Christmas and New Year are times when a lot of people seem to dash about . Their focus in this time of the year is to give gifts and to make sure that each gift is exactly right for the person it’s meant for . The New Year can symbolise a new start but for some it might be a time of difficulty and sadness if things have not changed or challenges still exist in their lives .
It’s pressure sometimes to fulfil this aim and perhaps time to reflect on what other things we give to others throughout the year. So below I’ve written about a few things that I feel are important to give to others . These gifts are all priceless in their own way and can’t be bought but can be shared to help others to feel better about themselves . The gifts can be given to anyone – friends , family , those we care for , those we meet .
Giving someone your time might mean helping them in a way you see as small when actually this will make a huge difference to that person . Sending a private message on Twitter, a text , a chat on the phone, a card or a letter – it might not necessarily mean actually seeing each other face to face – but whatever you do shows the other person you care enough to contact them and let them know they are in your thoughts . I’ve just written an article about the concept of time in relation to midwifery for the January 2016 issue of The Practising Midwife ‘Viewpoint’.
As humans it’s important to share your time in order to be an part of the way the world works – humans are made to socialise and to care for one another .
Showing a woman or family that you are caring for that you have time to talk can be displayed in various ways . As a social or health care worker sitting down at the same level as the person you are communicating with can show equality, empathy and is also a visible sign of listening . An open body language can also improve communication and break down barriers – looking at the person you are talking with means you are committed and have patience to wait for their responses – sitting with someone means connection and it symbolises ‘we are the same ‘ ‘I am here for you’. So many times those in need require to know that we are committed to hearing what they need to say .
I know a retired cardiac surgeon who always greets people with “Namaste” and he exudes warmth and kindness – it is a beautiful greeting but when he says it the meaning is real and tangible. He retired many years ago but still gives his time to the hospital to help raise funds and make a difference for others .
Giving your time to someone else is a wonderful thing to do and it means you value that person well as a fellow human – it will also make them feel good about themself and you might be surprised to find it helps you just as much as them.
What exactly is kindness ? It’s an understanding and openness that is a way of showing warmth towards someone – it’s asking someone if they are ok , giving a smile or a touch on the shoulder to let them know you care . I blogged about this HERE – on the importance of showing one’s heart . In the book Roar Behind the Silence edited by Sheena Byrom and Soo Downe and published by Pinter and Martin there are numerous references to compassion and kindness . Several chapters in the book are structured to help those in healthcare and especially the NHS to investigate the practice in their own place of work. We need to challenge the assumptions of others by putting kindness and compassion at the heart of care . There are many examples and ideas to try and put these virtues into place in the clinical setting and I urge you to read this book and share it with your colleagues, leaders and managers.
Hugs and Words
To receive a hug from a fellow human is a display of care and also of friendship . I’ve received virtual hugs on social media and sent them to others and I do use a hug as a form of greeting to people I know . The other week I met someone in an emotional state and I said “do you need a hug ?” They replied yes & I felt the emotions spilling out of that person – we then talked and the hug helped her . I’m not saying hug everyone you meet but assess the situation and be humankind . Kindness helps us to thrive .
When someone wants to talk it’s good to listen and to avoid saying “you need to do this – you need to do that “. Words as a gift should be carefully chosen as most people remember not just the words but the way they are delivered . Think about the way you speak and the language you use does it depict a caring personality ? As a person who like to send letters and cards I try to give positivity through my words I thank my friends for supporting me and I consider how I speak and communicate when I am working. Try reading an email you are about to send to someone as if you are the recipient – how do you feel reading it now ? Would you change anything ? Does your email embody the values of the NHS trust that you are employed in ? Is it true to your beliefs and moral beliefs?
It’s a good thought to hold in your mind every day that there are people out there who care and that good things are going to happen . If you are feeling low in the New Year tell a friend – contact a support group , go and see your GP – there are organisations, groups and individuals out there specifically trained to help .
Take the first step , tell someone or if you recognise that someone is not their usual self spend time with them and be kind – you might just be the one who helps them start the journey of becoming well and addressing their problems
I wish you all a peaceful 2016 – thank you for reading and I’d like to thank all my wonderful real friends I’ve met through Twitter , life and midwifery for all their kindness and positivity towards me in 2015 .
With love , Jenny ❤️