(I’ll admit that title does sound a bit strange – are there thirty-one different ways to hug?! If you’re not sure what I’m on about, read the introductory post here. :)
Firstly, a big thank-you to all who joined the challenge! It’s exciting to think of all the lives that will be touched as we each share some hugs. It’s also not too late to be a part of it! If you feel thirty-one hugs are not manageable, why not set yourself a smaller goal?
Anyway, here are some ideas which I hope will help and inspire you as you share appreciation this October.
Remember, a hug is a way to show appreciation, thankfulness, or support, so the options for conveying that message are endless:
Words – a few words of appreciation in person, a simple thank-you or I’m thinking of/praying for you, an email, a letter, a card, a text message, or a phone call.
Actions – a literal hug, some extra time with the other person (catching up, playing a game, shopping, working on a project, etc.), surprise housework or some other task, a gift.
Hug Recipient Ideas
Is there anyone who couldn’t benefit from an act of appreciation?!
Family – parents, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives – aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
Associates – friends, workmates, people at church or other groups, teachers, bosses/supervisors, mentors, or anyone we spend time with.
People we admire – authors, musicians, artists, bloggers, athletes – anyone.
Strangers – shop assistants, cashiers, nuisance callers, people on the bus/train/street, or contacts through Postcrossing.
Challenge Tips and Suggestions
Write a list of people you want to give a hug to, or hug ideas you want to do, so you can think ahead, plan, and avoid getting to the end of the day and wondering who to give a hug to.
Be genuine – say what you mean, and mean what you say. Do what you mean, and mean what you do. Make each hug personal and tailored to the individual, rather than the copy + paste style – they’ll appreciate it when they realise the effort is especially for them.
Be specific – for example, instead of just telling someone you appreciate them, tell them why you appreciate them. Is it because they’re thoughtful and encouraging, happy and smiling, or their skills inspire you, or they encourage you in your spiritual walk? (Bonnie recently wrote a post that has more suggestions on how to give compliments here.)
Get outside your comfort zone – we’ve all got those things we’ve comfortable doing, and maybe it’s easy for you to appreciate your friends or family. But I think comfort zones were made to be challenged, so take the opportunity to stretch yourself. Maybe you’ve never told someone how much you appreciate them before, or how much they mean to you. Maybe you find it easier not to talk on the phone (and I’m talking to myself here!). Maybe you’d rather not join your siblings on their adventures, or visit your relative in a nursing home, or do the ironing. But this challenge isn’t about us – it’s about others. So I want to encourage to not let your comfort zone hold you back from showing appreciation or support for someone else.
Do it from your heart – this is related to being genuine, but it will show whether you’re doing something out of obligation, or because you mean it. Don’t worry if you can’t craft a perfect gift or thank-you message. If you’re doing/saying/writing from the heart it will mean so much anyway. As Hannah said, “When you put your heart into something, it comes to life.” (Her whole post on that topic is very good, by the way.)
Be realistic – this isn’t about wearing yourself out, and becoming exhausted because of the extra ‘tasks’ on your to-do list. Keep it simple; only do what you can manage. Don’t feel pressured to write a five hundred word email, or buy a gift, or take a day off to give to a friend. If you need to take a break from the challenge, do. If you’re running out of people to give a hug, repeat – your mum won’t mind an extra hug. Challenges are about finding a balance between pushing yourself, and yet setting achievable goals.
Be creative – this post is only ideas. Brainstorm your own list of people to share hugs with, ways to show support and appreciation, etc. The options are limitless – find a Bible verse relevant to their situation, write a poem, give them some cake (or whatever their favourite food is). Get them a plant, make their bed, or say thank-you. Tell them their hair looks nice, tell them they inspire you, and tell them God used them to bless you.
I hope that was remotely helpful (and not too repetitive), and I hope you all have a fabulous October, and are blessed by giving 31 hugs. Thanks again for your support in this challenge already – each of your comments was like a hug. :) And I’m eager for you to add your thoughts! What are your tips for monthly challenges? Do you have suggestions for hug recipients? What are some of your hug ideas?