by M. Kate Allen
When my oldest daughter was a Daisy running her Girl Scout Cookie business for the first time, I helped her write her very first handwritten thank-you cards to her cookie customers. This is a tradition that has continued with both of my daughters every year since, both during cookie season and the Fall Product Program. The only thing better than receiving an order of Girl Scout Cookies is receiving a handwritten letter of gratitude with them. I've heard numerous cookie customers of my daughter’s comment on the thank-you cards they received, and I'm convinced that the cards are a factor in cookie customers coming back the following year.
There's something intimate and delightful about receiving a hand-written card, especially one that arrives in the mail. On one level it's just scribbles on processed tree pulp, on another level it is magic. A handwritten note takes effort. It takes time. It takes intention. It says that the person writing it stopped everything for a few moments of their day to think of you and offer their appreciation.
What better way to engage in self-care during cookie season than to write yourself a handwritten card?
This form of self-care has seven steps. These steps can be done with others or in solitude, whatever you prefer.
Hand-Written Note – Self-Care Activity
First, take yourself on a trip, in-person or virtually, to a store that sells stationary. I like to visit local bookstores like Changing Hands in Tempe/Phoenix, but any bookstore, drugstore, dollar store, or online retailer will do. Find some eye-pleasing stationary or thank-you cards that delight you, even if (perhaps especially if) someone else would find it silly.
Second, find yourself a fancy pen, a marker, a colored pencil, or a crayon. The brighter and more unusual and fun the color, the better.
Third, scavenge for stickers. Splurge on a pack if you don't already have some. Consider splurging on a pack even if you do have some.
Fourth, write yourself a thank-you letter. Consider writing in your non-dominant hand if you'd like to invoke the spirit of your younger self or write with your dominant hand if you love how your handwriting looks on the page. Write with intention and answer questions like what are you thankful for? Why is this amazing human that you're writing to so amazing? Consider making a list of five things that you're thankful for. Then consider expanding it to ten. The quicker you write, the better (and the easier the gratitude will flow). Add stickers for emphasis.
Fifth, fold your letter, place it in an envelope, address it to yourself, stick a stamp on it, as another sticker or three to the envelope, and walk it out to the mailbox, or take it to the post office. Take a selfie with the envelope before you drop it in the mailbox and post it on social media.
Sixth, check the mail like you're waiting for a reply to fan mail you just sent to your favorite band. When it arrives, let your inside feelings come right out. Squeal, do a happy dance, do a cartwheel- whatever suits your mood. Then make yourself a yummy beverage, grab your favorite Girl Scout Cookies, and open that envelope. What's it like reading those words? Journal about it or share it with someone close to you. Consider even writing one for someone else and mailing it to them!
Seventh, put your note to yourself somewhere close-to-hand so you can read it as often as you wish. You're worth it.