If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.Dolly Parton
Can you remember the last time someone was kind to you? How did it make you feel? Now imagine how others must feel when you are kind to them. One small act of kindness can make a significant impact on someone’s day—or even their life.
Kindness is simple. It’s being friendly, generous and considerate to others and yourself. When our kindness positively affects others, we feel more confident, useful, and compassionate. And most importantly, being kind doesn’t have to cost a cent; it’s rewarding in and of itself to give back to others.
Since COVID hit, it’s been easy to sit at home alone and turn our focus inward. Truly, on some days, it’s all we can do to get up and get our work and home life in order to accomplish our daily tasks. Because we’ve been forced into a more “reclusive” life, I think so many of us have inevitably focused on ourselves, our self-care, and our survival. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing by any stretch. However, it is just as healthy (and more so) to think of others and show them we care.
They say that the kind thing to do is never the wrong thing to do. In that way, kindness serves to comfort us all; we are never left with nothing to do! But, amid a pandemic and an ever-digital age, everyday kindness can be intentionally forgotten. It’s easy to become overly consumed with oneself when we are the only ones we see daily.
Next week, February 14-20 is the National Week for celebrating “Random Acts of Kindness.” Here are twenty inspiring opportunities to take a few steps back; and rekindle the flames of kindness!
- Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String. (Bonus points if you don’t sing that in your head!) Put some of your favorite confections into adorable brown paper packages, and do a doorstep delivery. If it’s good enough for Julie Andrews, it’s good enough for me!
- Soup in a Jar. We’ve all seen the Hot Cocoa or Cookie Mix Mason Jars, but check out these soup recipes. Gift your friend a jar of Brown Barley Italian Soup or Red Curry, ready to make when they are ready. With impending allergy season, your friend might be thanking you down the road for their hot cuppa soup!
- Create Your Own Holiday. Maybe your 16-year old teenager has been feeling blue without the high school sports, dances, and outings with friends like years past. Declare a date that is just for them, and then celebrate them with all their favorite things. Maybe make it “their” day for years to come.
- Recipe Postcard. Sharing is caring, right? Show family and friends you care by handwriting a favorite recipe on one of these recipe postcards. Send them one of Grandma’s old specialties or one of your new Pinterest addictions.
- Mason Jar Cocktail Kits. What’s cuter than tiny bottles of alcohol and striped straws? Not much. Give a friend their own mini-kit of their favorite cocktail.
- Leave a Positive Review. So many small businesses are really struggling right now. One thing that makes an immediate impact for them is leaving a positive review on Yelp or Google. Share with others the reason you love and respect this business.
- Treat Your Coworkers to Coffee. If you’re back in the office, why not pick up a few extra on the daily coffee run? If you want to plan ahead, get into the office early, to say “Thanks a Latte” with a Starbucks Frappachino. To extend a special thank you, fill a reusable cup with some of your coworker’s favorite items (or an inexpensive giftcard to their favorite coffee spot!).
- Gratitude. Write a letter to someone who has changed your life for the better. Tell them how they have helped you. And mail it the old-fashioned way. Or craft the message for an email. Regardless of how it is sent, it will be a message treasured for years to come.
- Coastal Postal Notes. Did you know you can send more than just an envelope through the mail? Surprise your beach-loving friend with a flipflop-note in their mailbox. It’s sure to get a chuckle!
- Share a Book. If you’ve read a good book lately, share it with your neighbor or another friend. My book club just finished “It Happened in Tuscany.” It was the perfect escape, and for anyone who loves Italy or wants to go, it’s also a great read.
- An Appreciation “Treatment.” Why stop at just one day? Give someone a 7-day treatment of appreciation by filling a small box with little treats and positive notes for them to open the next week. (Now the challenge is to not open them all at once!)
- Scarves for Strangers. When we think of kindness, we always remember our family, friends, and coworkers. But, kindness to strangers is important too! If you’re a voracious knitter or “crocheter,” leave some of your wooly creations around trees in the community for a stranger. If you aren’t the crafty type, you can always donate clothes and food to a local shelter to help people in need.
- Compliment a Stranger. Tell a random person they have a great smile, or a beautiful sweater, or give an enthusiastic thank you for extra-special service. It costs nothing, takes very little time, and could really make someone’s day.
- Amazon Smile. If you’re an Amazon.com customer, you can donate Amazon.com’s money to your favorite U.S. non-profit through Amazon Smile. It takes less than a minute to read and set-up. Then Amazon will donate to your favorite non-profit each time you make a purchase.
- Take a Walk. Gather your family one afternoon to go for a walk. Put the cell phones away and have everyone tell one positive thing that happened in their day. If you live alone, get out there and do the same for yourself. The fresh air, positivity, and togetherness will do wonders to boost moods and alleviate stress.
- Share an Article. I have a dear friend that gifts me her used magazines, and I absolutely l-o-v-e receiving them. So often when I’m reading one of them, I see an article that reminds me of someone special in my life. The next time that happens to you, cut it out and mail it to them. Or click the link and drop it in an email. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!
- Donate. Sometimes your excess items can be another person’s treasure. Whether it’s an old sweater you don’t wear any longer, or a few old towels or blankets you don’t use anymore, chances are a local charity can find a good home for them. (And you’ll feel extra good by decluttering some areas of your home.)
- Mentor Someone. Each of us has unique talents, and I’m sure we know others who are struggling or need encouragement. Offer to help a neighbor kid with some homework in a subject you enjoy. Show an elderly neighbor some new tricks on the computer.
- Deliver Flowers. Cut some flowers from your garden, or pick up something bright and cheerful from the market. Drop it off on the doorstep of a neighbor you haven’t seen in days.
- Write a LinkedIn Recommendation. So many people are still looking for their next career opportunity. Taking a moment to randomly write a few LinkedIn recommendations for co-workers who are looking for work will not only brighten their day, it may make a difference when prospective employers are peeking at their profiles.
Whether you decide to DIY a special gift for someone or simply call a loved one who needs a kind word, let the kindness you show on Random Act of Kindness Day stem from a sincere heart, full of appreciation. That’s what matters most to the people in our circles!