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Thursday, 18 October 2018

Easy Ways You Can Make Someones Day

This feels like the such a cliche blog post (and wow, I have written many in my time) but I do think this is one that may benefit many of us. I find that whilst the internet can be such a wonderful place, it can also be such a nasty place. Today, I thought I'd do something a little positive. It’s cliche yes but it’s so easy to make someone's day, so today, a lighthearted reminder and some easy ways you can make someone's day, which in turn, will make your day great too. You know what they say, if you have ugly thoughts, it can make you an ugly person, so why not spread some positive vibes instead and let that positivity and kindness glow from your face. This was actually inspired by speaking to my Grandparents recently and hearing about how lonely some of their friends are and actually, even my Grandma has admitted feeling lonely. I've always had a soft spot for the elderly, maybe because I'm so close to my Grandparents in the UK there are six million older people who feel lonely and that breaks my heart. Let's make some positive changes! This is a collaboration with McCarthy & Son.
When McCarthy & Stone got in touch to partner with me I couldn't say no. They understand the lives of older people and offer a range of solutions for all stages of retirement. In a recent poll of 1,000 over-65s carried out by McCarthy & Stone, it found that 53 per cent often feel lonely, with more than one in five stating that being lonely made them feel invisible. This honestly breaks my heart. I always try to go out of my way to speak to the elderly, I remember being in a cafe and I caught eye contact with an elderly man and smiled at him, he came over at the end of the meal and said I'd made his day as he doesn't speak to many people. I was also speaking to someone the other day and she told me an elderly gentleman trains with her at the gym since his wife died. It really is the little things, it's not hard to make someone smile. McCarthy & Stone's new #takesone2018 campaign is helping to lead the fight-back against loneliness.

So what is #takesone2018? It's simple, McCarthy and Stone are appealing to people to pledge to undertake one small act of kindness which can help to start to turn this problem around, in the hope this will create a ripple effect that will make us all more aware of – and more socially responsible for – the older people living around us and actually, in this blog post, I hope it will make us more aware of everyone around us! Here are a few easy ways I think you can easily make someone's day. My Grandad is honestly my entire world, he's 87 and he's the most banterous, hilarious man I've ever met. He doesn't seem a day past 21 but he's had a tough few years of breaking hips, having strokes and more. I left him in the hospital once and I'll never forget hearing him sob and ask us not to leave him. I never want my own Grandparents to feel lonely so I'd hate for any other elderly people to feel that way too. Your kindness and smile is your power.

Smile - It really is that easy, again, cliche but smiling at someone can make their day plus it releases endorphins meaning that smiling really does have the power to be mood boosting. I walk around central London and no-one smiles, it can be so negative so I try and look up at people and smile now. I think we become so disconnected from life and the people around us, we forget to just smile and be courteous to strangers because we're so wrapped up in whatever is going through our minds. I find a lot of people completely ignore the homeless and the elderly, but they are humans too and one smile and a little chat can easily make someone's day a little bit brighter. Just like I did with the elderly gentleman in the cafe, just acknowledging someone can truly make their day.

Text them / call them - If you haven't heard from someone for some time, text them or call them, just send a little note to check how they are. I think because of social media, we assume that we are connected because we've seen someones Facebook update or Instagram highlights reel, remember, it is a highlights reel. People may be going through battles you know nothing about, so check in on people. It doesn't take long and could really make someones day. What's even more worrying? Elderly people aren't involved in this world so we really may not know what battles they're facing. Obviously elderly people do not all have social media, my Grandparents certainly don't! But my Grandad does have a phone and I LOVE a long natter to him on the phone.

Send something whether it's funny or flowers - You can go a step beyond sending a text by actually sending something through the post (or, turning up to see that person if you can!) I find because we are so connected nowadays, people rely on their phones to talk to people, this is totally okay but you cannot beat a physical card or flowers. I've tried to send more flowers to people this year, whether it's to say thank you, happy birthday or just let that person know I care. It doesn't take long and it doesn't even cost much anymore but it's such a lovely gesture and it's a step above doing something via a telephone!

Take the time to compliment someone - I was once told you should compliment someone at least once a day, it's such an easy way to make someone feel great and it makes you feel good too. One thing I noticed on a recent trip to Dallas? How forward the ladies were when it came to giving out compliments, I'd be in an elevator and a stranger would tell me they loved my skirt, I'd be in a restaurant and the server told me she liked my jacket - it's such a small thing but it completely made my day, every day. This doesn't mean just complimenting the young girl with her new on-trend skirt, how about the elderly man with his new jacket?!

Go for coffee - Whether you take yourself for coffee (there's something calming about sitting in a coffee shop) or, physically meet an old friend, or an elderly person for coffee and a walk, try and actually make plans with the people you love, or, with new people too! As much as talking over text is great, I think seeing my friends and family in person, in the fresh air is unbeatable. I know in London there's a scheme where you can meet with an elderly person once a week and have dinner with them, I think schemes like this are so good. We all live REALLY busy lives but don't leave people behind, it doesn't take long to make someone feel included and make their whole week. I love listening to my Grandparents stories, they have too much knowledge and I think it's important to fully engage and actually listen to what they have to say.

Speak to a stranger - This takes me onto speaking to a stranger, obviously, don't put yourself in danger but for example, when I'm at the till point, sat on a train next to someone or in a restaurant, I go out of my way to converse with the person serving me or on a train table for example, if a conversation naturally happens, I let it. It's such an easy way to spark positive vibes. I think we are so often in a hurry but you could be missing out on speaking to your soul mate or making someone's day who needs it!

So what will my pledge be? I pledge to try and actively spark conversation with people more throughout this month! You never know, a little bit of light-hearted chat might make someone's day. It must be awful to feel lonely and I want to ensure no-one feels lonely so I'll be using my smile and my voice to make an elderly person smile. 

So there we have it, some easy ways you can make someone else's day. You really do have the power to make someone smile so try it and let me know if you pledge to do an act of kindness! Can you think of any more to add to this list? Comment and let me know! You can find out more about the McCarthy & Stone #TakesOne2018 campaign here. 

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*This is a sponsored post with McCarthy & Son. 

Lots of love, Em x

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