November is the perfect time to exercise your kindness. Not only is the giving season upon us, but we also have two holidays based around being kind. That is National Kindness Day on November 13 and National Philanthropist Day on November the 15. A lot of people think that kindness has to do with spending money on other people or even donating to charities. This isn’t the case at all though. As a matter of fact, there are so many things you can do over the week, the entire month or even a full year that will show the world your kindness. If you’re not sure where to start, these ten tips will help you out.
1. Don’t Volunteer on Thanksgiving
Volunteering at soup kitchens and other charities can be an amazing thing to during the month of November as well as the rest of the year. However, a lot of people think that since Thanksgiving is holiday, it is the perfect time to volunteer. This is a major problem because more often than not, most soup kitchens are full of volunteers on the major holiday. This can lead to over cramping and problems that actually slow down service. Rather than give up time with your own family on Thanksgiving, you might try donating food to be served on the big. Then, come back at a later date to work for the soup kitchen. Usually, the days following a holiday people are needed in high volume because most people feel they did their service on the holiday itself and don’t come back to volunteer again.
2. Community Services
It doesn’t matter what community you live in, there is always going to be something that needs to be taken care of. There are so many community projects to work on that most community centers are always looking for kind people willing to lend a helping hand. You might be asked to help build homes with charities like Habitat for Humanity, or you may need to help children cross the street after school. No matter what you choose, you will feel amazing after helping out. If you don’t want to go through a community center, then consider picking up trash along the roads or in parks. Keeping your local environment beautiful is a great way to help out the whole community.
3. Lawn Work
As the weather begins to cool, it is harder for older people to get outside to work on their lawn. Even some people who are capable of doing so, won’t get out in the cooler weather. So, you might take it upon yourself to help out those who need it. Elderly people are often in need of someone to come rake up leaves, mow the lawn or even clear the driveway and salt the sidewalk. If you choose to do this task, try to concentrate on the areas that might become a hazard if they’re not taken care of. For instance, sidewalks should always be clear and salted when they are icy. You should keep dead branches cut to help prevent them falling on homes, vehicles and even people or animals. Another important thing to do is clear the gutters. This can help prevent ice buildup that could cause roof collapse among other major problems.
4. Visit a Nursing Home
During this time of the year, nursing homes tend to grow lonelier and lonelier. The holiday season tends to be the toughest, especially when it comes to fatalities in the nursing home. So, you might want to take some time out of your busy schedule to help out the elderly in your community. You can simply start by visiting the nursing home and spending time with those who might want to talk. You can also volunteer at the home to help with activities, cleaning, or even cooking. There is a lot to be done in such a place, so have fun with it. If you don’t want to volunteer then you might consider making crafted goods to help decorate the place over the festive season. Every little bit goes a long way.
5. Sign Up for Abroad Programs
If you’re looking to broaden your horizons while helping out, then you’re in luck. There are actually a lot of abroad programs that can help you see the world while you help to make it a better place. One of the most popular programs is Peace Corp, which allows you to use the bachelor degree you’ve earned for the good of the world. If you can’t get into Peace Corp then don’t stress it. There’s lot of programs that allow you to spend time abroad and help farmers, educators and more. Some will even give you a small allowance, so you can enjoy your time abroad a bit more. Make sure to do a lot of research before you sign up for a program though, as there are many scams out there that can leave you in a lot of trouble.
6. Donate Goods
Most homes are filled with items they no longer need or want. This is pretty handy because the winter season tends to be a time when those in need could really use those items that are collecting dust in your home. So, you might want to go through your wardrobe and pull out things that aren’t doing you any good. You should especially concentrate on items like winter coats, thermal tops and anything else that might help keep someone warm if they’re spending a lot of time out on the streets. Another option is to have the kids go through their toys. Anything they no longer need can be donated to children that might not be getting holiday gifts. Apart from that, you should offer some of your canned goods and other food items to a food shelter. This will help feed families, particularly on the holidays.
7. Say Hello to Someone
In today’s world of technology, we often go without actually communicating with one another. For some, this can create a very lonely experience. Particularly if they don’t have access to technology or already know every few people. Thus, one of the easiest ways to remedy this issue is to say hello to someone you don’t know. It doesn’t have to be any more than a smile and a hello either, unless you feel like engaging the person in a conversation. You never know, you might even want to ask to join the person for a meal if you find they are eating alone. Of course, you can also practice this with someone you know or someone you see often in the office or in school. You never know whose day you will be making by simply uttering a friendly greeting to them. Doing this may even help you break away from technology for a while, which can do you some good too.
8. Send Thank You Letters
Writing letters isn’t a common practice these days, but you can really make someone feel special by doing this. If you want to do a good deed, then you might consider writing a letter of gratitude to those who help make the country a better place. You might start with writing to soldiers who are stationed away from their families or in danger zones. These letters will help keep up motivation and allow them to know that people are thinking about them and their sacrifice. Of course, you can also keep it local by writing thank you letters to police officers, firemen, nurses, EMTs and more. If you want to go the extra mile, then start working on your homemade holiday cards early. These can be used to share cheer and express your gratitude.
9. Volunteer at a Hotline
The holiday season can be very depressing for those who feel as if life isn’t going their way. The prospect of spending time with family, or not being able to do so, can really transform the way people think and can leave them feeling hopeless. Thus, it is a great time to volunteer for a hotline. There are lots to choose from that can suit your interests and your desire to help those in need. Of course, suicide hotlines aren’t the only options to consider. You might also look into hotlines for domestic abuse, eating disorders and so on. If you’re not crazy about talking on the phone there are options for you to utilize too. For instance, there are hotlines that work with text messaging only. There are also so many online that can leave you feeling like you’ve made a difference. If you prefer face to face contact, then you might want to join a peer group at school or in your community. You will be surprised by how these groups are able to help so many.
10. Make Time for Family
Although it might not seem to make as big of a difference as you think, spending time with your family can be one of the best ways to make a difference. Your immediate family is one of the best ways that you can make a difference in the world. Raising children to be kind to those around them, will help make sure the next generation turns out better than those before them. Of course, you should also consider the elders in your family, or those that might be lonely. The cold season is the perfect time to plan bonding experiences with those that you love. All in all, simply listening to the needs of your family and following their desires will help to make a difference during the month of kindness.
The month of November is one of the best times to put your best foot forward. These ten tips are sure to help you find the best way to be a Good Samaritan and show your kindness to the world without spending a fortune. So, enjoy the month of kindness while you can, as next month begins the busy shopping season.