As the days start getting shorter the winter blues can start to set in. There are many ways to combat this including getting active and soaking up the sunlight when you can. There is another way to get over these seasonal moods that too often gets overlooked. One of the best ways to elevate your mood is to perform acts of kindness. When you give selflessly of your time and resources you can improve your mood ten-fold! To help you get started here are 10 acts of kindness to beat winter blues.
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1. Put money in an expiring parking meter.
This is such an easy act of kindness that anyone can do. When your doctor’s visit is running longer than expected, the last thing you want to do is be worrying about your meter. Make someone’s day by taking care of it for them.
2. Donate your gently used books to a local school.
Have you been in a school library lately? My children’s school is excellent and still, the library is so depressing to me. When I think of a library, I want to see walls and walls of books. This just isn’t the case anymore. What’s worse is that there are schools that don’t half even half of the books my children’s school has. Why not donate your gently used books to schools that need them?
3. Give holiday gifts to your neighbors.
The holidays are a fabulous time to do something nice for your neighbors. Make up some delicious treat bags and hang on their doors. If you’re looking for something more useful why not give everyone an ice scraper? The smallest gesture goes a long way.
4. Make a freezer meal for a friend.
You know how crazy dinner time can be in your home. Take some stress off a friend’s plate and take their family an easy freezer meal that they can pop in the oven. Need some ideas? Check out these freezer-friendly chicken nuggets or freezer chicken pot pie minis!
5. Donate craft supplies to a local library.
Have you ever taken your child to a free event at the library? All of those events are run on donations. Say thank you by donating some craft supplies to help out with these fun events.
6. Send a thoughtful card or letter.
This one is so easy and all it costs you is a stamp. Everyone is delighted to receive surprise mail that’s not a bill. Make someone’s day with a heartfelt sentiment to show you care and you were thinking about them.
7. Rake a neighbor’s leaves or shovel their driveway.
Shoveling the driveway is one of my least favorite winter chores. A couple of years ago some sweet neighbors stopped by to shovel and salt my driveway for me and I still smile when I think about it. Do the same for someone in your neighborhood as a sweet act of kindness.
8. Offer to babysit so parents can have a date night.
Ah, the baby phase… they are adorable and utterly life changing (in a good way). Babies also can wreak havoc on a marriage. Let the parents you know get a much-needed break and offer to babysit the kiddos for a night.
9. Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru.
Do you know what makes your Caramel Macchiato even sweeter? Not having to pay for it. This is such an easy and effortless way to brighten someone’s day. The caveat is that you don’t have any control of the cost. If you are on a limited budget, ask to put $10 towards their order instead. That is still a wonderful surprise.
10. Donate toys to the Salvation Army.
This is another one close to my heart. There was a year when my mom had absolutely no money for presents (even things we needed like socks and coats) when we were very little. Imagine having to tell your 4 year old that impossible scenario of that there is no Santa or that Santa forgot them. Neither is palatable. In a true Christmas miracle it turned out that our church had adopted our family that year and arrived not only with presents on Christmas Eve but food as well. When you give to the Salvation Army that is the kind of gift you are giving a family.
These are all easy ideas that are low-cost or no cost. The best thing about them is that most of these can absolutely be a family affair. It’s always important to teach your kids early the joy of giving to others. These 10 acts of kindness are also a wonderful exercise in gratefulness. When you and your family see how much you truly have to give you will begin to appreciate all that you have. Usher in the colder months with warmth in your heart this year. Check out this DIY autumn thankful wreath for more wonderful ways to exercise a heart of thankfulness with your family.