What Does Kindness Mean to You? How to Make Your Impact This World Kindness Day!
Image Credit: Hannah Murzyn
Today, the 13th of November, marks the 22nd iteration of World Kindness Day. If you weren’t already aware of its existence, now seems like the perfect time to check-in, asking how we can both be more kind to ourselves and those around us.
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year. Coming off the back of a devastating summer of bushfires here in Australia, the world has been thrown into turmoil with the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic. With over 43 million covid cases recorded worldwide, the virus has had a devastating toll on human life, with more than 1.15 million deaths recorded at the time of writing. Not only has this loss of life had an incredibly sombre impact on the world we now live in, but the social and economic effects of necessary lockdown restrictions have taken a heavy toll on almost everyone. With some parts of Australia living through the toughest lockdown restrictions in the world, now is the time to check-in, both on ourselves and our neighbours, to see how we can be more kind to each other.
Why Do Good?
Aside from the fact that being kind feels good, there are proven health benefits to being nice. Yes, being kind is good for you! Not only have researchers found that volunteering may help you reduce stress, but that parts of the brain linked to dopamine and serotonin production (yes, the happy hormones) are activated when people take part in altruistic behaviour (for example, donating to a worthy cause).
How to Do Good?
In a society that values a 24/7 hustle culture, where deadlines are piled upon deadlines, and everything was due yesterday, it is hard to carve out the time in the day for self-care, let alone creating time to do good for the greater community. However, we known you’ve landed upon this article for a reason, so we’ve compiled a list of easy and time effective ideas below to help you do good this #worldkindnessday.
Small businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. With lockdown restrictions changing rapidly (and multiple times) in some states, owners have had to think on their feet. Although ingenuity has been rife, with business models changing with only a day’s notice, these rapid shifts have had an immense impact on profitability. With an estimated 300,000 jobs lost across Australia in the hospitality industry alone due to the pandemic, making small changes to where we shop now can have a real impact on the lives of those in the industry. Whether this is through buying our weekly groceries from the local, independent supermarket instead of a larger chain or seeking out smaller retailers for Christmas gifts, our impact as consumers can make a real difference. For ideas on how to make your purchases count this Christmas, check out the Australian Made website for locally-sourced gifts and produce ideas.
It may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not keen on needles, but believe me, donating blood can be an incredibly relaxing and rewarding experience. You’ll have to meet some minimum criteria first (which you’ll be walked through by friendly nurses on the day), but once this is done, the whole process only takes up about an hour of your time. Because each blood donation can help save up to three lives, you’ll know you’re making a measurable difference, helping to contribute to 4400 daily donations needed nationally. To book an appointment, visit the Red Cross Lifeblood website or call 13 14 45. Oh, and did I mention the free snacks!
Become an Organ Donor
Did you know that only 1 in 3 Australians are registered to be organ donors, with many opting out due to a lack of knowledge on how to register? Although potentially tricky topics to think about, organ and tissue donation are both essential medical processes that can help save and transform thousands of lives each year. With over 1400 Australians sitting on the essential donation waiting list, registering and encouraging others to register can be a small step in transforming someone’s life. For more information on what’s required and how to register, visit the Health Direct website
Foster an Animal!
It’s no secret that owning a pet can be a rewarding experience. You only have to take one look on Instagram to see just how much joy animals can bring! However, as we’re reminded by the age-old adage ‘puppies aren’t just for Christmas’, for many of us, committing to a pet for the long term may not be within our means. Although dreams of owning your own corgi puppy may have to be put on hold for now, registering to be a rescue animal foster carer can help bridge the gap between the long term commitment of pet ownership and having a furry friend around, all whilst helping animals in need. You’ll need to register with an organization such as RSPCA NSW or DCH Australia to check your eligibility, but once you’ve been accepted, your contribution to temporarily housing an animal can ease a significant burden on shelters around the country.
Give Back to a Worthy Cause
Donating to a cause that is of value to you can often be an easy way to give back when we are time-poor. Finding a cause that aligns with your values is the first place to start; however, this shouldn’t be too difficult, as many worthy causes such as Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children Australia allow for monthly auto payments and one time donations to be established online.
This #worldkindness day, we want to ask you, ‘how you can make small steps to shape the lives of those for the better’. Not only could it make a huge difference in a fellow Australian’s life, but it can help change yours too!
About the Author: Olivia Turnbull is a writer for Benevolence Financial Group, a leading social enterprise mortgage brokerage firm specializing in home loans with a purpose. BFG is unique in the fact that 50% of their profits are invested back into partner charity initiatives, such as Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children.