10 Ways to Uplift Yourself and Those Around You

2021 Summer to Shine Series, Part 2

While the pandemic is quickly fading into memory, there’s still plenty to get us down if we focus on the negative (politics, drought conditions, the current NBA season). Instead, break out of the news cycle and celebrate our return to normal life by uplifting yourself and those around you. From grand gestures to subtle tokens, no act is too small to positively impact someone! In addition to last year’s list of Uplift ideas, here are ten must-try ideas to make your month more uplifting. 

Plant a Tree

Honor the loss of a loved one—or the birth of a new one—by planting a tree. It’s a great reason for people to gather together, and it helps the environment, too! Don’t know what type of tree to plant? Most cities have an urban forester attached to the Department of Parks and Recreation. They can help you choose based on location, lifespan, maintenance and upkeep, and aesthetics. Don’t have space to plant? Ask your urban forester if you can have a tree planted through them for your loved one. Many cities offer the option for a small plaque as well.  

Mix It Up with Music

Show someone you’re thinking of them with a custom playlist. Music streaming apps like Spotify make it easy to create and share playlists of any length. Or make one for yourself! Most of life’s most mundane activities—cleaning, walking, driving—are made better with the right soundtrack. 

Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes the thing that brightens someone’s day the most is the thing they least expected. Pay for a stranger’s coffee. Complement someone on their jewelry. Leave notes on public corkboards. It can even be as small as offering someone a smile as you pass by. Don’t be surprised if your mood gets uplifted, too! 

Check in with Memes, GIFs, and Videos 

Never underestimate the power of a funny meme, GIF, or animal video. These types of media files are easily shared over social media and text, and are a great way to let people you’ve lost touch with know that you’re thinking of them. Sharing one might lead to a deeper conversation or plans to grab lunch, or it might not. Either way, you’re almost guaranteed to spark a smile. 

Learn Mental Health First Aid

If you take comfort in knowing that you could perform CRP in a pinch, you’ll be delighted to learn you can become certified in mental health first aid. This program teaches you how to recognize signs of mental distress, how to reach out to people who may be struggling, and even gives you the tools to help direct them to available resources. Many classes have a virtual option, and some are free or low cost.  

Say It with Food

There’s nothing like homemade goodies or thoughtful treats to bring a smile to someone’s face. Whether sweet or savory, vegan or gluten-free, the common ingredient is love and it shines through in every bite. Get creative with the packaging or include a small note for extra smiles!  

  • Help the kids craft their own unique popsicles to share with friends.   
  • Set out frozen bottles of water for your mail carrier. 
  • Prepare some homemade heat-n-go breakfasts for your commuting spouse. 
  • Prepare  your family’s go-to snack mix for the new neighbors. 

Make the Call

Life gets busy, and many of find it easier to send a text or email. But real uplift opportunity is right there in reach if you pick up the phone. Nothing can replace the feeling and warmth of hearing someone’s voice. If you really want to step up your game, pop over for a surprise visit instead. Bonus points if you bring a treat! 

Pet the Pets

Studies have shown stroking a pet can reduce blood pressure and release a hormone that helps relax us humans. If you have an adorable critter at home, look for organizations (retirement homes, schools, hospitals, etc.) that welcome furry friends to visit their residents. If you don’t have a pet, consider volunteering to walk and care for cats and dogs at your local shelter. Some shelters even invite school-age kids get in their reading minutes by reading aloud to the animals. 

Share Encouraging Words

Whether it’s verbally or written in a note, a few words of encouragement can go a long way. Most of us default to pointing out what needs to change instead of praising what is perfect already. Focus on delivering positive comments for one full day. Tell someone they’re doing a great job, that you appreciate their attitude or outlook, or that you’re proud of them for making progress on a goal. The more specific you can make your comment, the more impactful it will be. If you’re trying this out, check in with your mood throughout the day. Did your stress feel higher or lower? Did the people around you seem happier and more cooperative? Positivity is powerful! 

Ask to Speak to the Manager

We know what you’re thinking, but that’s because people only ask to speak to the manager when they’re upset about something. Instead, call the manager over and praise the service you’ve received, complement the atmosphere, or simply tell them how much you’ve enjoyed yourself. It will be a welcome respite for the litany of complaints they’re used to receiving.  

Uplift is one of Zyia’s founding pillars and part of our Summer to Shine challenge. One of the things we love about Uplift is that the more you spread it, the more you get back. So don’t wait to get started! 

Read More in Our Summer to Shine Series: