Here is our chance to officially be “Iowa Nice!” We all live hectic lives, but if for some reason, COVID-19 has left you with more time than you know what to do with, why not be Iowa Nice? I have put together a 7-day challenge for you to do just that! I’ve got tips, suggestions, and I will be happy to take selfies from you, too!
Day 1 – Spread Happiness
One of my favorite things to do is post on other people’s social media timelines! Nothing makes a person feel better than to be considered. Plus, it’s free! Go through those phone pics and find a special one that hasn’t seen the light of day yet and post it to their wall. Or Snap them a video of you using a gift they gave you. Or write a thank you message for something you appreciate about them. Or post a funny meme that you know they’ll appreciate (be sure to thank the source). It will take you very little time and no money to brighten the days of people, who like you, might be going stir crazy!
And if you’ve got family-bonding time happening, have them help you find old pics in a photo album and take a pic with your phone or have them color a picture and post it to a person. It’s that easy!
Day 2 – Family Photo Day
We all know how hard it is to get a family photo, especially during the Christmas season! Here’s your chance to get that perfect Easter photo or hunt down the Santa hats and get that photo for next Christmas! Make everyone take a shower and put on real clothes, then head to the backyard or the couch or even the Spider Car in Avoca as long as no one else is there! Do individual pics of everyone, even the usual photographer and then do group ones – fun ones, serious ones, ones to give the grandparents, etc. That is family bonding at its finest.
And if you are single or camped out alone, that’s okay, take a selfie! Put on that old t-shirt from high school or make a mustache and post away!
Day 3 – Send Mail
Personally, I am the worst at sending things in the mail, but the mailbox is at my door. Write a thank you note. Draw pictures. Paint a masterpiece. Write a poem. Send balloons and bubblegum. Just think of someone who probably never gets good mail and lick that envelope shut! Kids, elderly, overwhelmed homeschooling moms all need good mail!
Day 4 – Pinterest Day
We all know those people who pin a million things never to actually try any of them! Here’s your chance. Make something! Anything! Make a mask for a nurse. Make a cheesecake for the neighbors. Make a pinecone bird feeder for the robins. Heck, make that first cross-stitch for Christmas next year! Or make that online photo album you’ve procrastinated on since your 8-year-old’s birth! Busy hands keep an idle brain from overthinking and doing nice things for others gives us a happy rush.
Day 5 – Praise Small Businesses
As we all know, local, small businesses have been hurt badly by the pandemic. What can you do to help? Take to social media. What should it look like? It can look any way you want it. Go to Dairy Queen’s page and simply say, “Thanks for the blizzard today! Saved me from killing my kids!” Or you can post pics of food you got from a curbside menu and tell what food and where you got it. You can post something you got off Etsy. Personally, I love when people give me info about their faves. You can do a copy-paste post like the one below:
My Fave Food to eat in Pott. Co. is _________________. I get it at __________________.
My Fave Place to shop for a birthday gift in Pott. Co. is _________________________. I recently bought a _________________ there.
Have you taken your kids to __________________________? Mine loved ___________________ there.
I was freaking out about _____________________ and __________________________ saved me! Best _______________________ around!
A small shout-out I read sometimes gets me to try some place I’ve never been, especially if they mention a specific food or piece of merchandise they got there! And I am always looking for plumbers, tree trimmers, etc!
Day 6 – Surprise a Neighbor
Think of it as an early May Day! A little game of ding, dong, ditch for your kids! Since you can’t actually see them, you can leave something fun on the doorstep! You can’t go wrong with homemade cookies, a bottle of their favorite “beverage,” some packets of flower seeds, or a book/magazine to read! The gesture brightens their day as does the gift as small as it may be.
Day 7 – Rewind Day
Nostalgia is a beautiful thing. It’s even better when you get to share it with someone. Crank up some Prince and Mellancamp! Watch episodes of The Brady Bunch or Love Boat. Make fondue and have the kids chop up the dippers. Go to the creek if it’s warm enough and catch frogs. Look at old photo albums or yearbooks that your family has never seen. My favorite memories are playing cards with my parents or singing in the car with my dad or listening to “the goat on top of the school” story for the millionth time. Get out their old toys you saved. Dust off the piano. Live like it was yesteryear.
Disclaimer: This challenge is not to torture you further. It is simply a mechanism for inspiration. We are all used to going. We are all used to talking to the people at work or school. We are not equipped to be alone with our thoughts. Do not let them destroy you. You are here right now where you are supposed to be doing what you are supposed to do. Find enjoyment in it or at least have some chocolate or a beer and cope!
Iowa Nice is about finding the enjoyment in doing for others and appreciating the little things. Do what you gotta do, friends. We’re all in this together!