Day 83: Kindness Advent Calendar (2015)

Being kind by creating an Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar so everyone can take part and spread some festive kindness:

Today I’ve put the finishing touches to my Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you.

I was inspired by a lovely friend forwarding me a fab one for children a couple of days ago, and I thought it’d be great to create one for us grown ups.

So I set to work and this is the result:

Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar by maketodayhappy.co.uk

To download your copy, please click on this link: Acts-of-Kindness-Advent-Calendar-by-maketodayhappy.co_.uk_.pdf (22123 downloads)

And I’d like to invite lovely you and yours to join me in doing a kindness act every day for the 25 days leading up to Christmas.

It works just like a normal advent calendar but instead of receiving, we are giving.

How cool is that!

Now, I know December is an extra busy month for most of us, and we can find ourselves rushing around trying to get everything ready in time for the Christmas holidays.

So, I’ve tried to make each kindness act:

  • Quick: most days it will just take a few seconds, and a couple may take a few minutes,
  • Easy: they don’t really take too much effort or energy to do at all, and
  • Cheap: well, actually most of them don’t cost a thing, and a couple cost the price of a cup of coffee or chocolate bar in the vending machine.

This way, anyone and everyone can take part.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, or even make up 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 – imagine how amazing that would be!

It’s such a wonderful way to spread some festive cheer and boost our own spirits at the same time.

But I really need your help.

Please help me spread the word by encouraging family, friends and colleagues to take part in this kindness extravaganza as we countdown to Christmas.

And I’d be ever so grateful if you could share this blog post with others – simply click on one of the ‘share’ buttons below, or share it however works best for you – and let’s get the kindness ripple effect reaching out far and wide over the festive season.

And most of all, remember to have fun and enjoy creating a kindness ripple effect in your community.

Thank you so very much.

xxXxx

p.s. I’d love to hear about your kindness experiences in the comments below…

To download your free copy of the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar, please click on this link: Acts-of-Kindness-Advent-Calendar-by-maketodayhappy.co_.uk_.pdf (22123 downloads)

p.p.s. Thanks to EVERYONE who’s shared, forwarded on and/or downloaded my Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar so far – you are AMAZING! I’m so excited by how so many lovely folk are joining me in spreading the kindness message this festive season, including the Nottingham Post – THANK YOU!

Day 82: City love

Being kind by leaving more kindness messages around my city:

Today I went into the city to go to my first hair appointment in, well, quite a few months. And I thought it’d be a great opportunity to sprinkle some more kindness around my city.

I wrote my new favourite kindness message on seven of my Kindness Cards: “You are AMAZING. If you forget that, please read this again” and set off to get my bus.

you are AMAZING

I’d planned to stick my messages onto lampposts around the city centre, but as lots of rain had been forecast, I knew they’d get wet and ruined very quickly. So I decided to bring my kindness act inside.

Kindness Card #1, I left on the seat of my bus, hoping to make the next passenger who sat there smile.

Kindness Card #2, I left on a bench inside the shopping centre, so the next tired shopper needing a rest would find it.

Kindness Card #3, I stuck on the bathroom mirror of the shopping centre, so shoppers can read it while washing their hands.

Kindness Card #4, I stuck on a pillar inside the shopping centre so busy shoppers will notice it as they pass by.

Kindness Card #5, I hid in the condiments tray on the café table where I had a bite to eat, so the next diner would get more than bargained for when reaching for the salt!

Kindness Card #6, I stuck on the cafe’s bathroom mirror, to make diners smile as they washed their hands.

Kindness Card #7, I sneakily stuck on the mirror while I was having my hair done, without my lovely friend and hairdresser noticing (Gotcha lovely Mel, tee hee!).

I hope it made everyone who saw one of my kindness cards, feel AMAZING. And if you’re one of the folk who’ve come across one of my messages today, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by leaving more kindness messages around my city.

Day 78: You are AWESOME

Being kind by hiding kindness messages in my local newspaper:

Today I’ve been sprinkling some kindness around my city.

I’ve been inspired by a lovely little card sent to me by a very kind friend. It reads:

“You are AWESOME. If you forget that please read this again.”

Happier Connections Box

I love it sooooo much, I wanted to continue this kindness ripple effect by spreading this uplifting message across my city.

I decided to hide the same message inside my city’s newspaper, The Nottingham Post. In August, the paper launched a ‘Good Deeds’ campaign to “make our community a better place” and has set a target of 1,000 readers to do an act of kindness over the next few months.

Nottm Post Good Deeds

Each week the newspaper features kind folk in our community who’ve carried out a kindness act, such as raising money for charity, volunteering in the community, or helping out a neighbour.

I wrote the “You are AWESOME” message on seven of my Kindness Cards, and set off to a busy city centre newsagents.  I found the page that mentioned the Good Deed’s campaign and popped a Kindness Card inside seven newspapers, waiting to be found by its purchaser and readers!

You are awesome

Kindness Card in Notm Post

I really hope they make the people who come across my kindness messages smile. (And if you have and you’re reading this, it’d be really, really fantastic to hear from you in the comments below!).

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by hiding kindness messages inside my local newspaper.

Day 72: A cup of kindness

Being kind by buying a stranger a coffee:

My spirits have taken a battering recently with one thing or another, and so I took myself out for a soul stroll in this morning’s magical mist.

I walked into my local town and stopped at my local coffee shop for my usual, a decaf soy flat white.

Feeling pretty down in the dumps, I decided to reach out and show kindness to a stranger. From the acts of kindness I’ve been doing over the last few months, I know how much they lift my spirits too. And to be honest, this has been an unexpected bonus, it’s like experiencing a wonderful side effect from the kindness act itself.

So today I decided to buy a stranger a coffee.

I paid for the extra coffee and asked the barista to choose a customer who’ll receive the free cup, and give them my kindness card which reads: “You are an incredible person. Enjoy your coffee Xxx”

Kindness Card: Coffee's on me

I instantly felt my spirits lift.

In an article titled “5 Side Effects of Kindness on Health”, kindness author Dr David Hamilton explains why:

“When we do something kind for someone else, we feel good. On a spiritual level, many people feel that this is because it is the right thing to do and so we’re tapping into something deep and profound inside of us that says, ‘This is who I am.’

On a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we get is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain and so we get a natural high, often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’.”

So it’s a win-win.

I hope it brings a smile to the face of the recipient on this chilly, misty morning as it has to mine.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by buying a stranger a coffee.

Day 62: Everyday kindness

Being kind by bringing home a library book for my mum:

My mum recently borrowed a book from our local library, but a few pages in she realised she’d already read it. Mum decided to continue with it until she could go back to the library and choose a new book.

This was on my mind as I popped into our library today.  I looked for and checked out a book I thought she would enjoy.

When I gave mum the book, she was really touched and said it could be my kindness act for the day.

I was quite surprised because it didn’t feel like an act of kindness; I haven’t really considered thoughtfulness as an act of kindness before.

But when I think about it, they do go hand-in-hand.

I’ve been focussing on the bigger acts of kindness, especially those that take me out of my comfort zone. But it’s also about the thoughtful everyday little gestures. Especially to those who are part of our day-to-day lives.

Today has been a lovely reminder that all acts of kindness, big or small, showy or low key, deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Hooray 🙂

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by bringing home a library book for my mum.

Day 52: Rose garden

Being kind by thanking a neighbour for their delightful rose garden:

On my walking meditations, I always look forward to passing a rose garden in my neighbourhood.

One particular day when I was feeling a little low in spirits, I took myself out for a soul stroll in the hope that it would make me feel better.

And it worked a treat.

I took my usual route through the trees and along the brook, but decided to take a different way back home using a cut-through.

As I came out onto the street, I walked straight into the heavenly sweet scent of roses coming from a delightful garden full of rose bushes.

With roses of yellows, oranges, reds and pinks abound, the garden was a joyful treat. It was absolutely glorious.

It literally stopped me in my tracks and reminded me of the expression: “Stop and smell the roses”. The perfect reminder to slow down and take the time to appreciate the beauty of life.

And I think of this every time I pass this blissful garden, and it always lifts my spirits.

So today I decided to thank the owners for their well cared for garden. I posted a Kindness Card through their letterbox with these words written on the back:

“Thank you for your delightful rose garden. I walk by most days and your colourful roses and their heavenly scent always lift my spirits.”

Kindness Card for Rose Garden

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by thanking a neighbour for their rose garden.

Day 51: Kindness messages

Being kind by leaving kindness messages around my city:

I took myself off for an Artist’s Date brunch today and to sprinkle some more kindness magic around my city.

I wrote messages on the back of my Kindness Cards, and here’s where I left them:

Message 1: “You are perfect, just as you are 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Hidden in-between the condiments at my brunch café.

Kindness message at brunch

Message 2: “You have a beautiful smile 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Stuck on the bathroom mirror of the café.

kindness message on bathroom mirror

Message 3: “You are truly loved, just as you are 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Stuck on a lamp-post in the busy city centre.

kindness message on lampost

Message 4: “Make the leap, it could be amazing 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Hidden inside a pair of tights in my fave shop.

kindness message in tights

Message 5: “You don’t ever have to worry, it’ll all be ok 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Left on a bench in the main shopping centre.

kindness message on shopping centre bench

Message 6: “Everything will always be ok 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Left on a bench at the bus stop.

kindness message on bus stop bench

Again, I wrote this blog address on the card, just in case the finder wants to have a peek. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did, and even wrote a comment below, oh my!

