Having something to consistently look forward to is a significant way to keep each of us happy and more emotionally content in our day-to-day lives. In fact, this idea can benefit not only us individually, but those around us in most cases- if we pick the right pursuits. Here are a few ideas for regular activities to help all of us feel happier as we live together in our beloved neighborhoods and town:
- Go for a neighborhood tour- Take a friend or family member and go out after dinner. Walk for an hour or so in a chosen neighborhood. Try to learn who use to live in the various homes, and who lives there now. It could be something to look forward to on a nightly basis, and could foster closeness with you and the ones who tag along.
- Visit someone in the hospital- Do this routinely to lift the spirits of local patients. It’s also a good way to get to know what a person’s story is.
- Do something nice for five people- Pick out five people for the year- maybe they’re alone or elderly or related to you. Stop by every month with a goody bag or a crossword book and say hello.
- Exercise- Go out to Sam Atkin’s Park or the Bike Trail three times a week and play a little basketball with some friends, or do some fast walking/running . You might include some pull-ups, stretches, or other types of calisthenics along the way.
- Mentor someone- Spend some time each week with a young person in our community, maybe helping them with homework or listening to their problems.
- Plant a garden- Tending to a manageable sized vegetable or flower garden is a good way to relieve life’s pressures. It makes you slow things down and relax, and gain something delicious to eat or beautiful to look at, as a result. You can even share your spoils with the neighbors and get to know them better.
- Put up a bird feeder- Hanging a bird feeder in a tree near your house, and filling it with good quality seed, is a good way to see nature’s beauty at a short distance. Add a shallow water dish close by, as well. A person can gain a lot of knowledge by learning more about the various feathered visitors. (Aquariums are nice too, but might prove to be more costly and maintenance intensive.)
- Have someone over for dinner- Sharing a meal with someone that you know well, or would like to get to know better, is something to look forward to- for you and your whole family- and your guests.
- Volunteer- Find a local organization that you think is important and help them out- put your skills and ideas to use.
- Be there for a person in your community- Cut the grass of the elderly man or woman next door, or take them to the grocery store, or make them a cake.
- Get involved with a church- Learning about faith, having regular services to go to, and contributing in some way to a church’s projects or ministries is very rewarding, It can make you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself.
- Get organized- If we would each spend just 30 minutes every day at getting our paperwork, messes, and other stuff in order, we could easily get things under control within just a week or two; rather than waiting for what often ends up being years to do what ultimately might take just a few hours in total. Look at each 30 minute session like that’s all you have to do, and ignore thinking about the larger job. In just two weeks, you will have put in seven hours on whatever you’re behind on- most projects can easily be completed in seven hours or less. (This is the hardest one for me; and it’s not so much something to look forward to as it is getting things under control.)
Good ideas? Try a few and see for yourself if things become better for you and those around you. Indeed, such a plan could go a long way toward making life in our little home town better for everyone.