I think I have mentioned in previous posts that my old Therapist used to suggest that when I’m feeling rubbish, I should go out in to the street, find someone lost and give them directions and it would make me feel better. It’s true! Helping others really does make you feel better.
In the recent month, I have been doing a fair bit of this. It’s been a rather busy time!! Here are a couple of examples.
At the moment I cook one day a week for a lovely family of 3 to fill their freezer for the week. Simple, easy, doesn’t sound like I’m doing much, just doing my job really. Well, the husband of this family (early 30’s) has recently started Chemotherapy for a horrible form of cancer that requires strict dietary guidelines. Their child is about 14 months old. The mother is working full time, whilst juggling looking after their little boy, feeding them all, getting the husband to hospital for his treatment and generally keeping the household going as normal as possible. I have so much admiration for them all; they are always so positive, upbeat and a joy to be around. So, cooking them a few meals to get them through the week and knowing that I am helping them in some way so that they can all be together and the wife can enjoy time with her husband and little boy, is so rewarding to me. Knowing that they have one stress off their hands makes me proud to do my job.
Another example is the power of fellowship with other addicts and alcoholics. One of my best friends in recovery relapsed rather suddenly and out of the blue. I knew whilst he was drunk there was nothing I could do until he reached out. When he did I was straight there and took him in, fed him and gave him a bed for a few nights. For the days that he was staying with me we sat and talked for hours, trying to work out what went wrong and where he could put things right. We shared both our experiences in recovery and what has helped and hindered us. The more we talked, and the more I shared my experience and what helps me, not only helped him but really helped me also. Whilst I shared my bits, it reminded me of what I need to be doing to keep myself safe and sober. It was also an incredible eye opener to how cunning and sly our addictions can be. I relapsed in November last year (not sure I shared this before on here but Instagram followers will be aware of this), because I wasn’t honest with my feelings and thought I was invincible to the demons in my head. Sharing with other addicts, alcoholics and sufferers about what is going on, helping them with their problems again is a great way of helping yourself. Like I said, it can really help you realise and remember what you need to be doing for yourself.
Last week, I had another very rewarding job. I spent two days teaching two lovely autistic guys how to cook. It was challenging at times, as I’ve never had first hand experience with helping people with autism so a huge learning curve for me. They were brilliant and cooked some delicious food which their families really enjoyed. The best bit was seeing them so excited to cook, getting stuck in and letting their mums go off and have girly time without having to worry. I only spent two days with the guys but I could immediately see what a full time job it must be for the mums as you can’t turn your back for one second without the gas on the stove being turned on, kettle being boiled or knives being waved around. Like all of the other times that I was helping others, this was another exceptionally rewarding experience. Getting these boys engaged in cooking and having fun, as well as letting the mums have some time off was such an amazing feeling.
You don’t need to do ‘big’ things like this to make yourself feel better, these have just been part of my job, and part of my role as being a friend. Often I will see homeless people on the street asking for money, or crying etc, and just taking a few minutes out of your day to buy them a hot drink and food, giving them an old jumper or blanket you don’t use anymore and sitting and talking to them can be hugely rewarding. There is such a stigma about homeless people and that they’re all dangerous druggies, but more often than not, they all have fascinating life stories.
Some easy day to day things to try that can help you feel better are:
- giving someone who’s lost directions
- talking to a homeless person
- helping someone with a pram carry it up or down the tube steps
- helping an elderly person carry their shopping or help them cross the road
- or just simply smiling at someone you pass.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.