With 2020 come and gone, the world has had an opportunity to look back and reflect on what has been a collectively challenging year for most. Certainly the last nine months, and expectations for what the year would bring, had fallen short for many, to whatever the degree. It was a year that brought with it increased anxiety, fatigue, and what felt like a rollercoaster of emotions—a delicate balance of navigating extreme burdens, while trying to maintain a positive outlook and sense of hope for better months to come.
Simply put, there are matters that are out of our hands. While we cannot single handedly control the state of the world, we can control our own choices, and how we choose to expend our energy within our own community. If you and your family are looking for ideas to spread positivity into the new year, we’ve created a list of ideas to help you get started. More often than not, it’s the little things—taking the time to reach out, stopping to help a neighbor, and focusing outward, rather than inward—that can not only bring healing to those we love, but to ourselves in the process.
Writing letters is a special way to slow down, escape from the constant input from social media and news media outlets, and focus on connecting with someone who might benefit from this small act of kindness. Writing letters seems to be an increasing lost art, but the intentional act of sitting down to let another person know they’re worth your time can be an awesome tool is spreading positivity. If you have children, sitting down to write letters of encouragement and cheer to family, friends, or neighbors can teach a valuable lesson—that time spent to make others feel seen is valuable, and little notes of positivity can go a long way in brightening a person’s day. Children can use this opportunity to draw pictures, decorate their letters, and get outdoors to deliver their special creations.
Discuss One Positive News Story a Day
Being bombarded with what often feels like one negative news story after the next can be mentally fatiguing, and can rob the wind from even the most optimistic person’s sails. While it’s important to stay updated on current events, it’s equally important to search for the good news happening around us, even if and when mainstream media outlets don’t readily cover these events. Try making a habit out of discussing at least one positive news story with your family a day—talk with your children about the message of hope it brings, and what valuable lesson can be learned. If you’re not sure where to find these stories, try checking out: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
Connect with Your Neighbors
Whether you know your neighbors or not, now is a great time to start creating that connection. Having a feeling of mutual support from the people nearest you can go a long way in spreading positivity and helping people feel that they aren’t in this alone. You might consider dropping a letter off at your neighbors house with your contact information if there’s anything they need from you, such as running to the grocery store, borrowing an ingredient, or storing a package for them if they’re out. If you have children, perhaps bake some sweet treats for the neighbors and make little goody bags for them. What might feel like a small act to you could go a long way in helping a neighbor who may be feeling overwhelmed, scared, or lonely, see that they have people nearby who care about how they’re doing.
Find a Fundraiser to Support, or Start One Yourself!
The holidays and new year are a perfect time to focus on providing financial support to people or organizations who are working hard to offer shelter, guidance or joy to individuals who may be struggling a little extra this time of year. Consider finding a fundraiser that you or your entire family are excited to support. You can either donate as a family, or you can create a fundraiser on social media to help raise donations for the cause.
Continue to Support Local Businesses
Some of the people who are struggling the most this year include small business owners who have had to adjust to ever-changing rules and expectations as they fight to stay afloat amidst what can feel like impossible odds. One of the most impactful ways you can help support your community is to commit to shopping local as much as possible. By doing this, you’re singlehandedly helping to support a family who may be struggling, and likely helping to relieve a fear of making ends meet that many business owners are fighting—that is a message of positivity that will spread directly and personally, and cannot be overlooked.
Perhaps more than ever, people are hungry for a message of hope after a long and arduous year. If you and your family are up to the task, partaking in small acts of kindness and positivity can go a long way in planting those seeds of hope, while helping those around you to feel supported, seen and cared for. That is a valuable gift to receive, and one that will likely give back to you just as much as it gives to those around you.