I was caught red-handed by a lady as I was leaving the last message at the bus stop. She gave me such a big, warm smile; it felt amazing to know that I’ve made one person smile today.

And I smiled all the way home.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by leaving kindness messages around my city.

Day 47: Free parking

Being kind by paying for a strangers car parking by leaving money in the ticket machine:

This morning I took a soul stroll in the rain into my local town centre. As I was cutting through the town’s biggest car park, I decided to put some money in the ticket machines to pay for someone’s parking.

The idea is that the next person coming to the machine to pay would find they had two free hours of parking to enjoy on me! And to help explain this Act of Kindness, they would see my Kindness Cards with the message:

“Enjoy some free parking time on me! Have a lovely day Xxx”

Free parking kindness card

I did this for all three of the ticket machines in the car park, in the hope of making three locals smile on this dreary wet Monday morning.

I also wrote this blog address on the card, just in case they are curious. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they visited this blog and left a comment…

But if not, that’s absolutely fine too – my intention is to spread kindness in my community without expecting anything in return.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by paying for a strangers car parking by leaving money in the ticket machine.

Day 37: Soul nourishing nature

Being mindful during a visit to Attenborough Nature Reserve:

Today I am so happy to have visited one of my favourite localish places for nature: Attenborough Nature Reserve.

An award-winning eco-friendly visitor attraction managed by the wildlife trust, it covers 165 hectares and offers 9 miles of trails: it’s a very special place.

It feeds and nourishes my soul whenever I visit.

I’d love to be a regular visitor, but as it’s a half hour drive and over an hour to walk around the shortest trail, I haven’t felt well enough to go for a long time.

But today was the day.

Feeling truly grateful and blessed, I strolled along the Tufted Duck Nature Trail soaking up all the gorgeousness that Mother Nature has to offer.

It was such a treat to see a gathering of the webbed-feet variety, including an army of frolicking ducks, and swans gliding on the water with their growing cygnets. And it was another treat to witness the magnitude of a few hundred geese flying overhead.

The webbed feet brigade

As I wandered along the peace-filled open pathways, I breathed in the fresh air and soaked up the peekaboo playing sun from behind the dark, threatening clouds.

I marvelled at the sparkling sunshine dancing on the water, and wild heather bowing in the breeze as the wind rustled through the trees.

Experiencing a change of scenery, I meandered through the magical forest with the sporadic sunshine dappling through the trees.

magical forest

As I paused on a little jetty at the waters’ edge, a pluto-esque puppy bounded towards me to say hello. Jumping up and almost knocking me into the water, the adorable pup left a giant footprint on my skirt and another one on my heart.

Along today’s soul stroll, I couldn’t help but leave a few of my Kindness Cards with messages for people to find: a couple on benches, a couple on the gate posts, and a couple in the cafe. Here’s hoping they brought a smile to other soul strollers.

kindness messages at attenborough

I completed my visit the way I’d started: with a tea inside the Nature House, winner of the Gold award for eco-tourism. As I nosed around the shop, I managed to limit myself to an eco pen, for today anyway!

As I headed back to the car, I took a parting pause for reflection, for love, for gratitude: “Bye Bye Attenborough Nature Reserve and all your glorious beauty. I hope to see you again soon.”

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful during a visit to Attenborough Nature Reserve.

Day 36: Coffee’s on me

Being kind by anonymously paying for a stranger’s coffee:

Yay! Today I got the chance to use another of my Kindness Cards. Feeling well enough to go out for a couple of hours, I walked into my local town for a coffee.

The friendly manager took my order, and I shyly asked if she’d do me a favour. I explained that I’d like to anonymously pay for a customer’s coffee and would like her to pass on one of my Kindness Cards, which on the back I’d written: You are an incredible person. Enjoy your coffee xxx

Kindness Card: Coffee's on me

What I didn’t anticipate, however, was the manager’s response: she was genuinely touched and moved to tears by the gesture.

The crazy thing is that her response made me feel a little uncomfortable.

It made me realise how much easier it is to show kindness to others than it is to accept kindness ourselves. What a learning experience.

She accepted my payment for the coffee along with the Kindness Card and promised to pass it along.

I didn’t stay long enough to see who was given the free coffee, but that was the idea really. I want to give without expectation of getting anything in return.

This is the first time of using my Kindness Cards that involved asking for someone else’s help. Not realising it at the time, it has shown the bountiful benefits of kindness: this one small act has made two, hopefully three, people happy: me, the manager, and, hopefully, the recipient of the free coffee.

So my happy for today is being kind to a stranger by anonymously paying for their coffee.