14 Days of Kindness and Love—Join the CCT Valentine Challenge

Yesterday morning, I decided to take a walk near my office (there’s nothing like a walk in the freezing Chicago weather to get over writer’s block!) It was a typical Chicago day in January: the clouds completely blocked the sun, there was a wintery rain/snow thing happening (and yes, it was somehow attacking horizontally), pedestrians were rushing to and fro, cars were honking—you know how mornings are downtown. But despite how cold and miserable the day was, the fresh air still felt rejuvenating.

After a couple of blocks, I turned to make my way back to the office, when suddenly I saw a scarf with a piece of paper rubber-banded to it. At first, I didn’t think anything of it—how nice of someone to bring attention to a lost scarf. As I started walking the next block, I saw another scarf sitting on a bench in the same fashion. My curiosity won out over my desire to get back inside and warm up with some hot tea and I walked over to the scarf.

The note attached to the scarf said: “I was not forgotten here and neither are you. We hope this scarf brings you warmth.” I was suddenly filled with so many emotions—I felt hopeful, loved, excited … you name a warm and fuzzy feeling, and I was having it!

We live in a world where information is available at the click of a button. Unfortunately, devastating and frightening events are most commonly shown, making the gloom and doom seem so widespread and invasive. Yet, here was someone (or perhaps a group of people), who did something so kind, and asked for nothing in return.

It reminded me that, for the most part, people are good and kind. Even though it’s not reported very often, this city of ours really is amazing and has hidden beauty. So thank you to the person or people who left those scarves. I know they will be much appreciated by their recipients, and you also touched my heart and reminded me of how much good there really is in the world.

To honor this random act of kindness, I encourage you to join the CCT Valentine Challenge! Some people think Valentine’s Day needs to involve love with a romantic partner, but I believe there are so many different kinds of love that we should be celebrating. The CCT Valentine Challenge is going to focus on 3 types of love—love for yourself, love for others, and love for your community.

So without further ado, here it is, your 14-Day CCT Valentine Challenge

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Love Yourself

Day 1 (February 1st) Treat yourself!—The 1st of February is a Friday, so let’s start off the challenge by treating yourself to your favorite hot beverage, a manicure, or a nice dinner out! It’s cold, you’ve worked hard, and you have earned a little self love :)

Day 2—Sleep in: If you’re like me, the weekend is when you tackle the millions of things you couldn’t get done during the week. Slow it down for a day, and take the time to sleep in. Your body will thank you for the extra rest.

Day 3—Make a playlist: Whether you listen to music while you work out, go for a walk, while you’re in the car, or when you make dinner, create a playlist of all of those songs that inspire you—you know the ones that make you energized and excited about life.

Day 4—Buy yourself flowers: Flowers brighten up a room and your mood, so why wait until Valentine’s Day? Do it today, and do it for yourself! You deserve to be surrounded by beauty.

Day 5—Take a bubble bath: Let all of that stress melt away with a nice bubble bath. Maybe listen to that great playlist you made the other day, or enjoy with some scented candles and a glass of wine.

Love Others

Day 6—Phone a friend: Haven’t talked to one of your friends or loved ones for a while? Give them a call and let them know you’re thinking about them!

Day 7—Handfuls of Love: Give a child at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago a personalized Valentine’s Day card. They’re aiming to hand deliver 15,000 cards on Valentine’s Day, so join in and help bring joy and hope to a child who could use your love and strength.

Day 8—Write a thank you note: Do you have someone who has really made a difference in your life? Or perhaps you’re appreciative for the person who delivers your mail. Whoever it is, write them a thank you note and let them know how grateful you are.

Day 9—Join CCT for a day of Free Hugs at Millennium Park: Make a poster and come join me at Cloudgate (aka The Bean!) and spread the love to others! If you’re not big on hugs, give out Free Fist Pounds or High Fives or Head Nods! Check out the CCT Facebook Page for more details in the near future! #CCTFreeHugs

Day 10—Make a Valentine’s Day Card: Take the time to make someone you care about a handmade Valentine’s Day Card and then send it via snail mail or personally deliver it. Try to get it in the mailbox the same day so it reaches the person in time!

Love Your Community

Day 11—Bake something: Get out that blender and bake something warm and delicious to share with your neighbors or co-workers the next day.  

Day 12—Make a donation: whether it’s a clothing donation, or $5 to your favorite local charity, make a donation that is meaningful to your community.

Day 13—Clean a communal area: You know the microwave at work that always gets nasty? Clean it, even if you didn’t make the mess! Or perhaps the mess in your living room or kitchen has been getting out of hand lately. Tidy it up! Your coworkers and roommates/family will be seriously grateful.

Day 14—Chalk art: Write something nice on the sidewalk about your neighborhood, or on the board at work. Let people know that you are invested and love your community!

If you’re having fun with the challenge, post your pictures or stories to #CCTValentineChallenge. Let’s spread the love this February!