I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t self-care Sunday about caring for…yourself? And it’s true: that is the idea. And I do strongly support the truth that especially if you are in a career where you help others who are in distress (like a doctor, a therapist, an aid worker, etc.), you need to talk time for focusing on just yourself. But at the same time, I know that giving back can be a powerful way of giving to yourself. Giving back can give you a warm glow inside. It can give you a sense of purpose. It can be a great way to meet other like-minded people. And like most things we discuss in the self-care posts, it can be tailored to any interest and any schedule. Are you stuck at home with a terrible cold (like me), but still want to help someone out? I have ideas for that. Are you looking to find an activity to get you out of your dorm every week? We have that, too. Using the wonderful search tool of the internet, I’m confident we can find a way to give back that matches you well.
Helping out from the comfort of your bed. Sound too good to be true? It can be done. Here are just a few ways:
1. FreeRice.Com. This is a fantastic website where you can sharpen your mind while donating food to the hungry. Go to freerice.com/category to customize what type of questions you want to answer, from multiplication tables to geography to quotations from literature. Then just play the simple quiz game and watch as more grains of rice are added to your bowl for every correct answer. It really works, too — rice is distributed to the hungry via the World Food Programme, the world’s largest anti-hunger organization.
2. Click To Give sites. These websites pay a teeny amount for every daily click. It may not seem like much, but the clicks from different people each day really add up. You can “click” for a variety of different causes such as literacy, hunger, and rescuing animals. You can even enter your email address and receive a daily reminder to visit and click.
3. GoodSearch.Com is a search engine that donates 1 cent for every web search you do to a cause of your choice. Easy, simple, and just requires switching out your Google homepage for this website.
Here are some more ideas — the kind for which you might have to put on pants and even leave your room. 🙂
4. Donate old clothes. Do any of you have too many clothes in your closet? (I do! *raises hand*) Go through them and set aside a box of still-wearable stuff that just isn’t “you” anymore — whether it doesn’t fit you, isn’t your style, or you’re just tired of it. A good pro-tip for cleaning out closets is to look at the item and think, if I saw this on a rack today, would I buy it? If the answer is no, set it in the donate pile. Once you’ve set out clothes, pick somewhere to donate them! If you have professional women’s clothing, head to My Sister’s Closet. This is a fantastic local organization that helps women get interview-ready so they can get jobs & get back on their feet.
5. Look through your pantry or go grocery shopping. Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard or Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) are both good places to donate food or toiletries. MCUM even provides a shopping list to take with you to the store if you have an extra $10 to spare.
If you’re feeling ready for a time commitment, there are many volunteer opportunities in Bloomington to help get you involved and connected to our community. The City website has a search engine that can help you find the perfect volunteer job for your needs and interests. Other great ways to find volunteer jobs? Well, any of the above organizations listed need more than just donations — they need volunteers, too. And often faith communities have connections to volunteer jobs, or their own programs, so check out options at your synagogue, church, or mosque.
If you’re feeling like a big change — a journey — IU can help you there, too. This website has tons of ways to find service projects abroad — amazing opportunities to travel, see the world, meet new people, & make a change for the better.
Remember that all levels of helping out are a good and helpful thing. If you are struggling to keep up with your schedule and can’t add 2 hours a week at the food bank, that’s okay. And if you want to spend your summer traveling to another country and helping orphans, that’s fantastic. Don’t feel that you need to push yourself past the breaking point just to be a good person. You’re a good person just as you are, and we all move through different seasons of life. Maybe now is a time for you to focus on school, or on recovering from a harm that was done to you, or on your job or relationships or family. Those are all ways to better the world. Make sure to take care of yourself first — that’s the most important thing.
Happy Sunday, readers!