A couple years ago we were approached by a passionate therapist named Lynn McCracken who told us about a bright young girl she knew who died at only the age of 7.
To honor her, Lynn wanted to create a holiday on which people would write to someone and either thank them for being a light or send encouragement and be a light in the world for someone who needed it, just like her young friend. Just like a firefly.
She asked if we might be able to help her spread the message.
We were getting close to design deadline for our Look for the Light Collection, but Lynn's idea rang true with me. Lynn's request happened at just the perfect time — we were designing a collection that was all about the light in the darkness.
As sometimes happens, an illustration sprang to my mind, and in a few hours, the Firefly Light card was born.
I was SO inspired in fact, that I designed not only a card but also a kit of 12 of our cards that came with a course of inspirational emails. (It was a lot to pull together, but I'm an optimistic over-achiever! 😅 )
The My Firefly Experience
The first version of this kit had a corresponding monthly email component, that contained a bit of information from Lynn about the benefits of letter writing on mental health, as well as a prompt to write to a particular person that month: 6 people who have inspired you and 6 people who could use some cheering on.
In the past few months I revisited the experience. "What if someone wanted to write them in less time than 12 months?" I wondered.
Ultimately, I recreated the experience as a blog on this website. It hosts all of the prompts, so now you can go in any order you'd like and whatever pace is comfortable for you!
There is a place to comment on each prompt if you feel like sharing. We can all inspire each other with ideas of whom to write and by sharing how the experience of writing is making you feel. (Just witnessing some else doing something pro-social boosts people's moods!)
Why is the My Firefly Kit So Good for Mental Health?
Back when Lynn talked to us about the connection between card-writing and mental health, I didn't realize just HOW strong the connection seems to be.
The research about mental health is promising — cards of gratitude are one of the longest lasting interventions, positively affecting the writer's mental health for a month or more. Being grateful transforms us; everything from improved quality of sleep to improving our immune systems, to just feeling good for your soul! Writing words of gratitude and sharing them with another person multiplies the effects.
Empathy is another one of the top actions you can take to improve mental health. Empathy is looking at things from another person's perspective. Card writing happens to be great for this.
And by writing a card to someone who needs encouragement, it's extending a hand to them and checking in on them. One powerful study showed that people who had been hospitalized for suicidal ideations had a decreased rate of relapsing IF they had received a letter in the year following the initial hospitalization.
I don't think it's a stretch of the imagination to say these 12 cards in the My firefly Kit have the power to transform your life and 12 other people's lives this year.
Do I need to buy a kit?
Of course you don't need to write on fancy paper to make an impact on the world. And if you never buy a single card from us, I would still love for you to keep reading our emails and blogs if they inspire you.
However, we've been working for the past 5 years to design cards that are a treat and not a to-do. If our cards motivate you to turn intention into action, THAT is a huge win! (Plus, people will love receiving a piece of art in the mail that they can have on display for awhile and smile every time they see it.)
The My Firefly Hub is available to everyone. We don't want to hide resources that might change people's lives.
On the other hand, how could the micro-commitment of buying this kit change your 2023? (Micro-commitments are great for your mental health too! They provide forward and optimistic action.)
Once you have the cards, all you need to put some love in the mail is a few minutes of peaceful writing time, a stamp, and the follow-through of looking up address and putting the little kraft envelope of joy in the mail.
I propose that if you love the idea of this kit, you promise yourself to put the first card in the mail before the end of January so you gain some momentum for the year!
Whatever you've set as your intentions for the year, I hope 2023 is a beautiful year for you, filled to the brim with gratitude and empathy.
Thanks for being here, you little firefly, you. :)
Tiny (and Snail)
A Few of the Amazing Reviews for the My Firefly Kit
P.S. I'd love to hearing what your intentions, word, resolution, or whatever-you-call-it is for 2023! Leave a comment and let everyone know what you've been thinking about.
(This year I am resolving to not deprive my body of fuel — which means drinking water when I'm thirsty and feeding my body before I get hangry!)
Wonderful idea Tiny and Snail!😍