Help Someone Else
You might be thinking, “I came to this site because I am stressed and need help for myself, and the Counseling Center is telling me to help someone else?” I know it might seem a bit counter-intuitive at first, but give it a try. Research has found that helping others is an excellent way for people to de-stress, take their minds of their own problems, and feel as if they are contributing to some good in the world. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to donate all that recyclable money you’ve been saving to children with cancer (although you could). Start with something simple. Here are some ideas; pick the one that seems right for you.
Start simple. Try this list:
- Doing a load of laundry? Ask a friend if he/she has anything they need washed too.
- Invite someone lonely to lunch.
- Write a note to someone who has had a bad day.
- Offer to help a friend with homework (make sure you understand the homework first).
- Smile at someone and pay them a compliment.
Those too easy for you? Try one of these:
- Shovel a driveway or sidewalk for free.
- Pick up litter (and feel slightly superior to those who threw it down).
- Offer to baby-sit for someone who hasn’t been out in a while.
- Make a home-cooked meal for your friends.
- Leave a big tip.
- Ring the bell at the mall for the Salvation Army (sing carols if you can).
- Clean out your closet and donate the clothes you don’t wear anymore to the Black Bear Exchange on campus (or trade them there for some stylin’ new duds)
Up for a real challenge?
- Contact the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism on campus. They coordinate volunteer opportunities from simple to complex. You’ll also meet a lot of new people there who share your interest in helping others. http://www.umaine.edu/volunteer/index2.asp
- Join with Habitat for Humanity and build a house (don’t worry, they tell you where to nail and what to paint)
- Join Alternative Spring Break and spend your holiday helping those in needs. The Bodwell Center (above) coordinates lots of great domestic and international trips.
- Do some awareness-raising or fundraising for an organization of your choice. Try these to start:
- Out of the Darkness Walks with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.outofthedarkness.org/
- Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society www.relayforlife.org/relay/
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/
- Become a Big Brother or Big Sister and make a difference in the life of a child. http://www.bbbs.org/