Article reposted with permission from our partners at Some Great People.
By: Brittany Chaffee
Let’s preface with this: this blog post is not going to start with “now, more than ever…”
The phrase is peppering big-brand commercials and all over social media copy. “Now, more than ever, we need to take care of one another. Now, more than ever, we need to be kind. Now, more than ever, we have to think about others.”
No! Stop the madness!
We always need to take care of one another. We need to be kind. We have to think about others. In this day and age, the incredible manifestation of kindness has been heightened and makes us realize that brightening other people’s days will equally brighten our own.
It’s science. Endorphins, the same brain chemical that makes you feel invisible and happily sleepy after a three-mile run, can also be experienced through something called a “Helper’s High.” (Writer’s Note: Yes, I am saying you can feel the same relief of a run without lighting your lungs on fire). A Helper’s High is a type of euphoria and produces a natural, mild version of a morphine high.
That’s right, endorphins are nuts. But, they’re meaningful. And they’re looking for genuine feelings and kindness movements to latch onto.
That’s why we wanted to put together a guide of tips to brighten your day by brightening someone else’s. We don’t mean for this to sound selfish. Happiness is a shared core part of love and giving back. This list of tips is meant to be shared for the betterment of ourselves and helping others. And most of all: it’s not about how much you give, it’s how much you put into giving. Genuine intentions are the driving force of offering goodness in the world.
With that in mind, let’s dig in.
1. Reinvent Ding-Dong-Ditch
Folks meet ding-dong-ditch, the care package edition. In the new world of social distancing, leaving something sweet on a close friend/family member doorstep without telling them you’re stopping by is the ultimate way to make their day. Drop off their favorite beer and a card made out of construction paper and markers. Buy some flowers from your local floral shop/designer and place those on their front door. Put together a coffee package (psst…we recommend some of our favorite always smooth, never bitter blends) to kick start their day and keep them feeling motivated. Give them a lilac candle and packages of flower seeds to remind them spring is near. (Writer’s Note: My mom did this for me and made me cry alone in the driveway!!!)
2. Get Creative with Gifting From Afar
A lot of people are struggling through tough weeks right now. They’re losing work and trying their best to stay inside. They’re breaking up (momentarily) with the banal, comfy concept of normal. It’s time to do the unconventional. It’s time to shake things up. It’s time to make people laugh.
Quick break for a story from the writer: During a Zoom happy hour call, my cats pulled my laptop right off my coffee table and crushed the screen. My wonderful friend saw the whole thing unfold and ordered me a sympathy plant. And let me tell you this: it was a legitimate sympathy plant. The pot read: In Loving Memory of a Life So Beautifully Lived and a Heart So Deeply Loved. The plant reminded me that when times are tough, we always have the people in our lives to buffer the pain and offer us forms of innate happiness. More poignantly, the plant reminded me that I did lose something important in my life: routine and normalcy. It’s okay to mourn those things. A lot of people are. And you know what else? The plant made me laugh. The plant made my friend laugh.
The lesson here is that getting mail, that isn’t a bill, is like seeing a unicorn. And everyone should be sending people sympathy plants! They’re meaningful! Random acts of kindness, even if they don’t make much sense, are good for all of us.
3. Stationery (and our words) Are Always In
We love a genuine, written letter. People’s sloppy, cursive handwriting. It can almost feel like you’re right there with them, smudging the page with water or wine. You can admire the stationery they choose; their envelopes and stamps. We’re a little traditional but the time we take to write each other letters is important and the writing is often random and carefree. When we write letters to one another, we write in circles – sometimes about nothing. It’s refreshing. Buy some beautiful stationery and send that note.
Fun extra tip: Write your friends and family names on separate pieces of paper and throw them in a mason jar. Every day, pick a name and write/send a letter to that person.
4. Make Art
Everyone is creative! Even if you don’t think you are. Making art, whether you write in a journal, write poetry, paint, or organize the rocks on your front doorstep – that’s documenting and creating something. Sharing these things on social media or sending photos to your friends will brighten their day and in return, make you feel accomplished and genuinely good. Try a daily painting project with watercolors. Ask your friends what you should paint. Paint it for them. Send it to them as a gift. It will brighten their day and, ultimately, it will brighten yours.
5. Be a Book Fairy
Books are a wonderful way to heal. And since we’re all going on multiple walks a day, Little Free Libraries have become a favorite stopping point for a lot of us. If you’re looking to purge some of your books, drop them off all around your neighborhood! Shove a pair of plastic gloves inside the book when you drop it off or a cute note/bookmark. Disinfectant wipes work too.
Another option for this one: once you’re done reading the book and dog-earing the pages (please tell me you do that) send the book to your best friend. That way, they can read through and fall in love with the words you underlined, just like you did for the first time.
6. Just… Pick Up the Phone
This seems like an obvious one, but in our day and age, it’s not. Grandmas don’t have social media and hearing someone’s voice has become another level of connection. Send a loved one you can’t see for a while “a photo a day”. The photos don’t have to be exciting. The phone calls don’t have to be exciting – simply random check ins to make sure things are okay.
Okay – now you have some work to do! Until the world goes back to normal, an order of giving back to our loved ones it is. Tell us, what will you do to brighten someone’s day (and yours)?