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Sharp Health News

10 ways to pay it forward during the pandemic

Sept. 2, 2020

Man delivering groceries to someone's door

There’s never been a better time to pay it forward. With abounding COVID-19 fears and stay-at-home pressures, simple gestures of kindness can go a long, long way.

The best part about paying it forward is the inevitable ripple effect. If you do something nice for someone, it will likely prompt them to do something nice, too. And here’s the bonus byproduct: giving to others is good for your mental and physical health.

Studies have shown that through giving, you can lower your blood pressure, increase your self-esteem, decrease depression and stress, gain greater happiness and even live longer.

Being kind is good for everyone, and it can all start with you. Try these easy ideas to get started on your quest to spread kindness:

1. Text a stressed parent.
Better yet, offer to FaceTime with their rowdy kids. Somewhere between cabin fever and homeschooling, your parent friends could use a break. Even if it’s just five minutes of alone time.

2. Send letters to a nursing home.
For those in assisted living facilities, isolation can feel overwhelming. Contact homes in your area to find out how you can be a positive pen pal for a senior in need.

3. Write a positive review of a local business.
Local businesses are working harder than ever to stay afloat. Aside from shopping locally, give them positive write-ups to encourage others to shop there too.

4. Pay for someone in a drive-thru.
Paying for a friend is kind. Paying for someone you don’t know takes kindness to a new level. Plus, it’s an easy, inspiring action for the recipient to repeat.

5. Thank a teacher, caregiver or other essential worker.
Know any teachers, nurses or grocery store workers? Send them an email, card or even a simple text to enliven their spirit and offer words of encouragement.

6. Deliver your garden goods.
Whether you grow tomatoes or flowers, gifting neighbors with your garden fare can offer them healthy snacks or simply something pretty to look at.

7. Clean your closet and donate.
Clearing your closet of old clothes can be cathartic, especially when you’re stuck at home. Bag up your castoffs and drop them in a donation bin for someone who truly needs them.

8. Organize a drive-by celebration.
Drive-by birthday parties may be all the rage, but who says you need a reason to celebrate? Organize a “honk-by” for someone feeling isolated, or simply stop by to wave at a friend you miss.

9. Offer your services to neighbors.
From yardwork to dog walking and grocery shopping, there are many ways to offer a helping hand. And with ample time, there’s no better way to use it.

10. Share good news on your social media channel.
The negative news loop is terrible for morale. Be the change by posting positive messages, from quotes of encouragement to dopey cat videos — both are sure to be shared and enjoyed.

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