Create a “You look like you need MY backpack” backpack. Little by little, put together a backpack full of small little items meant to pick your lover’s spirits up. Take in to consideration those things that might be personal to that person.
· Maybe a magazine they enjoy but don’t subscribe to.
· Some new warm socks.
· A box of Ding Dongs, Bugles or some other totally ludicrous snack.
· A votive candle that smells like some form of comfort food.
· How about a DVD of a movie that’s just fun, like The Princess Bride, Monty Pythons The Holy Grail, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, or try an old original episode of Godzilla!
· Throw in a CD that’s relaxing OR one that makes them feel like dancing their *bleep* off.
· Maybe there’s a coupon included for a back rub from you.
· Or some eucalyptus/ lilac oil to put in a bath.
· Maybe a coupon for a shower WITH you with a promise to warm their towels and dry them off.
· Would it make sense to put in a gift card for ten dollars of gas so they can take off for a wind down drive?
· Or a few dollars to go blow at the local game trader store so they can get a used xBox game?
Only you know what they might like to make a hard day better. As time goes along, refresh it with new things as you can. But keep it aside for those days when you want them to know you GET needing to be given a smile.
For those who can’t hand over such a backpack, start a large manila envelope for the same purpose. Pull articles that are of interest to her, maybe on fashion or recipes or her favorite fantasy football team. Maybe he’d like something about the latest mountain bike trails becoming available. Some recipes for rubs he might like to try his hand at BBQing, or the results of how to produce the next great microbrew. Put in some Suduko puzzles or word finds. (remember you can create your own personalized word finds and other word puzzles on http://puzzle-maker.com/WS) Throw in some instructions on how to fold some paper airplanes as those are always fun to throw around, and some extra paper to fold. You get the point, just something to get their mind on other things.
If you’re being deployed, throw one of these together for your loved one, and hand it to a family member, friend, neighbor, etc. Then, on your request, they can hand it off for you. Make sure they know they have to get it back though so you can set it up again. Figure out ahead of time how that will happen, whether they’re also your help with that, or someone else.
AND, if you’re someone who has to travel in for surgeries with any frequency, you put one together as an encouragement for the one who stands by you during those times too. It shows that you recognize how those times can stretch your lover, whether it’s a difficult or relatively benign procedure.
Lastly, for those who love someone with PTSD, one of the kindest things they will always be able to find in one of these backpacks is a set of ear plugs. You can find some great ones at your local sports store where swimming supplies are sold. MANY a moment has been helped with those little gems. If there’s enough money on the budget, you can even go an extra step and put a basic MP3 player in and a set of head phones. Pre-load the player with music or stories on CD that your loved one would be able to loose themselves in during times of stress or when they need to refocus themselves.
If you are the one with PTSD, how about making one of these for those times when the shoes on the other foot and your having had to deal with a day of triggering has meant your partner has had to deal with that fact too? Help them have a bag of things to de-stress or wind down with while you’re doing the same. In other words, this makes a great idea as a couple exchange gift.