If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how much we as a species rely on interaction with other human beings; To help one person everyday could be the new way forward! The internet is rife with memes, posts, and statuses about how much we miss hugs, about how epic it’s going to be when we can finally all get together, and how we won’t take socialising with friends and family for granted ever again.
And I HOPE that’s true.
But the truth is, that even before the pandemic, the trend in our society seemed to be that we were a little cut off from humanity. We text rather than talk, we spend our days working and our evenings staring at a screen – our living rooms have taken the place of cinemas and theatres – on nights out with friends we spend an inordinate amount of time looking down at our phones, or taking photos of the event rather than enjoying the company. We date online. We shop online.
Has this lockdown really been a lot different from how we would normally live our lives? For some, sadly not.
This tendency to live a very solitary lifestyle comes at an unexpected cost – to our fellow human beings, more so than ourselves – in that it can make us rather selfish, and less likely to focus on the needs and wants of others.
This is why I advocate HOPE – helping one person every day, and while this might have to come in different forms at the moment, getting into the mindset of giving something back to our fellow man (or woman!), and the universe, has many advantages, including:
- Improving the life of someone else – even if just a little bit and for a short while
- It makes you feel good about yourself – something that should never be underrated
- The recipients of good deeds are likely to ‘pass it on’, creating a chain of kindness and good feelings that can go on and on.
Taking a few minutes to do a kindness for another person sounds simple, but where do we start? Don’t make the mistake of thinking it has to be something big – you don’t have to go and pay someone’s rent or buy an extravagant treat (particularly if it’s going to leave you in need yourself), but lending a friendly ear, offering advice or a shoulder to cry on, or helping someone with a task, costs nothing but your time, and will be just as valuable to someone in need as your money.
There are literally thousands of ways in which you can help someone everyday, but here are some that you can start implementing right now…
Just Be Nice
It sounds obvious, but just by not being a grumpy arsehole, you can make someone’s day a little brighter – we all have bad days, but the trick is not to take that out on other people.
Offering a friendly greeting and a smile to someone in passing, or someone you engage with in a shop or at a bus stop, can make all the difference to their day, and it can give your mood a boost as well!
That’s it, it’s that easy.
I know that we all live very busy, fast-paced lives, and our time is our most precious commodity, but unfortunately, many of us don’t spend it very wisely.
How many times have you declared that you ‘don’t have time’ to meet a friend for a chat, workout, help someone move; when you can quite easily find 6 hours to slump in front of a box set or stare at social media?
Now, I’m not saying that those things don’t have their place or that they’re not important – there’s a lot to be said for ‘chilling’ – but why not occasionally use some of that free time to help someone else.
Charitable organisations such as soup kitchens and youth groups are always crying out for volunteers, it’s honestly one of the most amazing things you can do, and there are millions of ways you can get involved – reading to the elderly, volunteering in charity shops, handing out food parcels and essentials to the homeless…
The list of ways you can help others in a volunteering capacity are endless.
Still in the charitable vein, donating anything you no longer use to those in need is a non-interactive way to help others that still feels pretty good.
Donating clothes and toys to those not as fortunate, buying a bit extra with the weekly shop to give to food banks, or buying sanitary products for young women from poorer families, are all simple things you can do to help others – and all it will cost you is some time and effort, and maybe a few quid.
Donations to charity shops have halted somewhat during the pandemic, but food banks are still running and in desperate need of donations, now more than ever – or do you know anyone in your neighbourhood who is struggling and would be able to make use of donated clothing or things for the kids – all well-washed and sanitised of course!
Stopping To Help
Sometimes, helping someone doesn’t have to be pre-planned like making a donation or waking up with the intention of smiling at a stranger, often it’s just an opportunity that happens to present itself.
Next time you see someone has broken down on the side of the road, pull over and ask if they need assistance, or need to use your phone. Maybe you see someone struggling with heavy shopping, or they’ve dropped something; going out of your way to help, rather than walking on by and pretending you haven’t noticed is definitely good for the soul!
Comforting someone who is grieving or suffering in some way is often simultaneously the easiest and the hardest thing to do; but even if you are someone who feels uncomfortable in those sorts of situations, just remember – it’s not about you.
Often, people who want to be comforted just want someone to listen – judgement-free – and to make all the right noises, rather than to be showered with hugs and advice. You don’t need to act as a grief counsellor, or worry about the fact that you don’t know a solution to their problem; even just lending a listening ear and offering a kind word can make all the difference to someone who needs it.
Teach Someone Something
This one is taking the idea of helping someone a little outside of the box, but, taking the time to teach someone a skill – teaching an older person to use the internet – for example, can not only help them immensely, but it will also make you feel pretty good in the process.
There have even been instances over the various periods of lockdown where some people have shared their skillset online – for free! Imagine setting up a youtube channel during the pandemic where young people could learn a language, or an instrument, or how to draw or bake….lessons that you might ordinarily be able to charge money for, shared for free, just to be kind and helpful. That would be pretty amazing!
Do A Chore
Another obvious one now, but something that would make quite an impact one someone’s day – doing a task that’s normally undertaken by someone
else, without being asked.
If your wife always changes the bedding – why don’t you do it for a change? Flatmate always cooks on a Friday? Perhaps he comes home from work this Friday and dinner’s already on….
You get the idea. It feels good to do something for someone else – and chances are that, at some point, they’ll do something similar in return.
Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, but hopefully it’s given you some food for thought when it comes to the things that we can do to help others every day.
We’ve learnt during this pandemic that any one of us can fall on hard times at the drop of a hat and need the milk of human kindness…people are losing their jobs, their homes, their loved ones….there are people who can’t get to the shops, who can’t afford to feed their children, who need someone to listen to them….so why not resolve to help someone out in some way today – no matter how small – because tomorrow it could be you who needs it.