The world is literally on fire. It's devastating, frustrating, and overwhelming. We feel powerless to raging storms and all-consuming wildfires. We watch wars from across the globe and have little to no idea how to help. We watch our administration roll back progress at an alarming rate and feel defeated, despite protests and phone calls to our representatives.
I want to help, but I don't have the disposable income to fly to the places that need volunteers most, or even to donate to the organizations doing life-saving work. So I decided to make a list of little, accessible acts I can do to help the world.
As I reflected on my list, I realized something important: I am still in the process. I'm only in the second year of my freelance career. I'm making big strides, but starting any new business takes time. Eventually, I want to work with people doing big, impactful things, but I'm not there yet. So at the moment, the acts I can do to help the world are acts I can do to take care of myself.
If I start taking care of myself now, I'll be in a stable place in the future to help others and make a bigger impact than I could make at this moment.
So here's my list of little acts to help myself and help the world.
1) Kindness is contagious: Let someone in on the road, hold a door open, give a homeless person a smile if you can't give them a dollar.
2) Think twice before purchasing: Spending less on stuff now means being able to invest in your future, meaning you'll be able to help more people in the long run.
3) When you do spend, support the good ones: Try to support companies whose values align with your own and who are seeking to do good in the world.
4) Do what you can to stay healthy: Drink water. Take care of your mental health. Exercise. Eat mostly plants. Taking care of yourself now means you'll need fewer resources to keep you healthy in the future. This takes the burden off of loved ones and ultimately makes things easier on our planet.
5) Move your body: Moving connects us more deeply to ourselves. It reminds us we are incredible beings and allows us to feel our emotions more deeply. Experiencing our own feelings allows us to feel more empathy for others.
6) Spend time outside: It will remind you that our world is beautiful and precious.
7) Learn: Read, travel, talk to people unlike yourself. It's important we remember that we'll never know it all.
8) Spend time with animals: They will remind you of unconditional love and the importance of play.
9) Love: Take care of your people.
10) Immerse yourself in art: It's more important now than ever.
It's modest and simple, maybe even cheesy. But I have to believe that if we take the little steps now, eventually we'll be ready to take the big ones.