Volunteering in the community
Supporting our country is vital, but our community needs us too. Our villages, towns and cities are filled with people in need of support and there are so many accessible resources dedicated to them. Foodbanks appreciate volunteers and donations throughout the year, but at Christmas, when people are struggling financially or mentally, the support is particularly important. The foodbanks are also accessed by the homeless, who would not be able to a warm Christmas without these foodbanks.
The mental health charity Mind and similar charities are doing remarkable work to help people during this global crisis. People are losing jobs and homes, struggling to feed their children and spending months away from their family, these people need our help. Donating to these charities or volunteering for them can make all the difference.
Sending letters and gifts
I’m not sure about you, but I get so much joy from receiving a heartfelt letter or an unexpected gift. If your friends are currently at University, purchase some stamps and write them a letter! If writing isn’t your thing, sending a heartfelt gift like flowers is a wonderful gesture. For example, there are many companies you can send flowers. If you are able to visit the person, incorporate some flowers into your weekly shop and drop them to a loved ones’ house on your way home. I did this myself only last week and I know I made my Grandmother’s day. Additionally, research has consistently seen that flowers have instant and long-term effects on a person’s mood, social behaviours and emotional reactions. The happiness another person receives from such a thoughtful and inexpensive gesture reflects on yourself too. You will feel a sense of pride in yourself that you have gone out of your way to make another person smile. Kindness can cost nothing!
Interact with people
On average, British people spend about 3 hours and 23 minutes per day on our phones, with those aged 16-24 spending 4 hours on them. Unfortunately, we all know that most of this time is probably spent scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, but could we be more productive with this time? Scheduling a weekly phone/zoom calls with a loved ones can really help everyone’s mental health. You could watch Netflix shows or movies virtually. Humans are social animals and we rely on these social interactions.
Social media, however, does not really count as social interaction. The majority of what we see on social media seems to be extremely negative, particularly since the pandemic started. Some sites can be a battleground people may not treat others with mutual respect. How can we change this? Instead you could make a vow to only spreading uplifting news about the world and sharing positive stories.
There are infinite opportunities to support our family, friends, neighbours and strangers. Local and national charities, as well as our communities, need us more than ever. Selfless actions also reflect upon our own well-being, so let’s all help someone today!
Contribution by Tara Reynolds, undergraduate student at the University of Liverpool.