Today I was grumpy. I hate to say that there was no real reason—but there was no real reason.
A colleague popped to say hello and we started commiserating, chatting about the general stress of life these days. Just bantering back and forth. “I need a mental health day!” I proclaimed “but it’s so hard with the new schedules we have with the Covid-19 rules at work.” My friend stood there for a minute and then said “that’s all you need?”
“Hm. Well, right now, yeah. A day off to regroup and be less grumpy?” I pondered. “Yep. That’s it.”
“Me too!” he said, his eyes opening wide.
“Well, hell man, take a day. You’re in maintenance. It’s way easier for you.” I see his face change. “You don’t have all the negotiating—wrangling a substitute teacher and prepping lessons. You can just take a day.” As I talked his enthusiastic disposition shifted.
He agreed that a mental health day was just what he needed, but, he also admitted that he didn’t like staying home because it wasn’t very restful. “Ah, right, your dad lives with you.” I state a fact about his home that I knew. “Exactly. Not so good. It’s just better to come to work.”
“No it’s not! Tell you what, the next time you need a mental health day just let me know. Come to my house. I’ll let you in. Give you the wifi pass code, show you where the tea and snacks are and leave you to it. In fact this offer also holds for your wife. I think I’m going to message her and tell her.”
“Are you serious?” My pal looked so surprised. “Yes. I am very serious. Days off are a very serious matter. Mental health is serious.” He was stunned by the offer but, honestly I have been rescued so many times by the generosity of strangers or friends of friends who had nothing to gain by letting me stay at their place or feeding me supper, driving me around. I can only return the favor.
The offer I made him turned his mood around. We started joking, laughing, chatting. The drag he walked into my room with was not as heavy when he left knowing he may have found a mini vacay.
He was happier.
He felt better.
But here’s the kicker. I felt better.
I didn’t actually have to do a good deed. I just had to offer it—talk about it. Once my kind words were out there floating around in the world, even if it didn’t actually land anywhere, just offering felt good for me too. That being said, if my friend told me he needed a quiet place to chill out for a while the answer would be yes.
“Ha, even I feel better” I said as he walked towards the door. “And you haven’t even come over yet!”
I guess offering kindness is enough to change a mood as much as having someone do something nice for you.
We were both less grumpy after that exchange.