Give These 5 Easy Gifts and You’ll Feel Gifted
Weather, politics, personal (and U.S.) finances, relationships, our animals, our jobs, the aging of our parents (and our kids), whether we’re going to earn enough to keep our houses and vehicles and buy food–these are some of the extreme tensions plaguing us.
Is it just me, or is it hard to stay serene and mindful while your feet are planted right in the middle of a whole bunch of crappy tension? The crappiness might not even involve you directly, but isn’t it incredibly difficult to keep it from sticking as it flys by?
What do you do?
How do you manage to stay centered, focused and sane under those conditions?
I had an idea the other day. What if we, as a form of coping with the abundance of tension out there, were to: a) stop bitching about all the things that are tense in the world, and b) learn to get out of ourselves.
I know. You want to throw something at me. Sometimes I make my own eyes roll when I say stuff like that. But hear me out because I think this strategy could really work.
Take a look at these five suggestions (by now, you know the deal: implement one a day if you like, or tackle them all each day this week) and by the end of the day this Friday, September 23, I defy you to tell me you don’t feel at least a bit better about living in this tense world.
Suggestion #1: Call Your Friends
Yes, I know, in this day of texting, picking up the phone seems old-fashioned. Pick a day–or try it each day this week–and phone several friends with whom you haven’t spoken in awhile. Using the land line is best and if you have a corded phone, you get extra points.
Try really hard to not talk about yourself. Ask questions about what’s been going on with them and then really listen. Ask follow-up questions. Inquire about family members, about their work. If they want to carry on and get tense, listen without corroborating or chiming in about your own similar circumstances.
Be an attentive friend.
Suggestion #2: Mail Cards
Again, the point here is to skirt electronics and connect in an old-fashioned way.
My sweetie sends five to 10 cards each week (some people in her life get weekly cards). She does the usual thank-you and feel-better cards, but mostly she sends notes for no reason. She’ll find a pre-printed pad of Post-its and put them in an envelope. Or maybe its a tiny tub of lip gloss or a sheet of stickers.
Be a spontaneous communicator.
Suggestion #3: Send Gift Cards Anonymously
This one is so much fun!! Go to any major grocery store or pharmacy and you can find rack after rack of cards for any retailer and many services in denominations as low as $5. These are great pick-ups for your peeps who are down on their luck a bit (think gas cards or restaurants or groceries) or because you just want to do something a little special for someone when they’re not expecting it.
Stick the gift card in an envelope, put the person’s address in both the TO and FROM lines and then drive across town to mail it so it doesn’t come from your postmark. This is anonymous, people! Extra points for mailing from another state.
Be an anonymous giver.
Suggestion #4: Do Something Nice (or several things) For People You Don’t Know
Several years ago, I rose early and walked a big loop around my neighborhood of single dwelling homes. One day I got the idea to pick up the morning paper from my neighbors’ drives or curbs or wherever it was tossed, and place it by their front door or right next to the garage.
I never once got caught and the thrill-seeker in me had a heck of a good time.
You could do something similar by holding the door for shoppers at a department store for 30 minutes. Or hanging out in the buggy area of your grocers and having the carts unstuck and ready for the next shopper. Or picking up trash around your apartment complex.
Be a considerate neighbor.
Suggestion #5: Let People Be
Sometimes one of the best gifts we can give to the people we care most about is the gift of time alone. Practice dropping your expectations that your evenings and Saturday afternoons will always include your significant other. Let them breathe!
My sweetie was having a tough time yesterday and said she was going to go run some errands, stuff we usually do together. Suddenly, I had the bright idea that she might enjoy the time alone even though I kind of wanted to do a couple of the stops she was making. So we hopped in separate cars and did our own thing for a couple of hours.
Be a thoughtful, non-expectant sweetie.
All these suggestions have one thing in common: You/We are paying attention to someone besides ourselves. In the space of time when we are planning our fun, we’re not watching the news. We’re not tuned into the stock market. We are not worried and we are not tense.
So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? Let these suggestions be guides because I would love to hear how they sparked your ideas for creating easy and effortless gifts that ultimately gift yourself.
B Well & Present,