If you've read my story, you know that on my 28th birthday my family, friends, and I went out and did 28 random acts of kindness. In fact, this entire site is here because of that experience and the great feeling that it gave me to give back to others while I was struggling. It's easy when we are struggling through rough times or with our mental health to turn inward. However, that's the exact opposite of what we need to do. And trust me … I’ve done my fair share of retreating and closing off. In fact, I was having dinner with one of my closest friends the other day, and she said it makes things worse when I do that because people don’t know if I’m ok or not. That is something to work towards is being more open and letting people know “Hey … I want to go into retreat mode..” Anyway! Back to the point of this blog …
Taking our focus off ourselves and putting it on others can help pull us out of places we don't want to be. So, to celebrate 2019 (even though we're almost at the half way mark), here are 19 ways you can pay it forward for the remainder of 2019:
Pick one or try them all, you have 7 months!
- Pay for the car behind you. This is a great way to bless someone's day unexpectedly. When you're paying at a drive-thru window tell them you want to pay for the car behind you too.
- Leave notes on random cars. Write out a few generic messages on sticky notes like "You are a blessing more than you know." or "The world wouldn't be the same without you here." and then leave them on the windshields of cars as you walk through a parking lot. If you know of a friend that's going through a hard time you could put notes all over their car while they're at work, school, or in the movies.
- Pay for someone else's gas. When you see someone step out their car to pay for their gas let them know that you'd like to pay. Swipe your card and you could even pump it for them just to be nice. If it makes you more comfortable, buy a gas card and hand it out.
- Do a rake and run. Get a group of friends together with some rakes and lawn bags and head out in your neighbourhood. Rake up the leaves and branches in the yard, bag them up, and take off. If you want to up the game, you could leave a pretty plant on the doorstep too.
- Cut coupons and then instead of using them walk around the store and leave the coupons on top of the matching product. Someone that buys that product will get to save a little money.
- Buy small containers of bubbles and leave them at the park. You could also do this with sidewalk chalk. Leave a note next to them that says something like, "have fun and pay it forward". This is something I love to do! Adults love bubbles too ;)
- Rock babies at the hospital. Many hospitals need volunteers that will rock babies that have been born addicted to drugs from being exposed in utero. It helps to calm the babies and nurses are overworked and can't devote the time to it they would like to. In Canada, many hospitals are part of the Huggies No Baby Unhugged. Click here to learn more.
- Leave colouring books and crayons in waiting rooms. Kids get bored in waiting rooms and this gives them something fun to do while they wait.
- Give someone an amazing review. If you had a great experience at a business or felt that an employee went out of their way for you, take time to write a review. You can also email their manager. This is super important, especially in the days of yelp and google reviews! This can really help a local business.
- Thank the people that have thankless jobs. Simply say something like, "Thank you. I really appreciate the work you're doing." to someone that works a thankless job. Some examples are janitors, waste collectors, and busboys. They rarely hear a "thank you" but they are the first to hear a complaint when something isn't just right.
- Leave flowers on a grave. You have no idea how much this means to someone that has lost a loved one. When my mom, sister and I did this – it was fun reading the messages on graves. We liked to find ones that resonated with us, and some that were really really old … they probably don’t get flowers much!
- Let someone go in front of you in line. Everyone is SO busy these days and always in a rush. It means a lot to people when you have a cart full of groceries and you let them go in front of you.
- Donate blood. It's always needed and always appreciated.
- Sign up for Be the Match or if you’re in Canada sign up here. There are plenty of people out there that need bone marrow transplants and you could be their match. You could be able to save their life!
- Make cookies for the neighbours. This is a great way to get to know your neighbours too since many people don't anymore.
- Offer to babysit for free so a couple can go on a date night. Many couples don't get the time alone that a relationship needs to flourish once they have kiddos. Offer to babysit for free for a few hours so they can get some time away.
- Become a mentor. Look for a local organization that allows you to become a mentor for youth. Even if you aren't an adult yet you can mentor younger children.
- Mail out some encouraging cards. Who doesn't love to get mail that isn't either junk or a bill? Buy some nice cards or funny cards and send them out anonymously to people you know would enjoy them.
- Smile. This is free, simple, and anyone can do it. Make eye contact and smile at the people that you pass on the street, in the store, at work. It may feel awkward at first, but you'll be surprised at how many people comment on how nice it is to see someone smiling.
I'd love to celebrate with you, so share a picture on Instagram showing how you're paying it forward and tag us @payitforwardgear !