Kindness Calendar: April 2017

Hello lovelies ♡

I hope you had the most Marvellous March and are enjoying the change of season, whether you’re in the northern or southern hemisphere.

As a warmer weather, lighter days, kind of girl, I’m delighted to be seeing all the signs of spring here in the UK (although at the time of writing it’s misty and drizzly but you get my drift!!).

And so April is upon us, and with Easter being on its way, my Kindness Calendar for this month is eggstra-special 🙂

Kindness Calendar April 2017 teaser

You can download it for free here:

Kindness Calendar – April 2017

(Please note if you kindly subscribe to my blog and are receiving this post by email, please click to come through to the main site and you can download it easily from there.)

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 an AMAZING APRIL and  EGG-STRAORDINARY EASTER.

Thank you so much for your kindness.

☆♡☆

Kindness Calendar – April 2017

Happy Blog-aversary

Being grateful for one year of maketodayhappy.co.uk:

[WARNING: this extra long blog post contains a LOT of gushing 🙂 ]

Yay! It’s one year today that I posted my first blog post on maketodayhappy.

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I started my life as a blogger sometime last July and have been meaning to check the exact date for a few weeks now. And this morning I woke up with a strong urge to investigate and discovered it was today!

Hooray!! Love how that happens.

I’m sooooooo thankful I decided to write this blog – it has seriously done me the world of good in so many ways.

I set out to see if I could stop my gradual slide into the deep dark cess pit of self-pity and depression as I was plunging further into the complicated and misunderstood world of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

And I knew I had to find my happy again.

And fast!

I thought it might be quite a challenging task when I spend most days lying in bed too fatigued to move, too brain fogged to think straight, and too fed up to care!

But I had to try, and I’m so glad I did.

Rather than write about the negative issues my health condition brings, I wanted my blog to be a happy positive place to be – for me and for anyone visiting. So I vowed to focus on finding the happy in the everyday little things, through mindfulness, gratitude and kindness.

And to kick it off, I embarked on my 100 Days of Happy project.

I soon realised there are so many things to be happy about:

☆ Watching the wind rustle through the grand sycamore tree outside my bedroom window, listening to the birds sing their happy tunes, witnessing a magnificent sunrise or sunset. How can you not be happy when you focus on the magnificence of Mother Nature?

☆ Enjoying every single moment I get to spend with my young nephews, even though spending more than half an hour at a time with either – or both of them – wipes me out. To be able to share in their joy and wonder of life, to play mindfully with them, getting lost in their world. I’ve discovered how children are such wonderful teachers of how to live in the present moment.

☆ Focusing on all the little things that I can do rather than the things I cannot. Instead of being grumpy that I can no longer go on a weekend hike, I’m grateful that I can take short soul strolls around my neighbourhood, make friends with local dogs, admire the flowers and the scentalicious rose garden, listen to the babbling brook.

☆ I’m grateful to have found my tribe on Happier. Making like-minded friends from all around the world who always brighten my day, provide unlimited support, and inspire me to keep looking for the happy.

☆ And I’m deeply grateful for the love and support of my family and friends who have continued to be there for me, even if my condition isn’t always easy to understand – which I know can be crazily difficult and I don’t always understand it myself! My mum has been such a superstar, she is my rock and my heart is so full of gratitude for her unwavering love, care and support.

I’m so thankful that I have so much to be grateful for!

I’ve discovered how life-changing it can be to open your eyes to everything we have to be grateful for, even with a debilitating chronic health condition.

In my experience over this past year, I’ve discovered that being mindful and being grateful go hand-in-hand, they are such a powerful duo in our quest for happiness.

And kindness makes it a powerful trio.

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When I decided to start carrying out small acts of kindness, I had no idea what a huge part of my recovery journey it would become:

♡ I love hiding kindness cards around my community for people to come across. I love putting together little goody bags, hoping they bring joy to the recipients. And I love sharing inspirational kindness stories and quotes on my Facebook page ‘spreading little kindness’.

♡ I never imagined how doing one small act of kindness could have such a positive impact on another human being. While doing most of them anonymously, it’s always such a treat to hear from people who’ve found one of my Kindness Cards or Kindness Goody Bags; it really warms my heart and inspires me to keep going (for one emotional example, check out the comment in this blog post).

