Inconvenience Yourself Day is celebrated on the fourth Wednesday in February and takes place on February 22 this year. It’s a holiday dedicated to putting other people first, and going out of your way to help. Inconveniencing yourself isn’t fun, but practicing self-awareness about how your actions affect people are really important for self-growth. In a world where people are busy and more disconnected from each other, Inconvenience Yourself Day is a fantastic way to shift focus from our own lives to people around us and work to become a little kinder to each other. The day encourages us to look outside ourselves, at the struggles of people around us, and see how we can help.
History of Inconvenience Yourself Day
Human beings are inherently kind. We are capable of great acts of kindness, and being completely unselfish. All it comes down to is opportunity. When people are given the chance to be kind, they tend to go out of their way to make life a little easier for the people around them. Inconvenience Yourself Day was started by Julie Thompson, who is an environmental consultant living in Florida. She realized the necessity of spending time paying attention to the world around her as she was working. Whether it be the environmental crises or other issues, people of the world are always suffering, and Julie Thompson decided that she wanted to be part of the solution. So she came up with a day when people could go out of their way to help other people.
Being kind is important to human beings on a community level, as well as on an individual level. Acts of kindness and compassion boost our dopamine and serotonin levels — the ‘feel-good’ chemicals in our brains. In a sense, human beings are wired to be compassionate to each other, because we are social animals.
In anthropology, the study of human lives and cultures, proof of the beginning of civilization is not pots or buildings. Instead, it is a healed femur. In ancient history, when a person broke a bone, it would take a lot of care from other people for the person to live long enough for the bone to heal. The fact that they received that care is proof that kindness and inconveniencing ourselves for each other are essential to human society.
Inconvenience Yourself Day timeline
Considered to be the first signs of civilization, someone breaks their thigh-bone and is cared for so well that they survive.
At a time when people with AIDS are shunned, Princess Diana of England goes out of her way to visit a hospital without gloves and changes the way people see the disease.
Based on a book by the same name, the foundation aims to make a change in the world by asking people to do three random acts of kindness for strangers.
Determined to be more aware of other people’s needs, Thompson sets up a day when she can go out of her way to help.
Inconvenience Yourself Day FAQs
What does it mean to pay something forward?
The idea behind paying it forward is that whenever you benefit from a good deed, you let others participate by doing a (random) good deed to someone else, instead of repaying the benefactor. You don’t have to wait until someone does you a good deed.
What does it mean to inconvenience yourself?
Anything you do that’s unselfish and needs you to put in effort for someone else, and not for yourself, is an inconvenience. If you’re going out of your way to help out, you’re inconveniencing yourself.
Can kids celebrate Inconvenience Yourself Day?
Yes! Kids can celebrate by making friends with someone who doesn’t have any, standing up to bullies, or helping out at home instead of watching T.V. or something else they like.
Inconvenience Yourself Day Activities
Pay it Forward
The Pay it Forward movement is the best way to celebrate Inconvenience Yourself Day, by looking for opportunities to be kind to someone else. Small deeds of kindness are the important ones, not necessarily big dramatic acts.
Reach out to a friend
It’s easy to forget about friends who are struggling but pulling through when you’re busy. On this day, take some time out to reach out to your friends with a helping hand.
Volunteer at a homeless shelter
People who are homeless have a lot of struggles, and you can contribute to making their lives easier by volunteering at a shelter. These organizations always require help, and it will be appreciated.
5 Facts About Kindness That Will Surprise You
There’s a film called “Pay it Forward”
The film was released in 2001 and explores how the movement of being kind to others spread across the world.
Japanese pensioners volunteer at Fukushima
After the nuclear crisis, Japanese pensioners volunteered for clean-up duty despite the risk of cancer, because they believed that they wouldn’t have to suffer as much as someone young.
Kindness causes happiness
According to the World Happiness Report of 2019, the happiest societies have people who are kind to each other.
Being kind to yourself is pretty important
Without self-compassion, you won’t have the bandwidth to inconvenience yourself for someone else’s sake.
Helping others feels good as helping yourself
The happiness we feel from helping other people has been measured by scientists as the same as the happiness we feel when we get ourselves something nice.
Why We Love Inconvenience Yourself Day
We need an excuse to help
It’s not always easy to make time to help other people. So having a day set aside just to celebrate helping people is a great excuse to reach out.
We pay it forward
We have had people help out when we were in a bad way. The best way to repay the kindness of strangers is to reach out and be kind to other strangers we meet.
We feel more connected
It’s easy to get caught up in our lives and everything we have to do and be self-involved. But when we inconvenience ourselves, we have to think about other people, and so we feel more connected to them.
Inconvenience Yourself Day dates