond to all the amazing blog messages and posts and tweets coming in, of which I’m seriously loving reading each and every one.

But I realised that I needed to be kinder to myself and take the time to rest, recover and recharge – my 3Rs.

And on one day last week, when I was feeling particularly rough and low and sorry for myself, I received a wonderful act of kindness. My folks weren’t home and my mum told that she was expecting a package (cough cough = a little white lie!!) and would I answer the door – which I normally wouldn’t do.

And I’m so glad I did.

Standing at the front door were two lovely staff members from my local Co-op delivering a bag of sweet festive treats.

Co-op Facebook post 2 12th Dec 16.jpg

You can see from the photo just how rough I was feeling that day, but it was such a magical surprise and I’m deeply grateful for their kindness.

My sleep has also taken a kicking and is being really rubbish, leaving me feeling more fatigued on top of my existing chronic fatigue.

Urgh!

A lovely friend suggested a massage might help, and although it’s way out of my budget, I realised that it was worth a try.

As I was trying to find an affordable practitioner through an online search (a wood-through-the-trees scenario!), I saw that I had a new message on my Facebook community page: spreading a little kindness.

It was from the big-hearted Sue Fisher, a mobile reflexologist who is doing the Kindness Advent Calendar. She saw that I lived in the same neck of the woods, and generously offered me a free session.

Seeing it as a sign, I gratefully accepted and Sue came by the following day.

She explained how she specialises in lymphatic drainage reflexology which has been shown to help people with auto-immune conditions, including CFS.

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[image: In The Zone Reflexology]

It was pure heaven and I’m deeply grateful to Sue for her kindness. I’ve since invested in a further two sessions, and am feeling the benefits as well as it all being rather blissful.

I am so thankful for the kindness I’ve received, although I have to confess I find it so much easier to give kindness than it is to receive. Hmmmm.. a poignant lesson for me to be learning right now.

☆♡☆