So I’ve been listening to all these podcasts about purpose and happiness and all the other bullshit that’s in SHORT SUPPLY during this pandemic. I’m feeling Very Challenged by feeling so out of control. But one of the things every single one of these podcasts is telling me is that we feel better when WE DO NICE THINGS. This probably isn’t surprising, but what is kinda surprising is the extent to which we feel better. In fact, there’s all this research that says we feel way better when we do things for other people than we do when we do nice things for ourselves. That runs kinda counter to our “Treat Yo’ Self” American ethos.
Anyway, I’m going to create a list that is really for me, but can be for you, if you like. Take it or leave to it. Feel free to add to it! I’d love ideas, too.
Ways I can GIVE SOMETHING:
Send someone a card.
Send someone a thank you note.
Send someone a present.
Bake something and give it to neighbors.
Drop off flowers or herbs or vegetables if you have a garden to friends and neighbors.
Give away stuff you don’t need.
Call a friend. Tell them something you really like about them.
Check in on family.
Check in on neighbors.
Instead of just “liking” something on social media, say something specific and positive.
Offer to do a favor for someone.
Ask someone if they need help.
Buy something from a local store, instead of a big corporation.
Promote people doing good work.
Promote your favorite local business on your socials.
Give thanks to someone doing work you admire.
Read/watch something that challenges you to do better in the world.
Read/watch something that challenges you to be better in the world.
Sign a petition, call a person in government, or write a letter to your representatives telling them what you want them to be doing in your name.
Share the work of organizations trying to create change.
Donate to groups trying to create change.
Jettison something you know does bad stuff (treats workers poorly, contributes to climate change, undermines democracy).
Join something you know does good stuff or
Form a group that does good stuff.
Some of these things are easy for me. Some are scary. Some are things I know I should do but never DO do. Some are things I do occasionally but should do more. Some are things I want to make into a habit. Some are things I have to be less precious about—donating $5, if that’s in my budget, is fine. It doesn’t have to be a million. Some mean getting over weird social anxieties or my own cynicism. Some mean maybe embarrassing myself. Some are definitely more fun than others.
But I’m going to try to push myself in the harder spots and try to get even better or more consistent at the easier things. Because it’s so true that treating others is often the best way to treat ourselves.