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 (2196 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 (2196 downloads)

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 #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…

Act of kindness #21: Rosey smiles

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.

Hooray!

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.

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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!”

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(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!

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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…

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 #17: Mirror messages

Having recharged enough energy to take myself into the city for a brunch date this morning, I couldn’t resist planting some kindness messages I’d written on my Kindness Cards around the city.

First up was in the bathroom of the delicious deli I had brunch in:

Mirro message in deli

Next was on the mirror in the changing rooms while I tried on some pjs:

MIrror message changing rooms

Then I popped one on the mirror of the bathroom in my fave café which makes the best coffee in the city:

Mirror message cafe

And finally I stuck one on the wing mirror of a car parked in the city centre:

Mirror message wing mirror
I really hope my mirror kindness messages have made a few folk smile on this the first day of summer; especially as people are feeling a tad fed up as it’s been raining cats and dogs for days and days.

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #16: Sweet Dreams

Today I sent a kindness package off to a beautiful 10 year old bright light.

Eva sometimes feels a little anxious and doesn’t sleep so well because of it. But when she tried some of my Sweet Dreams essential oil blend I’d sent to a friend, she slept all the way through the night.

She was so happy, she sent me a heart melty video saying: “Thank you Helen, you are a miracle worker”, which made me smile and smile and smile.

I thought I’d make Eva a special blend of my Sweet Dreams potion and popped it into a goody bag, along with a handmade Wish-Upon-A-Star Bracelet, a handmade You Are Amazing postcard and one of my Kindness Cards.

Sweet dreams goody bag

I hope it’s a nice surprise and welcome gift for this lovely ray of light and that the oil blend continues to help her enjoy many more blissful night’s sleep.

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #15: Happier Goody Bags

Since joining Happier almost two years ago, I’ve become… well, Happier. My absolutely favourite app is an online community of like-minded souls and works like an online gratitude journal; members post ‘happy moments’ and fellow Happiers can ‘smile’ and write comments on these posts.

I truly feel like I’ve found my tribe: a community of kind, loving, supportive and positive souls from around the world.

There’s been quite a few meet ups, mainly in the US where the app’s HQ is, and it’s lovely to see friendships grow and flourish.

And I know I’ve made some cherished friendships for life.

The UK Happiers are dotted all over the country and a big meet up was arranged in London last month. I was deeply disappointed not to feel well enough to travel down and join them, but I enjoyed seeing the love and friendship radiating from the photos of the smiling faces.

There was another meet up in London today. And sadly again, I’m not well enough to go 🙁

So I thought it would be a lovely idea to make up some special Kindness Goody Bags and send them down to everyone who could go. That way I feel like I’m a part of the day even though I’m not physically there.

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A lovely Happier hosted the meet up at her home, and kindly let me send the parcel of goody bags there in time for the big day. She even tied some fabulous orange balloons to the bags to give them an extra Happier vibe. And she’d made an amazing cake especially for the occasion.

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I love that not only do I get the opportunity to spread a little kindness around this amazing community but I also got to be a part of this special day.

☆♡☆

Kindness Act #12: Thank you note

Being kind by writing a thank you note to a helpful stranger:

I’ve just started a new treatment plan with a private clinic and am having a few tests to try and establish the root causes of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

After carefully studying the comprehensive and specific instructions for one home-based test, my brain-fogged mind felt rather confused and I needed some help and guidance.

I knew I had to call the clinic but was feeling reluctant as I didn’t want to bother them.

I also didn’t want to appear paranoid, or pernickety, or dumb!

But as I’m investing quite a lot of money into this treatment plan, I want to make sure I do everything I can to ensure optimum results.

It took a few times to get through to the clinic, which fuelled my anxiety as I knew it meant they were busy.

But when I did get to speak to someone, she was simply fabulous.

In her soothing Welsh tones, she patiently and kindly answered all of my questions, which were actually completely validated, and gently talked me through the whole process.

What a relief!

As well as thanking her on the phone, I knew I wanted to thank her in a special way.

I wanted to show my gratitude to her for being so kind and patient and helpful. And that I appreciated the time she spent talking me through everything.

So I wrote her a little thank you note on the back of one of my ‘you are amazing’ postcards and included it in the package.

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #6: Listening to my body

Being kind to my body by taking the rest I need:

With having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have to rest a lot. Well, most of the time actually. And as much as I’ve made my bedroom my sanctuary which I love, I need a change of scenery now and again.

When a friend very kindly offered me her flat to stay in while she went on holiday, I jumped at the chance. I carefully planned my journey down and thankfully felt well enough to travel last Thursday.

This is my first visit to Bath and I’m excited about exploring this beautiful spa town. And being mindful of my health limitations, I know I can’t see and do as much as I’d like, but there’s a couple of gentle activities that I can hopefully enjoy.

I arrived a couple of days before my friend left so we could spend a little time together. The idea was that while she was out at work all day, I would rest and then we’d hang out when she got home.

But I arrived to find her still recovering from a recent bout of flu and she was still feeling pretty unwell. Poor thing.

As I have a compromised immune system due to the CFS, I tend to get cold/flu symptoms ten-fold and feel even more wiped than normal and for much longer too.

So I have to try and not contact viruses by avoiding contact with people who have a cold or the flu, the expression to avoid them like the plague is very apt for me!

We joked about setting up a convalescence home, and while my friend rested in bed, I rested on the sofa, and we met up at mealtimes to share empathy and sympathy.

This morning, the day after my friend left for her holiday, I’ve woken up with nausea, a slight headache, and am feeling drained; I’m really hoping it’s not the onset of the flu.

My plans for today were to have a gentle walk to see the nearby Royal Crescent and enjoy a soul stroll around the nearby park.

But despite desperately wanting to ignore my symptoms and stick to my plans, I am choosing to be kind to myself by listening to my body and honouring what I know it needs: complete rest.

Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow and will feel enough to explore a little, but if I don’t, I won’t.

And that’s ok.