Small Ways to Show Empathy
So maybe you don’t have any spare time. Maybe you’re like me and you do have some extra time but you’re exhausted by the time your “off” day happens. (And maybe you just pretty much spend that whole day cleaning) Four years ago when I was in high school I volunteered SO MUCH. Over the period of four years I volunteered 300-400 hours. It was a great way to escape a tumultuous home life. I’m starting to miss volunteering, but I’m always wiped out on my days off…so I’ve had to be more creative about “giving back”…Here’s some ways to help others without volunteering
-Talk to your neighbors! Offer to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog. Watch your friends’ kids kids for two hours so the parents can have a date night. Or just ask the guy above you how his day is going! You never know if you could make someone’s day!! Maybe even watch a kitty while someone is out of town. *cough cough* This could go a long way for when YOU go out of town.
-Help a stranger. Tip your barista. Hug your favorite bartender who always over serves you. If you see someone struggling to carry something offer to help. If you see a pregnant woman having a hard time with something, for example, maybe you could help! This includes being friendly to sales people and customer service people.
-Donate to your favorite charity. I have UNICEF just pull some money from my account every month, like a bill. ASPCA, Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Habitat for Humanity and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are all awesome charities. Every dollar helps! You could also look up some more local charities in your area, so you can help your local area.
-Shop fair trade or local! It helps the environment and helps local businesses + artisans. Check out http://www.thegoodtrade.com/ and http://www.ravenandlily.com/ and http://www.ravenandlily.com/ for some great ways to help others’ and shop at the same time. Shopping local is a great way to help discourage/prevent some of the negative environmental impact that mega corporations leave on our environment through their factories. Nobody likes pollution! Plus, Fair Trade companies ensure that the workers who make the products are compensated fairly and ethically for their wages. (I will do a blog post later all about shopping local + fair trade.)
-Recycle! This is obviously not the same as volunteering, but it still feels great + it’s so easy to recycle cans or bottles. Tons of stores offer reusable bags for grocery shopping, so you can just grab some and leave them in the car. I also really try to pick up trash that I see in public places, but that’s just a personal choice. Often times, I will go out of my way to pick up trash on the beaches, too because that happens sometimes where I live.
-If you do find some time + energy to volunteer check out www.volunteermatch.org in order to get involved. It’s a great resource for finding local events that need volunteers. If you attend a church/mosque/temple/place of worship they probably have lots of great volunteering opportunities too!
So if you just read this and you have no idea why anyone would do any of these things, it’s because it feels GREAT to help others. And if that doesn’t motivate you, it’s great karma, too. Living a more generous lifestyle leads to a more joyous life. Keep your heart open and karma will bless you. Thanks for reading!