Last week I touched on trying to change the American mentality from being consumers of things to becoming consumers of experiences (aka life!). It’s also the time of year when people are often more cognizant of those less fortunate. With the economy still struggling, food banks, shelters, and other organizations that help those in our community are feeling the pinch. How does giving fit into your holiday budget this year? As Larry Winget says, “when you have money you are obligated to share a portion of it with those who don’t have money.”
One of the first things I try to instill in my clients is striving to have the attitude of a giver and not that of the typical American consumer. While the above quote speaks specifically of money, this doesn’t have to be the case. I understand the economy is tight for everybody. But we need to be willing to give our time, our talents, our services, and our resources to others. Being able to help others can add meaning to your life, reduce your stress, increase your happiness, and just makes you feel good!
Here are some ideas, no (or very little) money required, to get you started and I hope you’ll add your own as well as carry on the spirit of giving into 2011 and beyond. Make it something you will enjoy and get your whole family involved!
– pick up trash while playing at the park
– help an elderly neighbor with household chores
– help build a home
– volunteer in a museum, animal shelter, hospital, library (the opportunities are endless!)
– deliver meals on wheels
– bring a dog or baby to a nursing home
– host a coat drive/pajama drive/blanket drive
– send magazines or books you no longer need to our troops overseas
– prepare meals at a soup kitchen
– help plant a community garden
– clean out your closet and donate clothes to a women’s shelter or dress for success
– teach a cooking class, computer class, or another job skill that comes naturally to you
– babysit for new parents
What ideas can you add? And see if you can’t find a few dollars every month to share with a cause you believe in. Then challenge yourself to add a few more dollars to that amount each month. Let’s make it a year life of giving!
(photo by rishi menon)