BEING OF SERVICE - to yourself, to others, and to the planet
What are you passionate about that you want to share with others? What are some skills you have or knowledge you possess that could be useful to others? Whether it’s knowing how to sew, bake, change a tire, or crunch numbers, we all have many talents and gifts that are just waiting to be shared with the world. Make yourself a resource to those who need support and you’ll continually find that others are willing to do the same for you. Maybe gather a group of friends for an evening to discuss an issue that you are knowledgeable about and would like to share. It could be a skill or a topic that could lead to watching a documentary, reading a book, or perusing news articles.
Exercise releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body and help to lift your mood. And we all know that when we FEEL better we DO better! If the thought of setting foot in a gym bores you, find something that you will enjoy enough to do frequently. Whether it’s swimming, yoga, running, etc. get yourself into the habit of working up a sweat daily. For those days when you just aren’t in the mood, a quick walk down the road or in the park will do wonders for your mind as well as your body.
Be a conscious consumer. Know what the products you’re buying are contributing to. And don’t litter! Never throw your garbage on the ground or in the water. The convenience isn’t worth the consequences. Try looking for products with less or no packaging on your daily shopping round, buy a re-usable water bottle, and of course recycle – it makes a huge difference for our planet. Maybe organize a beach, park, or neighborhood cleanup. If it isn’t recycled it can take a million years to decompose!
Rethink your diet! Animal products use up much more resources than plant based foods. It takes about 1950 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, whereas it requires only 39 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of veggies. Adjusting your intake of animal products can end up saving the earth tons of water in the long run! Check out the film Food Matters or Cowspiracy. Also, learn how to use your fridge! We often end up unnecessarily throwing away food and wasting leftovers because of improper storage. Check out this info-graphic to get some quick tips on where to store your food and at the same time save up money.
Volunteer at a local food bank or soup kitchen. Also take action and investigate: What are your favorite local restaurants and grocery stores doing with their excess food? See if you can foster partnerships between local food pantries or community gardens that could benefit from using the leftover food to create meals or add to their compost. Support local farmers by visiting your farmers’ market: Not only are you getting the opportunity to sample some of the freshest and most nutritious food, you are also supporting and investing in the local economy and in family-owned businesses that work hard to provide nourishment for their neighbors.
Volunteer at a community garden or help out a neighbor in their backyard garden: spending time in nature is known to be calming and relaxing. So whenever you have the chance, plant a seedling, dig up some weeds, and get some dirt underneath your fingernails! Take some time to volunteer with a local forestry, wildlife, or environmental conservation group in your area. Attend a workshop, build community, and spend time outdoors removing invasive species or planting trees.
Many people are passionate about helping animals because of the animals’ inability to voice their own needs or suffering. If you are an animal lover, read about their situation in the world today and find ways to give them a voice. Weather that is volunteering at a local animal shelter or wildlife habitat, signing petitions against overfishing our seas for the fish industry, or depleting the existence of many types of animals because of pollution. It might not be obvious at first, but there are so many things you can do in your everyday life to make more conscious and less harmful choices for animals. Educate yourself about these issues and spread awareness!
Spend time with the little ones in your life: All it takes is one role model in a young child’s life for them to have the support and courage to follow their passions and work toward achieving their dreams. If you don't have children close to you, you can gather a group of friends and volunteer at a local organization that works with and supports marginalized / low-income youth. With smiles, openness, and playful hearts, kids constantly teach us how to live with compassion, gratitude, and presence.
Never feel guilty about making time for yourself, ever. You are the most important person in your life; even if a lot of people who depend on you, you can’t be there for them if you are feeling stressed out and rundown. By putting yourself first, you will be in a better position to help others. Incorporate some "me time" into your daily schedule. This can be anything you want that makes you feel happy, whether it’s going for a run, reading, meditating or watching your favorite film.