The Personal Touch - Gifts and Cards

I woke up this morning to a lovely ‘Happy Songkran’ card from my friend Duang in Bangkok. She is also the esteemed illustrator of two of my children’s books¬†‘The Day the Wi-Fi Broke’¬†and¬†‘Just Five More Minutes’.¬†(She draws under the name NokIsMe). The card featured a Happy Songkran message with the star of the book, a little girl called ‘Lucy’ wearing a protective face mask. It made me smile and once again, I wondered whether I should return to this series and write some more titles. (A thought for another day!) My thought for the current time was how nice it is to get personalised messages, cards, and small gifts. This took me to a podcast I’d been listening to yesterday, which emphasised how completing altruistic acts can reduce anxiety and generally make a person feel better. This is something that we could all benefit from right now!¬†

Lucy, from my book the Day the Wi-Fi Broke is sensibly wearing a face mask.

Kind Things to Do When You're Bored

With this in mind I have come up with a few ideas of things to do that are kind, altruistic (thus anxiety reducing), fairly cheap and easy (I’m not the best crafter) and can fill the time during these strange times of self-isolation.

  • Make homemade cards (either online or print) in anticipation of birthdays, anniversaries and other future celebrations. If, like me, you’re not the best at being artsy or coming up with ideas for card layouts, then visit¬†¬†to pinch ideas. If you have kids, get them busy with the paints and the pinking shears (who remembers those!).
  • For the year ahead organise by month who you need to send birthday greetings to. For each person write a little flattering limerick or haiku to include in their birthday card. Or, don’t wait for their birthday and¬†instead send them a greeting now, to remind them that you are thinking of them during these strange times.
  • Revisit your phonebook or mobile contacts list and send everyone on it a favourite photo of you and them together. Perhaps use this opportunity to reorganise all of your photographs.
  • Write old fashioned letters or postcards to five or six people you know would appreciate receiving them. This might be people isolating alone who would appreciate someone getting in touch. Mention an enjoyable time you’ve had together in the past.
  • This next one is something my daughter Annie has been doing. If you have cotton/embroidery thread, or can place an online order for some,¬†make your friends a friendship bracelet and post it to them. They can be sent in a regular envelope, don’t take too long to make and really add a personal touch!
  • Make¬†the effort to¬†transfer some old print photographs¬†to digital photographs. This can be done in a fairly crude way either by simply taking a photo of the photo or downloading a free scanning app. Share these photos with loved ones mentioning what a great time you had on the particular occasion and reminding them that you will have good times together again. This is bound to lift your spirits!¬†
  • Invent and make ‘IOU gift cards’. This might be things like a card entitling the recipient to a free cream tea with you, once the self-isolation is over, or something closer to home, such as two household chores of the recipients choice, whenever they want to cash in the voucher.
Me modelling (though not in a very picturesque or flattering way,) one of Annie's friendship bracelets that she has given me. The paint on knuckles is left over from yesterday's 'filling the time' let's paint my mum's porch fence activity! I must do better at getting cleaned up!

Right now, I seem to feel quite busy – in fact, overly busy, some of the time – the truth is that I am only busy¬†(fulfilling my personal goals, (as designed by Annie)¬†and being mum, daughter, etc. (sadly not wife so much at the minute, as¬†Mick is stuck in Bangkok.). I’m making my day as full as it can be so as to stay sane. I’m not sure my kids will vouch to the fact that I’m¬† succeeding, but …

Looking back at my suggestions, for things to do when bored they do seem to be a bit nostalgic, leaning towards getting in touch with people we haven’t seen in a while and might not see in a while. It is nice to keep in contact with people though and now is definitely the time to share good feeling and¬†kindness.¬†

I definitely plan to pass the time by completing  one or two of these activities today. The focus of doing so will hopefully make me feel a little less stressed with life too. If you are bored and complete any of them, let me know in the comments how you get on. 

These are pinking shears for any readers (probably under forty!) who might be wondering what on earth I am talking about!
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