Tip #2, Love Is All You Need or Bridget’s Surefire Guide to Keeping Up With Your Friends So That They Don’t Forget How Fun You Are

Your friends are awesome. When you’re temporarily health challenged, they are even more awesome than usual. They come visit, send you cards and presents, make you cupcakes, volunteer to cat-sit, and maybe even help you raise money to cover your medical expenses.

But the thing is, when you’re sick, you sort of just want to curl up in a hole and hide from everyone. You don’t feel good and you know you aren’t your usual sparkly self.

Don’t curl up in a hole! They are cold, nasty places and you will have to live with badgers and not the cute kind, the mean snarly ones like those statues in the capitol building in Madison.

Plus, keeping in touch with your friends and family will make you feel better and it will keep them from worrying about you.

Or forgetting how fun you are.

Bridget’s Surefire Guide to Keeping Up With Your Friends So That They Don’t Forget How Fun You Are:

*When you’re at your lowest isn’t the best time to see people or even plan to see people. If you’re on a treatment schedule, take advantage of the times when you’re feeling better to plan for the next time you think you might be feeling better.

*Put everything you are invited to on your calendar even if you’re fairly sure you won’t be able to attend most of it. If it’s on the calendar, you’ll mentally start to plan to go and you might surprise yourself by feeling up to it. You can always cancel if you aren’t.

*Keep a list of everyone who’s tried to contact you when you haven’t been up to responding. When you do feel well, you’ll be ready with your list to return phone calls and e-mails.

*Make a special e-mail folder called “Check Later” and automatically put personal e-mails you are unable to respond to in the folder. This is a good back up for people you forget to add to your reminder list. Remember to check the folder on your good days.

*Find a way to reach a large number of people with updates—it’s impossible to give each person the amount of time you’d like to when you aren’t feeling well and this can take some of the pressure off. Facebook, mass e-mails (set up a Group in your e-mail), or blogging can keep people up-to-date, as can using a few gossipy friends (I mean that in the nicest way) to spread the word. You don’t need to give people a blow-by-blow of your illness, just a general idea of what’s going on.

*Put together a Thank You Card Kit. People do all of these nice things for you and you want to thank them, so make it as easy as possible for yourself. First stockpile a bunch of cards. (These make really nice gifts for people who are temporarily health challenged—I still have a nice stash from Jenny Jackson. Thanks, Jenn!). Add to this whenever you come across nice cards. PaperSource is a luxurious source that has a location in Portland on NW 23rd.

Get a small-to-medium-sized box to hold everything, put in a selection of cards from your stockpile, several books of stamps (you can buy cute ones online), and some nice gel pens that live in the box. I recently added a cool stamper from Sweet Papery with our return address on it.

As things come in or people do nice things for me, I add their names to a running list. If I don’t have their address in my digital address book, I rip it off the card or package and throw it in my Thank You Kit. Try to plan regular Thank You Card days, or do a few at a time whenever you have a good day. If you get a light plastic box, you can throw it in your bag to work on in waiting rooms.

Some of these tips might be helpful too for writers who go through cycles of getting sucked into their work and then coming up for air.

Next up–Tip #3, Feeding Your Brain.

Love to you all,


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  1. Yes! My brother is a 25+year brain cancer survivor. Some people still give him a hard time about what a complete *drag* he was when he was in treatment/recovery. You don’t want that! 😉

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