Send handwritten letters/cards. In our busy, technology centric, social-media-scrollin' lives, nothing says 'I actually really bloody care' quite like taking a few sedate moments to scrawl some messy, heartfelt words. It's special. It's intimate. And you know what? It's pretty damn therapeutic too.
Take a digital detox. Ultimately, as fascinating and convenient and lovely as it may be to have the entire world and all of these wonderful humans at our fingertips, the most fervent charms of our existence stem from seeing and feeling and doing. I think it's important, now and again, to completely switch off: to surrender ourselves to the perpetual beauty of the world around us and the people we hold close. To drive into the wild, orange sunset that bleeds spectacularly across the horizon. To listen, closely, to the details of her day: how her bra bunched up and the sweat dripped from her brow and how she laughed, how she laughed, as she missed her third bus of the day. To simply be present in a world that is in no way filtered or saturated. To be present.
Compliment people. Your effortless words could create a positive space within somebody's brain to think differently, give them that confidence boost they so desperately needed, or simply punctuate their day with a moment of all-encompassing joy. Think her dusty blue eyes look beautiful as they sparkle in certain light? Say it. Love how his face lights up as he talks about that one thing with fierce enthusiasm? Let him know. Adore them? People rarely realise their own strengths: how wonderful and valued they are. Tell them, tell them, tell them. See how it feels. Watch them grow.
Exercise. Exercise. Is. Tonic. For. Both. The. Body. And. Soul. The world looks better through the lens of endorphins. That, my friend, is a scientific fact. And if, like me, you suffer from anxiety, I cannot recommend it enough. When you find yourself having a bad day, you might just be able to sweat, shake and stretch your way into the little pool of light in the darkness.
Cheerlead the success of others. I used to get jealous, so ridiculously jealous, of creative people: writers, particularly, who I deem more successful than myself. Somehow, for years, I felt with hideous, silly self-righteousness that they were taking something that didn't belong to them, that their success should have been my success: as if we're not all individually capable of our own indelible magic, as if the creative journey/success of one human could completely eradicate another. But here's the deal: nobody else can do them. And nobody else can do you. So congratulate them! Let them inspire you! And just keep doing you. I genuinely believe we all move forward when we start appreciating the unique, special traits and talents of the people around us.
Push out of our comfort zones. Fear is the price we pay to experience the magic: the extraordinary, world-changing magic of this beautiful, bizarre little life, and for that it's not a good enough reason not to do something. It never will be. So I think we have to learn to accept the emotion, somehow. Learn to bask in lower light. To say yes. To sit with the discomfort, make it a cup of tea if you will, but never let it host the party. Possibility, possibility, possibility.
Practice self-kindness. If you follow me on Twitter or have been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I talk about this A LOT. Making the conscious decision to be kinder to myself: to learn, somehow, to be my own best friend amidst the chaos, has enriched my life in so many ways. We need to accept, over and over again, with empowering grace, that the relationship we have with ourselves is the only one that will weather the storm of time. The only one that will be there, fully there, through it all. So take yourself on dates. Eat camembert for dinner on Thursdays, sometimes, just because. Practice that yoga move until your thighs shake. Look after yourself, always and always and always.