30 September, 2016

31 Hugs - Ideas


(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. 

Hug Suggestions
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?

22 comments:

  1. This is beautiful! Its late but I will read more in detail and comment more in the morning but know we are reading the words you type!

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    1. Thanks Vanessa! You're so thoughtful. :)

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  2. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I'm super excited to do this and it's going on my calendar along with a list of what I'm doing (and yes, I use an actual calendar-not my cellphone ;).
    Keep being awesome Jessica!
    Hugs,
    Kara

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    1. Praise God! Thanks for your sweet comment, Kara. :) I'm so excited that you're excited about this. Sending a return hug!

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  3. This post was super helpful! The ideas of hugs to give was fantastic. (And I'm so honoured you linked to my post - thank you! <3 ) I'm definitely going to be giving more hugs during October!
    As Jesus said, it is more blessed to give than receive. I have a theory that you, Jessica, are going to be massively blessed in your quest to give 31 hugs. :)
    ((hug))
    <3

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    1. I'm glad, and thank-you! How are you going with the challenge so far?

      And thanks so much for that encouragement - it has already been a blessing just in these first few days. xx

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  4. I'm so excited to take part in this!

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    1. Yay! Your enthusiasm is encouraging, Grace. I hope you're enjoying the challenge so far! :)

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  5. I still think this is such a nice idea... :) it makes me happy to read "31 hugs" haha..
    Your blogging and writing in general has improved so much over the years, and you always make things interesting. You do inspire people, you should know that. :)
    I hope your Sabbath is extra special today on this first day of October 2016.. The last quarter of the year! Let's hope it's the best quarter yet.
    Hugs..!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Niv! Seriously, it was like a huge encouraging hug. :) Especially your thoughts about this blog - that means a lot, because you've seen it all.. so yes, thank-you. :)

      And yes, it's scary to be facing the last quarter of the year, but like you said - it could be the best quarter yet, for all we know. :) Sending hugs back! xx

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  6. I enjoyed this post, it was very inspiring! I'm SO excited about my 31 days of hugs :) Thank you so much for this lovely idea!

    Lorraine // Laurel Crowned

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    1. Praise God! It's so encouraging to see your enthusiasm too! I hope you have a great month of hugs. xx

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  7. I am so looking forward to this! It's actually something I've been thinking about and trying to do recently (specifically, letting certain friends know I'm praying for them, sending verses, just being there...). Assuming I can remember and find time, I especially want to use this month to thank some of my favorite artists and authors... who deserve way more thanks than they probably get! Thanks again for the wonderful idea.

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    1. That's great - I'm sure your friends and favourite artists and authors will really appreciate it. And as Bonnie said above - you'll no doubt receive a blessing as well! That's the most amazing thing about sharing encouragement and appreciation, God always blesses in return. Thanks for commenting, and I hope you've enjoyed the first few days of the challenge so far! :)

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  8. Thank you so much for these ideas, they're incredibly helpful! I'm sure I'll be be coming back to this post throughout October for encouragement :)
    -Mary

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    1. Oh, thank-you for commenting, and joining in! I hope your October of hugs is going well. :)

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  9. This is such an amazing idea, Jessica! I'm not sure if I read your other post, so I'll have to go read it now, but this whole concept is really sweet. This post was so inspiring <3 Can't wait to join in!

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    1. Thanks for your sweet and encouraging comment, Autumn! I'm excited you want to be a part of this! :)

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  10. Great ideas, Jessica. =) I have enjoyed putting the "hug challenge" into practice around my home - trying to be more helpful, encouraging, and loving. =) I don't want to make this a "requirement" for October...I want it to be me. I want to be consistent at this all the time.

    May I ask what PostCrossing is? Do you recommend it? It looks like a great way to share the Gospel with people around the globe. =)

    //Hosanna

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    1. That's encouraging to hear you have begun putting hugs into practice! And I really like how you said you want it to be who you are, not just a task. That's powerful. I want this challenge to be the beginning of a new lifestyle for me too.. Thanks for sharing - it's changed the way I'm thinking about 31 hugs.

      Yes, I do recommend PostCrossing! It is a good tool for sharing God's hope and love, although you're not meant to preach or proselytize, respecting other people's beliefs, etc. But I try to share subtler messages, and use it to encourage people that they are valued, and priceless, and loved. It's also fun to receive postcards from people in other countries and learn what their life is like. Let me know if you try it at some stage!

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    2. Hmm...PostCrossing sounds really cool. =) Thank you for letting me know about it. I'll have to check it out! =) It sounds like a great way to give out hugs. ;)

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    3. You're welcome! I hope you find it a blessing if you try it. :)

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When you comment:

1. My day will be brighter, my face smiling, and my heart blessed.

2. I’m likely to immediately go and explore your blog (if you have one) to find out more of your amazingness, and return the blessing.

3. I will then attempt to craft a response to you that will somehow fail to convey how much I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness. I’m grateful for every word of encouragement you give, and don’t be afraid to share some constructive criticism also; there’s always more to learn. In short: thank-you! :)