The past year has been a challenge for everyone. The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel draws closer — restrictions are easing and the roll-out of vaccines is proving successful. We’ll soon find ourselves adjusting to another ‘new normal’ so it’s natural to feel a little anxious.
We sought inspiration from others during these troubled times — including the heart-warming messages of hope from Captain Sir Tom Moore. As we enter this next phase, and following on from what would have been his 101st birthday, it’s important to continue to support loved ones. We can all personally contribute to continuing his legacy.
In the wise words of Captain Sir Tom Moore, “one step has the power to inspire one hundred more”. So why not give your loved ones and local community a ‘little lift’ with stairlift and homelift manufacturer Stannah’s 10 inspirational, inclusive and inexpensive ideas — from kind gestures to exciting events.
This is in honour of the Captain Tom Foundation’s Captain Tom 100 charity challenge, encouraging the nation to do ‘100 anythings’ – whether 100 push-ups or baking 100 cupcakes – to continue his incredible legacy and raise life-changing funds (donation link here).
1) Send a thoughtful gift — from beautiful blooms to bakes
“I saw this and thought of you” goes a long way to cheering someone up. Gifts are not limited to birthdays or Christmas; they’re worth sending simply to celebrate a loved one or make them feel special. As the old saying goes, “it’s more about the thought that went into it, than the item itself”. This could be a book you read and loved, or a jigsaw puzzle to keep them entertained.
Other lovely options are cupcakes (Deliveroo delivers from local bakeries in many regions) or a beautiful bouquet. We recommend a letterbox-sized parcel (Bloom&Wild posts fabulous flowers through the door) to ensure it truly is a surprise for the recipient and you needn’t ask them in advance to wait in for the postman.
2) Write a letter
Text messages and emails are now de rigueur for everyday conversations. But if you’re looking to go the extra mile, sending a loved one a handwritten note will feel so much more personal.
Tell them your latest news, share positive affirmations and ask the recipient how they are doing. It will show how much you care and is a sure-fire way to put a big smile on their face. And, as an added bonus, it will help you to keep up your handwriting skills.
3) Organise a picnic
As the weather warms up, the rolling countryside and beautiful beaches beckon. Al-fresco feasting is a mood-boosting, memory-making must. Organise an outdoors activity with your friends or family (at a safe, social distance for now). You’ll enjoy planning and preparing (feel inspired by baker Val Stones, whose delicious scones recipe is worth whipping up).
It will lift your loved ones’ mood knowing there’s a special event to look forward to — and that they’ll see you, of course! A post-picnic stroll in the fresh air, surrounded by seasonal nature, will send your endorphins surging.
4) Go green — pass on seedlings and plant flowers for your community
Gardening grew in popularity over lockdown. If you’re currently growing produce or plants and find yourself with excess seedlings, gift them to a green-fingered friend. Alternatively, sow them in your community garden for local residents to enjoy.
Once your homegrown goodies have ripened, share with loved ones — they’ll welcome fresh, flavourful fruit and veggies on their plates! Or why not craft a stunning hanging basket full of their favourite flowers as a beautiful personal gift?
5) Post a motivational message in your window or on social media
Lockdown heralded a heart-warming trend of people putting up positivity-packed posters in the windows of their homes, like a resplendent rainbow for the NHS. An uplifting message with an eye-catching image — ‘Tomorrow will be a good day’ inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, for example — will likely attract attention from neighbours and passers-by.
In a virtual world, sharing a supportive social media post to your followers is an equally effective way to give many people a ‘little lift’. If one person stops in their scrolling tracks and smiles, or 100 passers-by note your window sign with a cheery nod, that’s a wonderful accomplishment. It involves minimal effort for maximum reward!
Stannah has created ready-made signs and templates to personalise to help you on your happiness mission.
6) Hide heart-warming notes around your home
A meaningful message goes a long way — even if it’s within the four walls of your home! Write a joke on a Post-It note, then stick inside the wardrobe door to make your partner smile first thing in the morning. Or serve up alphabet spaghetti for a little loved one with a special phrase spelled out.
7) Re-connect with old friends via Facebook or a phone call
For the time being, the government only permits us to meet with five other people; however, you may be lucky to have a lovely, larger network who aren’t near but you still hold dear. Surprise an old friend or distant family member with a phone call; it could be someone you went to school with or a cousin. Check in and reminisce on the good old days; they’ll be so touched.
If this feels overly familiar, reach out on Facebook. It’ll be a delightful surprise seeing your name pop up in their social media inbox. Both approaches offer an instant way to say hello. Uplifting quotes, including those by the much-missed Captain Sir Tom Moore, are available to share here.
8) Greet and smile at others
When a friendly stranger smiles at you or a neighbour waves from across the street and says “lovely weather we’re having!”, you likely feel appreciated. Studies show that when we see a smiling face, our brains release feel-good hormones that make us feel happier and calmer.
So, share the social niceties! They needn’t be exclusive to your inner circle. Why not thank your postman for their hard work through the pandemic, or compliment a fellow dog walker on how sweet their four-legged friend is? We’re living through a challenging time and you never know the struggles someone else is experiencing.
9) Set up an outdoor treasure hunt for children in your family
The past year has seen families separated, so compensate for lost time by making memories filled with high-pitched giggles, imagination and joie de vivre. Set up a scavenger hunt in your garden or nearby park, then enjoy the activity together. Create your own clues and treasure, or printable versions are available online.
10) Share a special song
Music evokes pure joy and, like scent, grants immediate access to a memory — a holiday, a party or dancing around the family kitchen. Search for a special song on YouTube, then send a link via WhatsApp or Facebook to someone you share a precious past with.
Music played a poignant role in Captain Sir Tom’s incredible impact on the nation; his record-breaking rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone offered hope when it was needed most. What’s your valued version? Who will it strike a chord with?
Keep your spirits high and lift others in the process. Keep on being you.
And we at My Weekly would love to hear about it – email a picture to the address in the magazine, and you could win £25!