In this day and age, people are so busy with their own hectic lives that they rarely find time to help others any more. We all need a helping hand though, whether we realize it or not. A helping hand doesn’t really need to be a hand at all! It can be a helpful piece of advice, a helpful pointer, a helpful action or even a helpful thought.
We all need to get back in touch with ourselves and our basic needs as humans. We all live in communities, regardless what name you give them; family, company or neighborhood. Which means that we are surrounded by others who we deal with on a daily basis. Simple things like smiling, being kind and being helpful could make a whole lot of a difference in anyone’s day. And if that person gets inspired and does the same for others, they will perpetuate that contagious behavior and soon your entire community will be one big machine where all the parts work in perfect harmony, rely on each other and help each other out. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
It’s not just about your immediate community, you can lend a helping hand to the workers in that recycling plant that your recyclables go to! You can also lend a helping hand to the bus driver you ride with to work, to the lady at the cashier at the supermarket, to the librarian in your local library and even to that squirrel running around in your yard! Weird, right? Do you feel like that’s stretching out too far? You’d be surprised to see how much of this you already do.
Here are 30 of the simplest ways to lend a helping hand, starting with your immediate family and stretching all the way to the ozone layer 🙂
1- When a family member is taking on a lot at once, offer to help with their tasks/chores even if you have just finished yours.
2- Pick up after yourself, it’s good manners.
3- Listen! Sometimes the person you’re having a conversation with really only needs you to listen. When you listen to them attentively you help them by making them feel heard and by showing empathy. Be careful though, sometimes it’s not the best idea to start giving advice, so think before you decide to speak.
4- Teach children to be independent and to do tiny things to help, like making their own beds or cleaning up their toys when they are done playing.
5- Play with your children and tell them you love them every chance you get. You have no idea how much you’ll be helping them develop and grow if you do those two things constantly. You are helping them become the best version of all their possible future selves!
6- Make an effort, as a family, to donate to local charities from time to time. Involve your children as well, nurturing their charitable side will teach them a lot and boost their self-confidence as well as keep them humble and teach them about the stuff that really matters.
7- Wash your recyclables (plastic, aluminum or glass) before you toss them in the bins (thank you mom for teaching me that). Yes, it’s not required and they will be washed anyway at the plant, but why not make the plant workers’ lives easier by helping them out?
8- Don’t just give the bus driver or the mailman a gift card at Christmas, have your children make a card for them or go ahead and write them a sincere thank you note for what they do every single day.
9- Say please, thank you and excuse me! Those words are rarely being used these days so say them and brighten up someone’s day.
10- Look at that homeless man when you lend him a helping hand. The worst thing you can do is act like he’s invisible, it really hurts their feelings. Let him know you see him, let him know he matters … that helps him face his daily battles.
11- If you see a coworker stuck, offer to help. Don’t act bossy or condescending, just ask politely if they need your input and if they reject it walk away and don’t persist.
12- If you have an elderly neighbor, offer to help him/her get prepared before a storm hits. Don’t just wait till it’s over to do the easy task of asking about them.
13- Bag your own groceries whenever you can. Sometimes there is no one to bag the groceries for you and the cashier ends up doing it while keeping the next customer waiting. When s/he does that for one customer after the other, s/he will burn out in no time! Be considerate and bag your own groceries if there’s no one other than the cashier to do it for you.
14- Put back that book, magazine or DVD in the right place in the library. You’re not the only one placing them on the nearest shelf, imagine how many times the library staff have to go over everything to keep things orderly?
15- Give your friends sound advice and guard their secrets as if they were your own. Don’t deliberately toss the wrong piece of advice their way out of jealousy nor oust them to be able to laugh about the repercussions later on. You embodying good will set an example and have your friends believing in it … just think how many people you can help this way.
16- Help the cleaning lady at public restrooms by not tossing your toilet paper on the floor and try to wipe any excess water off of the sink.
17- If you have a skill that can be useful to others, offer your help and don’t wait to be asked. Are you good with budgeting? Do you know about investing? Have a green thumb? Offer your services or offer to speak at your local community college, library, place of worship or even online.
18- If you are spiritual, volunteer at your local place of worship or start an online group where you can have fruitful discussions or recite verses of your Holy book.
19- Recycle, even if once in a while. Recycling may seem like a daunting task at the beginning but once you get the hang of it you will find yourself doing it almost mechanically. When you recycle you are participating in creating a better tomorrow for your children and grandchildren. Not only that, if enough of us participate, we could start to repair the damage we and our ancestors have done to our beloved planet.
20- Be kind to animals. You may not be a cat person or a dog person but I am sure you are a big-hearted person. You don’t have to adopt an animal if you can’t or don’t want to. However, you can sign petitions that are trying to ensure their basic rights, you can buy food (or even coupon and get it cheaper or free) and drop it off at animal shelters, you can go visit the animals and play with them whenever you can, you can stop your car and let those ducks pass to the other side of the road or you can participate in campaigns that speak on behalf of animals.
21- This will sound cliche but you know I’m right! Help an old man cross the road, help that overwhelmed mother with her groceries, help that teenager see danger when he’s on his skateboard and is oblivious to the fact that the lights just turned green and hold the door for the next person.
22- Show appreciation to those you deal with every day. Tell that office boy how much you love his coffee, buy a bagel for the security guard at your company every once in a while to thank him for a job well done, smile at your neighbor when you see him in the morning even if you’re running late and see him every day anyway and wave a friendly hello to that florist you pass by on your way to school or work.
23- Be kind to waiters and other people in the service industry. Yes, they do wait on you and their job is to serve you but they are not your servants so don’t treat them with disrespect (not that you should treat a servant that way either). If there’s anything you don’t like, express your concern calmly and remember that you may be shooting the messenger here.
24- Plant a tree or flower bed. Adopt a highway or even your own street and pick up the litter. Go clean up the beach and make sure the creatures there are safe. Help your environment and God’s creations, that’s part of your social responsibility.
25- Use reusable shopping bags, please. Even if you use only one and the rest are plastic, it’s still better than nothing. There are so many designs and looks out there, so you can still look stylish while saving the planet 😉
26- Encourage small and local businesses rather than big chains. When you help a local business, you are essentially benefiting your entire community. Not to mention, you will be aiding with putting food on the table for a family that may well be depending on people like you.
27- Do volunteer work. You don’t have to focus on one thing and you don’t have to be consistent … but you do have to be involved.
28- Islam has a very sound piece of advice that I believe is valuable no matter what your religious background is; if you see anything negative try to change it by taking action, if you can’t then change it with your tongue (i.e. by speaking up), if you can’t then change it with your heart (i.e. believing that it’s wrong and wishing you could do something about it). If we all did that, we’d be helping change the world, forever!
29- Keep people in your prayers. My religion says that one of the best gifts you can offer your brother is wishing him well behind his back! I am sure all religions would encourage you to do the same. You never know how much you help a person by just praying for them. You could be the reason why God spares them pain, cures them from an illness, lifts off their burdens or wipes away their sadness.
30- Don’t forget yourself. Set aside some time every day to help yourself alleviate stress and recharge. Read a few pages of your favorite book, watch your favorite show or just sit there silently. Whatever works for you. Help yourself so that you can, ultimately, help others 🙂