When I was searching for something to “do” this month, it occurred to me that maybe we should all take some time to do nothing. That after the frenetic pace most of us keep during the holidays, we all need some time to just sit back and take a breath before we go charging forth into the new year. This sounds appealing to me, even though I didn’t have particularly hectic holidays; and maybe it came to me on a New Year’s Day hike in the Headlands where the silence was palpable, so that I was aware of the sound of my footsteps on the trail and the other peaceful sounds of silence.
So before you go out and do something for someone else, take care of yourself first. Be still and reflect. Get on track and realigned, because we really can’t be any good for anyone else unless we take care of ourselves first. Most of us know how to do that, whether it’s that hike or bike route, a spa day, or just a good ole soak in the tub, but if you need some ideas, check out www.donothing.com – seriously! It really is OK to do nothing once in a while.
When you do get re-energized, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 18, a day off work for many, but also a national day of service, where we’re all encouraged to help others. Here are two opportunities I found, both are family friendly, both need lots of volunteers, and both are outdoors, which may just help you recharge at the same time:
• Help take care of the Presidio in the Fort Scott area with habitat, forest and garden restoration projects from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration is required. 415-561-5333, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Volunteer in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and help restore native habitats by weeding and vegetation removal, trash collecting, beach cleanup, seawall painting, trail maintenance, and more. Last year, more than 1,500 volunteers helped plant nearly 4,000 native plants. Multiple projects are available throughout the day with varying time commitments, and registration is requested. 415-561-3077, email@example.com.
You can also find additional volunteer opportunities with other organizations throughout the week at www.handsonbayarea.com.
If organized events aren’t your thing, do something simple. Visit a shut-in neighbor. Pick up every piece of litter you see while taking a walk in your neighborhood. Offer to help an older person cross the street. Make a meal for someone who needs it. Mentor someone – January is also National Mentoring Month.
“Everybody can be great, because
everybody can serve.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.