I received one of my own a few years ago when I was really struggling financially, whilst living in Germany. My kind and thoughtful sister filled a box full of my favourite food and gave it to me on one of my visits home. I’ll never forget how touched I was and can honestly say it remains one of the most memorable gifts I’ve ever received.
And so, I’m really excited to be ‘paying it forward’ by preparing a box of my own for a family in need over the festive season.
I wanted to give a family supplies for each meal of the day and snacks in between. Of course they need to be non-perishable items, which I thought would be a little challenging for me as I’m a big fresh food lover, but I think I did ok… here’s what’s in my box:
Kicking off the day with cereal and a cuppa tea; lunch could be a flavourful tin of soup; for an afternoon snack I’ve put in a packet of tasty biscuits; for dinner there’s a choice of rice or pasta with tinned veggies, tinned tomatoes or baked beans, and tuna; for pudding there’s a tin of fresh fruit which can be served with a tin of custard; and finally, for an evening treat there’s some yummy chocolates to be washed down with another cuppa!
I’m going to pop by box down to my local food bank today. I really hope it helps brighten a family’s Christmas.
ps I’ve made a little video of what’s in my box, if you’d like to take a peek, please click here 🙂
Being grateful to local media for helping me spread a little more kindness:
I am absolutely astounded by how many people my Kindness Advent Calendar is reaching. In just 11 days, over 220,000 people from 172 countries have visited my blog post… and an incredible 68,000 have already downloaded the calendar.
That’s 68,000 downloads!!!
I’m absolutely blown away, over-the-moon, stunned, overwhelmed, excited, thankful… you name it, I feel it.
But mostly I am deeply heartened at the thought of this huge ripple effect of kindness reaching out all over the world, from Namibia to Nicaragua, Azerbaijan to Antigua, Mauritius to Malaysia, China to Cambodia, Saudi Arabia to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh to Bermuda, and so many more wonderful countries full of kind-hearted folk.
I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s downloaded the calendar and are joining me spreading a little festive kindness. It’s going to be so much fun.
I know from my own personal experience how just one small act of kindness can really brighten someone’s day, and also help remind our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbours, our children, and people we haven’t yet met, that there is still good in the world.
And there really is LOTS of good in the world.
I’m really grateful to everyone who’s helping me spread the kindness message by sharing my Kindness Advent Calendar. You really are amazing ☆
A big thank to you the Nottingham Post for publishing this article about my kindness mission. A few days after it appeared on the website, the reporter told me that they usually get between 1-2,000 views per article, but the one featuring my Kindness Advent Calendar had received over 10,000 views.
And another big thank you to BBC Radio Nottingham who invited me to have a live chat with the lovely Mark Dennison on their morning show.
Did you hear me say ‘LIVE’ – gulp!
Despite talking ten to the dozen (well, I had a LOT to say!) and dwelling on what I did or didn’t say, I enjoyed our chat and was delighted when Mark said he would join in (and I think it is legally binding Mark 😊). I especially love that after we’d finished, Mark commented how: “…it’s given [him] that warm glow.”
This is what it’s all about.
I’m really excited about starting spreading a little Christmas cheer with you all and would like to invite you to join my Facebook community, Spreading a little kindness, to share our ideas and experiences throughout December.
And if you do post about your kindness acts on Facebook or Twitter (come and say hello: @HelenCGreenUK), please use the hashtag #KindnessAdventCalendar so we can all enjoy this wonderful kindness ripple we are creating.
I’d like to sign off with this rather apt Howard Zinn quote: “We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
ps If you’d like to read the Nottingham Post article, please click here.
or if you fancy a listen to my chat with Radio Nottingham’s Mark Dennison:
There’s been a huge ripple effect of kindness on social media these past few days leading up to today’s World Kindness Day. And I have to confess I’m feeling very excited about it.
I loved making up my World Kindness Day Goody Bags and placing them on cars in the hospital car park on Friday, and I’m ecstatic about the positive reaction to my Kindness Advent Calendar I posted yesterday (at the time of writing over 250 kindness warriors have downloaded it already, woohooo!!)
So it’s no surprise that due to my limited energy from the CFS, I’m feeling pretty wiped out today. I have a family birthday dinner to go to shortly, but really wanted to do just one more kindness act in honour of #WorldKindnessDay.
So today’s is a simple one.
I wanted to enjoy today’s gorgeous sunshine and autumn colours so took a gentle soul stroll down to our local shops.
And I bought this cheerful autumn bunch of flowers.
I thought I’d split the flowers and place a single flower onto windscreens of cars parked at the restaurant. And to each flower, I’ve attached one of my kindness cards with the message: Celebrating World Kindness Day – Sun 13th Nov.
And I decided to take my own advice and be kind to myself as well. So I treated myself to the same colourful bunch of flowers… I know they’ll keep me smiling all week long.
I also wrote a happy message on the back of one of my kindness cards and will stick it onto the restaurant’s bathroom mirror for everyone to enjoy.
And this message is for you too 🙂
p.s. If you found one of my kindness flowers, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…
It’s almost that time of year again… time to spread a little festive kindness.
My Kindness Advent Calendar works just like a normal advent calendar but instead of the usual chocolate countdown, we are embracing the true spirit of Christmas by doing 25 random acts of Christmas kindness.
How cool is that 🙂
I was wonderfully surprised and deeply thrilled that last year’s Kindness Advent Calendar (2015) was so well received.With just over 200 downloads, I’d like to give a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who took part.
I guarantee that your acts of kindness made a difference and brightened someone else’s day.
☆ You are AMAZING ☆
So again, I’d like to invite lovely you and yours to join me spreading a little kindness by doing small acts kindness leading up to Christmas Day.
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 with that in mind, I’ve made each kindness act:
3. Cheap (or mostly free!)
This way, 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.
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, colleagues and neighbours to take part in this kindness extravaganza as we countdown to Christmas.
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.
JUST ADDED: A few clever folk have suggested I get onto Twitter to help keep the kindness ripple effect spreading further and further. I’m a complete novice, but have set up the hashtags #KindnessAdventCalendar and #ChristmasKindness so we can share our festive kindness fun. You can find me on Twitter here.
But most of all, remember to HAVE FUN and enjoy creating a kindness ripple effect in your community.
Sunday 13th November is World Kindness Day, and wouldn’t it be truly wonderful if we all could spread a little more kindness around our homes and communities on this day. Especially with all this unrest we are currently facing.
I’d hoped to do a really big kindness act to celebrate this special day, like walk around my home city offering free hugs, or something where I could invite the local media to get involved.
But sadly it’s not possible this year as I’m still struggling a little from my recent CFS relapse and also have family commitments on Sunday.
So I see this as a fantastic excuse to get in early by digging out my fabulous kindness goody bags, filling them with fun and yummy goodies, and giving them to unsuspecting strangers.
This will be my fourth RAOK featuring these little bags of joy (the others were at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter). These bags are filled with a fun ‘noise-maker’ toy, a ‘you are AMAZING’ postcard, a few stickers, a mini chocolate bar, and a couple of sweeties.
I also added one of my Kindness Cards with a simple message to celebrate World Kindness Day.
Today, I headed down to our local hospital and popped my World Kindness Day Goody Bags onto the windscreens of cars parked in the hospital car park. I’m thinking that the recipients will have been visiting a friend or loved one, have had a hospital appointment or even a hospital stay.
To shake up my daily gratitude journal writing a little, I thought I’d go through the alphabet. So let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…
And while I could sit here all day long coming up with the longest list of A’s to be grateful for – of which there are oh so very many – I’m choosing the first A that comes into my mind.
And today, that A is autumn.
Mother Nature’s glorious palette of golds, reds and oranges is a treat for the eyes…
… the crunch crunch crunching of the leaves underfoot makes my spirits soar…
… and the craft of leaf rubbing delights my inner child.
I appreciate how this season’s stunning beauty softens the blow of summer ending. Of course I’m not keen on the colder climate, the shorter days, and the approach of winter, but autumn’s stunning leaf art outshines all the other seasons.
I just love those glorious blue sky days when the sun illuminates the trees. I especially love mytree, the one I can see from my bed. And on those dark and dreary days when the sun pops out to say hello, I can’t take my eyes off its gorgeous golden glow.
Thank you autumn, you truly are one of Mother Nature’s best shows.
I’d also like to give an honourable mention to my altar. Since I spend most of my time in my bedroom, I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to transform a little part of it into my very own personal altar.
My spiritual space is calming, peaceful and safe; like a warm, comforting embrace. It’s full of beautiful positive energy, with things to lift my spirits and fill my heart: my buddha, candles, cards, singing bowl and chimes, sage smudge stick, and my sleeping cherub, mini Ganesha and Shiva statues.
I could go on and on with A’s I’m grateful for, but I’ll stop right now 🙂
I’d love to hear what ‘A’ you are grateful for today…
As part of my kindness mission, I wanted to write a thank you note to the teacher who made the biggest impression on me.
And I immediately thought of Dr Anna Powell.
Anna was one of my lecturers at uni and made a huge impression on me. I always really looked forward to her classes and found her enthusiasm, knowledge and content, inspiring, engaging and hugely enjoyable.
In fact, I wish I could still attend her lectures today, over 20 years on!
She believed in me and encouraged me, and for that I will always be deeply grateful.
So, I wrote a thank you message on the back of one of my ‘You are AMAZING’ postcards and sent it off today. Thankfully she’s still at the same university, so was really easy to find.
I hope it’s a nice surprise and a reminder of how much what she does matters.
Due to my recent CFS relapse, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to post about my kindness acts. But I’m happy to say that I’ve still been doing whatever I can, I just haven’t the energy to write about them.
Sooooooo, I’m really excited about today’s – especially as it’s a new kindness act for me.
One of my favourite kindness acts is making up and leaving goody bags on cars parked at my local GP surgery (Christmas) or hospital (Valentine’s), and this time I thought I’d mix it up a little and leave a flower.
As my budget is really tight, I bought this gorgeous bunch of bright orange roses and decided to spread the love even further by splitting them. That way I can make 10 people smile instead of just the one.
I made up this little ditty to write on the back of my kindness cards:
“I hope you enjoy this flower, as a gift from me to you. I hope it makes you smile, and makes your day happy too!”
(I know it’ll never make the The TS Eliot Prize shortlist, but hopefully it’s cheesy enough to make the recipient smile 🙂 )
I tied a kindness card to each flower, and tucked each stem neatly through the door handle of the cars – in the past I’ve placed the bags on the windscreen, but just in case the driver doesn’t see it before driving off, I don’t want it to cause an accident! So this way the driver will see the flower straight away!
I also gave one to a lovely elderly gentlemen who was leaving the surgery. As I handed him a ‘kindness flower’ he gave me a cheeky smile and asked: “Do I get a kiss as well?” Of course, I obliged 🙂 It was a touching and heartwarming moment.
As I’d written 7 Kindness Cards, I had 3 roses left, the perfect number to be able to drop one off at my sister’s, give one to my mum for helping me, and keep one for myself as it’ll be a lovely reminder and also, it’s important to be kind to ourselves ♡
Here’s really hoping the flowers made a few folk smile today as much as I am smiling right now.
p.s If you found a flower on your car, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…
A few months ago, I came across an amazing project called ‘Postcard Happiness’. It’s a website featuring people who’ve been nominated to receive some support, encouragement, thanks or love by way of receiving a postcard or two from kind strangers.
I was so enamoured with the idea, I immediately made, wrote and sent off a handful of postcards around the world. I even wrote a blog post about it (see Act of kindness #11) and forwarded it on to the project’s wonderful creator Tatjana (as she likes to keep up to date with how many postcards are being sent/received) and she wrote back asking if I’d like to become one of the nominated recipients myself!
I was really surprised and deeply touched, and thought why not?
As soon as a couple of days later, postcards started landing on my doormat. And I have to say, I didn’t anticipate just how wonderful and heartwarming it is to receive a few words of kindness from a complete stranger.
At the time of writing, I’ve received an incredible 40 postcards/cards/letters. That’s 40 big hearted folk who’ve taken the time out of their day to buy – or even make- a postcard, write a few kind words and post it to me.
How incredible is that!
I’m amazed that as well as the UK, I’ve received postcards from all over the world including: the US, Singapore (thank you Singapore Cause Corps!), South Africa, Japan, France, New Zealand, Germany, The Philippines, Belgium, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Austria, China, UAE, Australia, and Egypt.
That’s an astounding 17 countries so far!
I can honestly say that each and every one has lifted my spirits and made my heart overflow with gratitude. And having recently been through quite a big ME/CFS relapse, receiving a few kind words through the letterbox has made me feel a whole lot better.
I want to give each and every one of you a really great big hug ♡
Another bonus I hadn’t anticipated is that all the lovely words about my blog and kindness mission have encouraged me to keep on going, when at times I doubted whether I would.
In a time of such global turmoil and craziness, it’s reassuring to be reminded that there are so many beautiful kind souls in the world. And I’m glad I have a constant reminder, well actually 40 reminders, on my bedroom door, which never fails to bring a smile to my face.
And whenever my CFS symptoms flare up or I feel despair about the world or I just need a little cheering up, I simply flip over a couple of postcards and reread the kind messages they hold. And all feels well once again ☆
So thank you thank you THANK YOU to anyone reading this who has kindly sent me a friendly postcard – please know that it honestly does make a difference. You really are AMAZING ☆
And a huge THANK YOU to the very lovely Tatjana for creating this happiness generating initiative, you really are AMAZING too ☆
ps if you’d like to send someone a friendly postcard or nominate somebody to receive a little postcard kindness, please visit Project Happiness – you really will brighten someone’s day.
Hello lovely. It’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog post. Well, it’s been almost three months, but it feels a lot longer.
After my one year blog-aversary post, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and thought I’d take a break for a week or two. But then I had a big CFS relapse, which turned out to be the biggest crash I’ve had in a long time.
On top of feeling utterly wiped out and physically like I was back at square one, I was feeling disheartened, frustrated and deeply worried that I wasn’t making any progress in my recovery.
So I took the time I needed to rest, recuperate and recharge. And I took the time to sit with my more unhelpful feelings and gently work through them, trusting that when the time was right I would feel brighter and more positive again.
And I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. Turtle Power Style 🐢
Even though I’ve still been writing in my daily gratitude journal, I’ve recently found myself thinking how I’d like to write a blog post about something that’s made me happy that day. But I couldn’t because I hadn’t written that first post back yet.
I’ve been apprehensive about writing this first post because I felt it had to be something special, really special.
So I put it off for a day, and then another, and then another. And here we are.
Isn’t it crazy the amount of pressure we can put on ourselves sometimes?
But today, about half an hour ago, I suddenly realised that my first post in 3 months doesn’t have to be anything special at all. It can be just like all the others: just a little blog post about a little something that’s made me happy today.
And actually, I think that’s pretty special enough.
So here I am, just me, continuing to write about the everyday little things that make me happy. And today I’m happy that I’ve realised this!
Phew, what a relief.
And hooray! I’ve just taken that oh so difficult first step, which is always the hardest isn’t it. And it feels good. It feels really good 😊