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1 January 2018 05:05 pm

Your New Year’s resolution: 5 ways to be kinder in 2018

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Ashlee
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It’s official – the bells have tolled midnight and we’ve ushered in yet another New Year. Looking back on 2017 it was a year filled with ups and downs for Qatar. We celebrated a lot, and overcame a lot together as a community. If 2017 was a test of our strength and resilience, then let’s make 2018 a test of our kindness and community spirit.

If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that even the smallest of actions can create a widespread impact. Here are 5 ways to be good to ourselves and one another for the year ahead:

Make yourself a priority

This one may seem like a clichéd no-brainer, but it’s a fact of life that we often overlook daily. Whether its work, studies, spouses, friends, or children, chances are there’s a long list of priorities that we put ahead of ourselves. But we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of taking time to care for our own mental and physical health – in fact, it makes us better caregivers when we put ourselves first!

So start small this New Year and find your rituals. Whether its starting your day off on the right foot with a small action such as making your bed, or setting your alarm that extra half-hour earlier to enjoy a healthy breakfast in silence, to scheduling time each week just for you to be present with yourself. By practicing mindfulness towards ourselves, it’s easier for us to become mindful towards one other – helping build a stronger, kinder, and more supportive community.

If you’re looking for a place to start when it comes to practicing mindfulness and self-care for the New Year, begin with what’s on your plate. All health starts from the inside out, and nourishing ourselves properly should be our first step on the road to a better start for 2018.

If you don’t have the time to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for the week ahead, here are a few local businesses in Qatar that will deliver vitamin-packed, vegetarian or vegan meals right to your door – and even help you with your grocery shopping!

RAW – Simply Nourishing

FRESH – To Your Door

Suncart

Or, grab something to go from Qatar’s first vegan café, Evergreen Organics!

Waste less and give back what you don’t need

Lessen your footprint on the environment over the coming year by adopting a waste-not, want-not rule of thumb. Donate what you don’t use, need, or can’t upcycle, and clear out the clutter that’s weighing you down. It’s said that our outward environment is a reflection of our inner emotional state; so a cluttered space can represent internal confusion or turmoil. This is why advocates of minimalism encourage a letting go of those unnecessary objects and the meaning we assign to them that keep us bound to materialism.

If you have unused, or gently-used clothing or items, there are a few places in Qatar where you can donate them to those who could truly benefit from them. Many embassies in Qatar operate in association with charity groups from their respective home countries to assist their citizens residing in Qatar. Here are a few:

Indian Community Benevolent Forum

Sri Lankan Majlis – Qatar  

Philippine Overseas Labor Office

Jalalabad Association Qatar

There are also local Qatari organizations that welcome monetary donations or donations of clothing, household items, and non-perishables.

Qatar Charity

Qatar Red Crescent

Qatar Orphans Foundation, Dhreima

And finally, if you’re a culinary business owner or individual who would like to donate surplus food to those in need, you can contact Qatar’s newest social initiative, Wa’hab.

Be proactive in making our community a better place through volunteering

The beauty of living in Qatar is that we can draw on the strengths of the diverse groups that make up our community. By taking part in volunteer initiatives we can pool our efforts to make Qatar a better place for all who live here – and that’s something worth celebrating this year and every year!

Not only can volunteering boost our mental health by releasing endorphins linked to happiness and fulfilment such as serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine, it’s a chain reaction that spreads positivity on those around us. In Qatar there are loads of ways to get involved in your community for 2018, meeting new friends and cultivating new experiences along the way!

Here are some ways you can give back:

Life is about learning – so learn something new!

Without a natural curiosity, human civilization would never have evolved – period! Human beings are designed to be curious, and it’s our inquisitiveness that makes life interesting and worth living to the fullest. Whether we realize it or not – every day we learn something new, so why not be proactive about harnessing a new skill or exploring a new line of study?

Qatar is full of organizations that will help you on your way to becoming your best self – from educational programs, to community outreach organizations that help expats embrace the local culture, and many more, make 2018 your year to shine!

Here’s a few ajeeb ways you can get involved to learn something new!

  • Immerse yourself in the local culture by learning Arabic! The Sheikh Abdulla bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (formerly Fanar) offers language lessons for beginners – among other cool classes for expats! You can even book a tour of the State Mosque here!
  • Unleash your inner artist at Education City’s Virgina Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar). The premier arts school in the country, they offer a series of seasonal community classes where you can learn calligraphy, photography, painting, creative writing, and more!
  • Enrich your cultural experience in Qatar and make new friends – both local and expat through Embrace Doha! The group organizes a range of community activities to introduce expats and newcomers to the traditions and practices of Qatari culture, helping you to feel at home in your new country!
  • Who says the desert can’t bloom? Test your green thumb with the Doha Garden Club and learn which plants and vegetables can be cultivated to thrive in your own home garden right here in Qatar!

Finally – keep spreading the love throughout 2018 and beyond!

Sharing is caring – and especially as expats, its important we support one another as oftentimes our friends in a new country end up becoming like family! So take the time to show your neighbour, your colleague, the cashier at the grocery store, the attendant who pumps your gas, the waiter/waitress who takes your order, a little kindness in the form of a smile and a word of thanks. When we don’t have our families around us to check in, something as simple as asking a stranger ‘How’s your day?’ is enough to remind us that the world doesn’t have to be vast and impersonal, and that we’re all in this together.

The more we learn about others and their stories, the more we learn about ourselves and the world around us. Here are a few simple acts of kindness to carry you into a New Year that we hope will be softer, safer, and happier.

  • Remember what we said above about mindfulness towards others? Take a moment to go through those gently-used clothing or household items and think about donating them closer to home – to the cleaner who comes to your house, the security guard working the long shift in your building, or the maintenance worker who’s come to fix the hot water heater in your unit.
  • Pay it forward. Waiting as your tank is filled with petrol? Nip into the shop and grab a cold drink and snack for the pump attendant. See someone on the side of the road with their four-way flashers on? Pull over and see if they need to help to call roadside assistance. It’s the little things that are really the big things.
  • Remind the people you encounter on a daily basis of their value. Whether it’s a service they’re offering – bagging your groceries or washing your car, or it’s support they’re giving – a coffee and catch-up with a friend or colleague…say ‘Thank you’ and acknowledge the value of their actions.
  • Be a helper. Life abroad can be overwhelming, and when the world seems too much, look for the helpers. Offering your time, your support, and a sense of safety to those struggling in our community is invaluable. For every one of us who have moved abroad – we all remember that one person we crossed paths with who made our new home feel familiar for the first time. Return that favour to someone in need.

What are your resolutions for 2018? Tell us what you would add to this list and how you will strive to be kinder this New Year, and all the years ahead. Also, don’t forget to like and share this article!

(Images courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)