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.

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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.

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #26: Food bank donation

I’ve been really looking forward to doing this act of kindness, which is Day 3 on my Kindness Advent Calendar.

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:

Food bank donation

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 🙂

Local media love

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.

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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:

(eeeek!!!)

Act of kindness #25: Celebrating World Kindness Day

Happy World Kindness Day!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

Act of kindness #24: Kindness Advent Calendar (2016)

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.

Here’s this year’s Kindness Advent Calendar:

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To download your free copy, please click on this link Kindness-Advent-Calendar-2016-PDF.pdf (435064 downloads) .

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:
1. Quick
2. Easy
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.

I’d also love it if we all share our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness experiences with others on my Spreading a little kindness Facebook page.

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.

Thank you so very much.

☆♡☆

To download your free copy of my Kindness Advent Calendar, please click on this link: Kindness-Advent-Calendar-2016-PDF.pdf (435064 downloads)

☆♡☆

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

 

Act of kindness #23: World Kindness Day Goody Bags

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.

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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.

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Yippeeeee!

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.

World Kindness Day Goody Bag contents

I also added one of my Kindness Cards with a simple message to celebrate World Kindness Day.

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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.

World Kindness Day Goody Bags

I even made my first RAOK video if you fancy a giggle…

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It’s my first try so please be kind 🙂

I really really love doing these kinds of ROAK, they bring me huge joy.  And I hope with all my heart that the recipients of my goody bags smile as much as I’m smiling right now.

☆♡☆

p.s If you found a World Kindness Day Goody Bag on your car, I’d really love to hear from you in the comments below…

Alphabet Gratitude: A

Feeling grateful for autumn splendour:

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…

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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.

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Mother Nature’s glorious palette of golds, reds and oranges is a treat for the eyes…

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… the crunch crunch crunching of the leaves underfoot makes my spirits soar…

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… and the craft of leaf rubbing delights my inner child.

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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.

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I just love those glorious blue sky days when the sun illuminates the trees. I especially love my tree, 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.

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Thank you autumn, you truly are one of Mother Nature’s best shows.

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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.

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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…

☆♡☆

Hello again!

Being grateful to be back!

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 😊

☆♡☆

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 ♡