Life under lockdown was tough for many reasons, but coming out of quarantine can be just as fraught. Every state, every county, even every family, has a different view of what’s safe and unsafe. But one thing is universal: we could all use a little pick-me-up right now.

If you’re fighting off melancholy and boredom, the best way to elevate your mood is to raise the spirits of someone else. Here are seven ways to get started:

Go Exploring

Local online groups are a great way to discover new hikes, day trips, and social-distancing-friendly adventures right in your state or province. Organize a picnic and invite a friend to go check out that little spot you’ve always heard about and never made time to see.

If your friends can’t make it out on the same day (or aren’t ready for group outings), plan the same adventure together, but go on different days. Later, you can compare photos and enjoy a chat about your experience. Having something to talk about (that isn’t Covid-19) will make you both smile.

Support Local

We all know local businesses need our support right now, but you probably only need so many haircuts. Here are some alternative ways to make a small business owner’s day:

  • Buy a gift card for a future visit.
  • Buy a gift card for a friend (and make them smile too!)
  • Tip generously—they’re still getting back on their feet.
  • Write a glowing Google review.
  • Recommend them on social media
  • Give them a shout out on your local community page.

Volunteer Together

It isn’t our busy lives that keeps many of us from volunteering—it’s inertia. We just don’t know how to start, so we do nothing. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. You don’t need an orientation or a volunteer director to make a difference. Here’s all you need to begin:

  1. Call a friend that could use some sunlight and fresh air.
  2. Meet up at a local trail, each of you bringing a trash bag and a sets of latex gloves.
  3. Start walking.
  4. Pick up every piece of litter you see.
  5. Enjoy a much-needed chat and the satisfaction of helping beautify your favorite park or trail.

Once you get started, it will be much easier to keep going. With the power of social media at our fingertips, we’re all able to organize a neighborhood cleanup, a food drive, or a small renovation project.

Creative Check-ins

As conversation starters go, “how are you” is a dud. We’re all programmed to respond positively, even if our world is crashing down around us. If you want to cheer someone and check on their welfare, don’t ask, “how are you?” Instead, ask some of these questions:

  • What are you looking forward to?
  • What are you worried about?
  • What new talents or interests have you discovered in quarantine?
  • What do you think the world will look like in a year?
  • Can I get the recipe for that dish you make so well?
  • Can you help me learn to ______. You’re so great at it.
  • Can you recommend a book, a movie, or a television show?
  • Can you give me some advice on _______?
  • Do you remember that time we ________?

In short, help them feel their opinion matters, their talent is appreciated, their advice is worth seeking, and their company is wanted.

Make Plans

For those of us who rate travel as one of life’s high points, planning and researching are almost as much fun as the trip itself. Having something to look forward to—even if it’s just the weekend—is how most of us keep going. So, if your family needs something to anticipate, here are five projects you can start planning today:

Travel, Reconsidered: If tour buses and cruise ships are off your list, how else can you vacation with extended family or friends? How can you see the world, but still maintain a little social distance? Where will go you first?

Backyard Oasis: We’ve all spent a lot more time in our yards this year. What would you like to change, build, or add to make that space more of a retreat?

Start a Business: For those with extra time on our hands, business ideas might have been bubbling to the surface. What would it take to give that idea legs? How could your partner, kids, or friends contribute?

Redecorate: If staring at the same four walls has you contemplating a sledgehammer, you aren’t alone. Planning a fresh look for the family room or master bedroom may be just the project you need to start loving your space again.

Adopt a Pet: If your kids have been begging for a cat or dog, this may be the ideal time ease into pet ownership. Everyone is home, and unlikely to be going on long, international vacations anytime soon. Do a lot of research and involve your kids in planning the pet’s space and in assigning all the associated chores and duties.

Sweat it Out:

Many of us can pull ourselves out of a funk by lacing up our shoes and elevating our heart rates. If your friend is struggling with isolation or boredom, invite them to join you for a walk, run, ride, or hike.

  • Drive somewhere new to both of you or an old favorite spot and enjoy the change of scenery from your usual neighborhood outing.
  • If your friend is far away, invite them to a virtual workout instead. You can select a workout and sweat together over FaceTime.
  • Organize a small neighborhood running or biking club that heads out on a given day each week. It’s something to look forward to, and it gets those endorphins flowing.

Send a Handwritten Note

We’ve all had Zoom calls up to our ears, so receiving anything tactile is sure to get a smile. Not sure what to write? You don’t have to be profound just because you’re putting pen to paper. Write about a memory of them that still makes you smile, or write that they are in your thoughts. Or, write that you’ll never take hugging them for granted again.

We hope this list has sparked some ideas to uplift your friends and family. If so, we’d love to see what you’re doing to raise spirits. All through June, we’ll be watching for your stories and giving away prizes for those who share them. You can participate by tagging us @ZyiaActive and using the hashtag #UpliftZyia.