Last week was very stressful. In the midst of my pain and fatigue, I got a surprise package in the mail from my old friend, Tony. He mailed me New Kids on the Block marbles circa 1990! Years ago in high school we had a conversation about NKOTB marbles. I was surprised that he remembered that. I was blessed by his thoughtfulness.
Everyone experiences stress at some point whether that’s from illness or other factors including work, deadlines, loss, or relationships. We all need reminders that we’re not alone.
8 Ways We Can Bless Each Other:
- Thank someone—Last fall, I heard from someone I hadn’t heard from in six years. (I have bipolar disorder. When I was in college, I formed a depression support network and helped other students with mental illness get professional help. She was one of the students I helped.) I heard she moved away. We lost touch after I got myasthenia gravis, my autoimmune disease. I was surprised when she found me on Facebook. We went out to dinner; she’s doing really well now. No matter how much time has past, if someone has made a difference in your life, it’s never too late to say “thank you.” Gratitude is powerful.
- Call a friend—A big factor that keeps people from calling each other is the busyness of life. The other day I was encouraged when my friend Amber, a doctor, took ten minutes out of her day to call me. Yesterday I realized that I hadn’t called my friend Carol, who has lupus, in a while because I was waiting for an ideal time when I wasn’t too tired so we could talk for hours. But often there is no “ideal time.” A short phone call is better than no communication.
- Send an email or text message—Occasionally my friend Esther will send me random emails asking me how I’m doing.
- Write a card—Two weeks ago, a new friend I made, Kelly, sent me a card telling me she’s praying for me. When we spoke a few nights before, she told me about her mom who has fibromyalgia and her late brother who had cancer. It was one of those moments when I knew someone really “got me.” I’ve kept that card in my purse meditating on it during stressful moments.
- Share something funny—My cousin, Shelly, and I often exchange funny jokes or emails. A few weeks ago, for instance, I sent her the BuzzFeed quiz, “Which ‘90s Dreamboat is Your Valentine?” She got Marky Mark; I got Zack Morris. Obviously, this is critical information.
- Send someone a blast from the past—Nostalgia can take us back to a simpler place in time. When I see those NKOTB marbles, I think of my childhood and things like rainbows and teddy bears—not myasthenia gravis and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Make random gifts—My friend Alfred, who is a talented artist, has muscular dystrophy. Last week, I got a huge package from him that contained watercolor pencils, paints, origami, and paintbrushes. He gave me brushes that are easy to grip if you have coordination problems. The gift didn’t mark any special occasion like a holiday or my birthday—it was “just because.”
- Really use Facebook—It’s easy to have passive relationships—to see someone’s pictures and click “like” without really communicating with that person. I message friends I haven’t talked to in a while or post on their walls.
I asked Fashionably ill readers on Facebook: Has an act of kindness ever turned your day around or made you feel better?
Mary, “Oh yes! Helping my elderly neighbor following surgery. Wow such a good feeling to know he needed help and appreciated any little bit…My church family praying for me when my pain is overwhelming, is amazing! The prayers help and I feel great that 80 or so people care enough to think of me!”
Margie, “When I give a homeless person some money it really makes my day happy because I made that person happy.”
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno
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