♡ I never imagined how passionate I would become about spreading kindness, how it has become my mission, and how the local newspaper and radio station would pick up on this mission.

♡ And I never imagined how much of a positive effect doing acts of kindness would have on me. My intention has always been to try and make other people smile, and I honestly didn’t expect to feel as happy as I do when I’m planning and carrying out kindness acts. It’s an unexpected bonus and the old adage that the giver benefits as much as the receiver is very much true in my case.

A lovely friend wisely noted that I’m healing through kindness. And I couldn’t agree more.

And to dear lovely YOU. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog. And extra big thanks for your comments, likes and shares. Whether this is your first visit or you’ve come along on this journey with me, I deeply appreciate you.

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It’s always lovely to see you and knowing you’re out there helps to keep me going, especially on the darker days; it’s not all sunshine and sparkles, but it’s all part of life and for that I have learnt to be grateful.

So, here I am, one year on.

I’m truly more mindful, more grateful and more passionate about kindness. I’m not sure what lies ahead, but for now I think I’ll keep on making today happy.

Much love to you,
A happier Helen Xxx

ps I hope you enjoy reading about my journey to make today happy, and if you’ve been inspired in any way to make your today happy too, I’d love to hear from you (in the comments below).

 

Act of kindness #20: Library book messages II

I had so much fun sneakily hiding kindness messages inside library books last week, that I want to do the same again (and again and again!).

And today I got my chance as I needed to go to my health food shop in a different town.

Armed with a new set of messages written on the back of my kindness cards, I sought out their library and stealthily got to work.

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Imagine my delight when I came across a book called: One Small Act of Kindness. Of course, I couldn’t resist popping one of my kindness messages inside 🙂

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I love doing this act of kindness so much,  I think I’ll seek out libraries whenever and wherever I can, and hide more kindness messages for folk to find.

I really hope the next reader of each of these books finds it a nice surprise when they come across my message.

☆♡☆

P.S. If you have found one of my messages, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below ♡

Act of kindness #19: Library book messages

My town’s lovely 150 year old library reopened yesterday after 6 months of construction work.

Local library

I thought I’d celebrate by spreading a little kindness to strangers by sneakily hiding some kindness messages inside a few library books.

I had already written a mixture of messages on the backs of my kindness cards before I set off:

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As I chose the books to hide the messages inside, including a couple on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I couldn’t help feeling happy and excited at the thought of surprising the next readers as they turn the page and come across the message.

I really hopes it makes them smile 🙂

☆♡☆

ps If you found one of my messages, I’d love to hear from you ♡

Act of kindness #7: Easter Goodie Bags

Being kind by giving away Kindness Goodie Bags filled with all things Easter:

Making up and giving out Kindness Goodie Bags has become one of my favourite acts of kindness.

I relish deciding what to put in them, and then shopping for the goodies.

I enjoy getting lost in the creativity of designing the message which explains what the bag is all about, and writing the messages on my Kindness Cards.

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I savour the anticipation of putting them together, and take great pleasure in the mindful act of making them up, carefully deciding where each piece should go.

And I get such a thrill when I can tie the bags up, knowing that they’re all ready to go.

I carefully plot my location and timing, considering where I’m going to give them away, how I’m going to do it, and when is the best time.

And then there’s the actual giving out part. I feel giddy with excitement as I go from car to car, carefully placing the bags onto the windscreens.

It makes me feel really happy to imagine how the owners will get a nice surprise when they return to their car and find my Kindness Goodie Bag waiting for them.

The whole process gives me such joy, and again, I can personally vouch for how the giver benefits as much as the receiver.

Of course, the icing on the cake is hearing from someone who’s found one of my Kindness Goodie Bags, but that’s not why I do it and I don’t expect to hear from them: it’s simply a lovely bonus.

As I really enjoyed making up and giving away my Christmas and Valentine’s Goodie Bags, I wanted to do an Easter Goodie Bag.

As the Easter theme of bunnies and chicks, and the yellows and greens and bright Easter colours is so much fun, I wanted my goodie bags to reflect that.

