17 ways to bring beauty to a suffering world right now

If February, the pandemic, politics, or the weather has got you down, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with negativity. In the spirit of finding beauty and helping others in the face of feelings of loss, here are 17 ways to bring beauty to a suffering world right now. I wrote these ideas aiming for low or no financial costs and with pandemic safety in mind.

If you really want to jump-start some positivity in your life, I encourage you to do one of these for each of the next 17 days or weeks!

Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash
  1. Call a food pantry or bank in your area and ask what supplies they are low on. Make a grocery store run or an online order for one of those things and deliver it to the organization.
  2. Call your local homeless shelter to find out what supplies they are low on. You might send them money to cover some of those supplies, or you might choose one of those items every month and pick up ten of them to donate (ten pairs of socks, ten tubes of toothpaste, ten sticks of deodorant).
  3. Make a habit of commenting positively or encouragingly on a stranger’s Facebook or IG post every day.
  4. Reach out to an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  5. Gather the old blankets or towels in your home and schedule a time to drop them off at your local animal shelter or rescue.
  6. Go the “extra mile” for animals and offer to walk a dog at your local animal shelter.
  7. Call your favorite local charity and ask if you can address thank you notes or letters for them.
  8. Share your skill (coding, knitting, singing, etc.) with others by making a youtube video or hosting a free online how-to.
  9. Donate blood.
  10. Find ten books you aren’t going to read (again) and donate them to a little free library, or a normal-sized public library, in your area.
  11. Find three items of workwear that you haven’t used and donate them to someone who needs business clothes for interviews (check out your local community center, Dress for Success, or other organizations for details).
  12. Make a piece of art for someone – a song, painting, poem, etc.
Photo by Andre Ouellet on Unsplash
  1. Write a thank-you note to a politician you think is doing a good job.
  2. If you have a pet or live in an area with wildlife, make a short video of the animal narrated with facts about their species. Share the video with your friends who have kids. Try to make one video every day for a week – “A Week of Dogs” or “Seven Squirrel Days.”
  3. Similarly, record yourself reading half an hour worth of books (you can get children’s books from your local library). Send the video to friends or family with small children to give them a break long enough to take a shower, cook dinner, or relax. Or, for a more intensive version, record a weekly video of you reading your way through a book older children might enjoy (such as The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia).
  4. Learn to knit or crochet. Contact your local hospital or pregnancy resource center to see if you can donate baby hats or blankets to parents.
  5. Bake a delicious dessert and drop some off with neighbors or friends in your area.

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If you’re currently lactating, this post details some other cool ways you can bring beautiful science to the world during this pandemic.

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