For many of us, the end of the year is awash with celebrations – there are family get-togethers, work do’s, sharing of gifts and the sharing of meals. And while we may have bounced back into our pre-pandemic groove, plenty of people haven’t found it so easy. As the year draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect, feel gratitude, and spread some kindness amongst your community. To help you on your quest, we’ve prepared a guide to doing good. Here’s some tips for how you can share some care this November and beyond:
- Volunteer your time
Volunteers play an essential role in the operation of many charities, and often charities like soup kitchens and food banks experience increased pressure and demand over the festive season. Volunteering your time (as little or as much as you have available) is guaranteed to fill you with warm fuzzies as you directly help those in need. From Red Cross Australia or New Zealand to Foodbank Australia, your local City Mission in New Zealand or even via the Seek volunteer platform in Australia or New Zealand, there are plenty of opportunities to roll up your sleeves and help where it counts.
- Recycle your household items
From piles of clothes that no longer fit to retired kitchen appliances and double-up utensils, most of us have unwanted, unused (or used) items around the home (particularly after a thorough spring clean) that are bound to be more appreciated in the hands of someone else. The first option is to donate your goods to a local charity shop (such as The Salvation Army, Red Cross or St Vincent de Paul). Make sure you check their websites or give them a call beforehand to find out any requirements they have in place for donated items. Alternatively, you can hit the local markets and turn your wares into cash to fund your festive season donations. And if early mornings at the market aren’t your thing, check out these online reselling alternatives: General items – Gumtree Australia, TradeMe New Zealand Clothing – The Closet Australia, Designer Wardrobe New Zealand
- Donate blood (or plasma)
Did you know that just 1 blood donation can save up to 3 lives? If you’re not squeamish at the sight of a needle, donating blood is a relatively quick and easy process that can literally help save the lives of others. The need for blood and plasma is constant, and while scientists are working hard to find a viable synthetic substitute, there are currently no alternatives to the real thing.
- Raise funds or awareness for a chosen cause
Aside from donated time, charities rely heavily on donated funds to keep doing what they do best. Everyone has a cause that resonates with them, or they feel passionate about – whether it’s supporting animals, kids, the elderly or simply those in need of a helping hand – seek out what feels right to you and help them with fundraisers or start your own.
Here at First National Real Estate, we’re passionate about mental health and children, and right across the country, we show our support by partnering with Kids Helpline as one of their major sponsors. “First National Real Estate is proud to help children and young people access the confidential guidance they need to cope with problems like cyber-bullying, depression, homelessness, mental health or suicidal thoughts,” says First National Foundation chairman David Lovell.
- Add a few items to your weekly grocery shop
If adding a couple of extra cans of fruit, a packet of pasta, and a jar of jam won’t break the bank, consider making a habit of it, collating these items and donating them to your local Foodbank. Better yet, encourage your colleagues to do the same and start a collection pile in the office to donate en masse.
- Show gratitude closer to home
On a smaller scale, showing gratitude to those close to you is simple and invaluable. Whether it’s writing a thank you note to your parents, friends, mentors or extended family or through one of these other ideas, expressing gratitude is guaranteed to make them feel special and is scientifically proven to flood you with positive vibes.
- Set yourself a kindness challenge
Finally, why not set yourself a challenge for the month to perform one act of kindness every day? It could be something as simple as holding the door open for a stranger, connecting with an old friend to let them know you’re thinking about them, getting the kids involved with Christmas gifts for kids that might not otherwise receive them, or cooking an extra portion of dinner to deliver to an elderly family member. Any act of kindness you perform could add a touch of much-needed sunshine to someone’s day.
Do good, feel good
Caring about others is what makes us human – and while the emotion of compassion is deeply rooted in human nature, often more pressing emotions and tasks shoot to the top of the priority list. But once you consciously work on spreading kindness and helping others, you’ll begin to feel the ripple effect of your efforts – doing good really does make you feel good.