So, in each bag I’ve popped: a mini creme egg, two mini chocolate eggs; two sweet chews; a teeny fluffy Easter chick and Easter Bunny; a party popper; bright coloured feathers; fun stickers; a message explaining this is a Random Act of Easter Kindness, and one of my Kindness Cards with a ‘You Are AMAZING’ message on the back.

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I’m on unfamiliar territory as I’m currently visiting the beautiful spa town of Bath. So I decided to pop most of my Easter Kindness Goodie Bags onto the windscreens of the cars parked in a small city centre car park and the rest I dotted around randomly.

I’m hoping the owners will return to their cars after a busy Easter shopping trip or a relaxed Good Friday brunch and find my Easter surprise waiting for them.

Here’s how I spread a little kindness around Bath this fine sunny Good Friday morning: 

Easter Kindness Goodie Bags 1-7: I lay on car windscreens in a small city centre car park

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Easter Kindness Goodie Bag 8: I popped in the basket of a bike, just for fun

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Easter Kindness Goodie Bags 9+10: I gave to the two very helpful staff at T2 who kindly helped me find my favourite tea I used to drink in Australia. I couldn’t remember the name and with an abundance of Chai teas to choose from, we whittled it down to two and they brewed me a cup of each. Now that’s what I call fantastic customer service

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Easter Kindness Goodie Bag 11: I tucked this into the door handle of the coolest car parked  along Royal Avenue in Victoria Park

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Easter Kindness Goodie Bag 12: As I’m staying in my friend’s flat while she’s on holiday I’ve put one on her dressing table, so she’ll see it when she arrives home.

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ps if you have received one of my Easter Kindness Goodie Bags, I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below. If you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please let me know.

Act of kindness #4: Flowers for mum

Being kind by buying my mum a bunch of flowers:

My lovely mum is going through a difficult time at the moment.

And as you’ll know, it’s really hard to see someone you love upset.

So as well as keeping her in a constant supply of heartfelt hugs, I bought her this bunch of bright cheery flowers to lift her spirits a little and to remind her how much she is loved and treasured.

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Day 84: BBC Radio Nottingham

Being kind by handing out chocolate bars, face-to-face:

I did something new today: I handed out chocolate bars to strangers.

Face-to-face!

EEEK!!

And it felt really good.

My confidence is obviously growing! OK, it helped that I wasn’t alone. My lovely mum was with me, and also the lovely Sarah Julian a presenter from BBC Radio Nottingham.

I’d been invited into the studio to talk about my kindness acts in a pre-recorded interview, and then go out to perform some kindness acts with the presenter.

I was pretty nervous going into the studio, but focused on my mission: to spread the kindness message. Sarah and I had a great chat, and although it was really cringey to hear myself on the radio the next day, I’m happy that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself (well, I hope I didn’t anyway!).

And it was so much fun going out with Sarah to do the kindness acts.

We drove to the nearby retail park, which houses one of my fave shops: Hobbycraft – I asked mum and Sarah to keep in me out of there, by force if necessary!

My mission was to hand out some chocolate bars to busy shoppers, each with one of my kindness cards attached with the message: You are AMAZING. If you forget that, please read this again.

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After I’d approached the unsuspecting shoppers, Sarah asked them a few questions about the experience. A couple of people ran away – Sarah kindly pointing out it was probably due to the big fluffy microphone she was holding – most were surprised, and everyone smiled.

WooHooo!

It was brilliant to see Sarah join in and hand out a couple of choccie bars too. And as we drove away in high spirits, I was happy to hear she’d had fun too. I can honestly say that from my experience, the giver benefits as much as the receiver.

Exhausted but happy, I got back home to find this lovely message on my blog:

“My partner and I met you today whilst you were with BBC Radio Nottingham at the retail park. We love what you’re doing and think you’re a fantastic lady!!! We bought you a little gift as a thank you for making us smile, when we came out of the shop you were gone! Is there any way we can get it to you? Xxx”

WOW.

This is what it’s all about: making someone smile.

I am so touched that this lovely couple made the effort to get in touch. And that they were kind enough to want to pay it forward is the icing on the cake, with the cherry on top!

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by handing out bars of chocolate, face-to-face!

ps if you fancy a listen….

Here’s the studio interview with BBC Radio Nottingham:

Here’s the outside broadcast by BBC Radio Nottingham:

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 (15479 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 (15479 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 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.