Christmas is known as the “season of goodwill” but why does it have to stop there? Small acts of kindness can go a long way to helping ourselves feel better as well as those we do them for. Often they don’t take a great deal of time or thought and are usually free but they can have an invaluable contribution to our wellbeing.
I’m a great believer in karma and do think “what goes around comes around”, even if it’s not immediately obvious. For me this was brought to life the other day. We’d had a power cut on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of January and were told we’d have no power; so no heating, nothing to cook with and in the rural community where we live no hope of a JustEat turning up with something warm we could eat by candle light! As we built a fire and scrambled around the house to find the candles and torches the realisation also hit the kids that with no power we’d have no wifi and as we don’t have a mobile phone or tv signal where we live it really was going to be a bit of a cold and dark afternoon and evening.
A few weeks before we’d introduced ourselves to our new neighbours that had moved in, albeit two months ago, but with busy working lives, no pavements and a dark wet winter, we hadn’t yet traipsed up the lane to say hello! We invited them round for drinks and dinner and spent a lovely few hours getting to know each other’s families. As we headed out in the car (fortunately in this case not an electric one!) in search of warmth, light and some food my mobile phone sprang into life and it was our new neighbour – he’d noticed our power cut, which hadn’t affected them, and invited us round until things were up and running again – a very welcome call.
For me a small gesture on our part of spending a few minutes to walk up the lane and say hello resulted in meeting some new friends and a kind and generous offer, which wouldn’t have happened if we’d not reached out first.
I would encourage us all to think about the small gestures that we can make to the people in our community as well as in our place of work. As the government appoint the minister for loneliness it does remind me of the importance of connecting with those around us – people can be lonely at work as well as isolated at home. Even if like me it’s often done with the selfish belief that I’ll receive the benefit further down the road! Try it for a week and see if it makes a difference for you.
Bronwen Burton, Head of Corporate Marketing and Communications, Bright Horizons