Being kind is a simple act of self-care. It can be as easy as giving someone a smile on the street, or as big as donating to your local charity. Giving back is also one of the best ways to take care of yourself, and it’s something that anyone can do in any moment.
Random acts of kindness are a way to show love and gratitude. They can be as simple as giving someone a smile or as grand as donating to charity.
Unsplash photo by @jontyson
I was standing in line at a local brewery a few days ago, six feet behind the guy in front of me, doing something I frequently do, a relic from my “normal” existence that has been carried over to my current one. I was idly eavesdropping on a masked client and a masked employee’s discussion in front of me.
They spoke in circles about the epidemic and all that’s happened in recent months, exchanging mainly banal yet pleasant remarks. Before they left, they appeared to stay a bit longer—two strangers seeking connection, one attempting to help the other in any way they could.
Life continues to be weird in every way. It’s all a huge whirlpool of uncertainty that seems to go on forever. There has been a lot of terrible that has occurred recently (to put it mildly), but there has also been a lot of good. I’ve seen people show up for one another in large and little ways, attempting to provide connection and bring some light into a situation that is everything but.
If you’re searching for simple but significant ways to show your love for the people in your life, today we’re sharing a few quick random acts of kindness.
1. Write a letter to someone you like or appreciate
Do you have a favorite author? Is it a company? Are you a creative person? Someone you follow on Instagram whose postings never fail to make you smile? Send them a letter expressing your admiration for their work (and why).
One such letter of compassion we got the other day was discussed by our staff. We receive emails like this from time to time at W&D, and I save them in a small folder to refer to when I’m having a terrible day, trying to figure out how to respond to a critical remark, or am going down the rabbit hole of second-guessing myself (do you know what I’m talking about?).
When you first start writing, it may seem odd, but it may mean the world to the person who receives it.
2. Set a timer for 15 minutes and clean for that amount of time
Unload the dishwasher and wash the dishes in the sink. The floors should be vacuumed or swept. Using a damp cloth, wipe clean the kitchen and bathroom counters. Start a load of washing and put away the clothing that are scattered over the bedroom floor.
It’s no secret that having a clean and tidy house benefits us all. Give your roommate (or yourself, if you live alone) a pleasant surprise in the shape of a cleaner environment.
3. Send a food present
Send takeaway from a loved one’s favorite restaurant or café (or make their favorite meal or dessert and deliver it to their doorstep). You’ll be helping a local company while also providing food for someone you care about.
4. Make contact
Is there someone in your life who would be ecstatic to hear from you more frequently? What about your grandparents? Is it a friend? Call them or text them a simple “just thinking of you/missing you” message. I know I haven’t reached out to many of the individuals I care about recently, if only because I’m exhausted at the end of each day.
But, at the absolute least, I could create room to send a few more messages, and I’m going to make an attempt to do so in the future. The simple act of reaching out may seem little, yet it may mean a lot to the person who receives it.
5. Be a pleasant driver
There’s something about the anonymity of being in a car that makes people forget that there are other individuals behind the wheel, not simply whirling machines. Instead of allowing your frustrations to get the better of you while driving, be extra polite. Allow someone to enter ahead of you.
Allow another motorist to make a left turn in front of you into a congested route with few openings. Give pedestrians permission to cross the street (which I believe we should be doing anyhow, but it’s amazing how many people don’t?).
At a 2-way stop, try not to get into a Portlandia-style scenario. That’s where I’m going to stop.
6. Use the word “thank you” more often
When I first began at W&D, it was obvious that one of the things my colleagues valued the most was deliberately acknowledging one other for our efforts, large and little. “Thank you” is a common word around here, and seeing individuals stop to express appreciation, even from afar on Zoom conversations, has a significant impact.
Is your spouse the one who cleaned the kitchen? Please express your gratitude. Is your colleague doing the job you assigned to them? Please express your gratitude. Have you checked to see whether your kid has put their toys away? Please express your gratitude. When it was your time to enter the grocery shop, did the staff wave you in? Please express your gratitude. (I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.)
7. Give it back
At a drive-thru coffee shop? Pay for the person who is in front of you. Getting a crowler from a brewery? Pay for a second one for the next individual to come in. It doesn’t have to be a large gesture to be meaningful.
8. Put together a playlist
Remember the pleasure of putting together a *carefully* made collection of music choices (songs that reflect the emotional trip you want a particular someone to experience), burning them onto a blank CD-ROM, and delivering it with all your enthusiasm?
Yes, it had been a long trip. What’s more, surprise! That trip is still possible today, albeit it may take a different form.
All I know is that a few weeks ago, a buddy gave me a Spotify playlist that included all of the songs they believed I’d like listening to right now, and people! It brightened my day.
9. Make a list
Send a handwritten letter to a friend or family member with all of your thoughts and feelings (or simply a boring list of everything you did that day). Or, if you’re feeling romantic, write a short love note for your spouse and put it on the bathroom mirror or near their home workstation (who knows, maybe I’m a romantic!!). In our daily lives, we could all use a bit more unexpected joy.
10. Put your green thumb to work for a good cause
Every day for the last month or two, a home along my usual neighborhood walking route has been putting out trays upon trays of free plants for the picking. Every time I pass past, I notice people gathered around the offerings (from a safe distance), their days brightened by this little act of kindness.
If you have a green thumb and a garden of any kind, share the bounty with your family and friends. Divide your plants, distribute your veggies (and fruits, if you’re fortunate enough to have them!) and you’ll be sure to brighten someone’s day.
11. Don’t be too hard on yourself
I’m not sure what your internal monologue sounds like on most days, but mine isn’t always particularly thoughtful. It typically repeats itself, going from worry to self-doubt to wondering whether someone is angry with me, and then back to anxiousness.
This year, on my birthday, in the middle of a very difficult week, I made a conscious effort to be nice to myself for a whole 24 hours (in principle, this shouldn’t be difficult, but it can be!!).
I treated myself to breakfast at a favorite café, tried to ignore any negative self-talk, and attempted to put my worries on hold for the day. It’s something we might all benefit from doing more frequently, whether it’s for a birthday or not.
So, while you’re trying to be extra kind to others, don’t forget to include yourself in the equation.
12. Put on a mask
Finally, and most importantly, put on a mask. It’s one of the most selfless things you can do for yourself and anybody you come across. (Should you need more persuasion, may I recommend allowing one Dan Levy to do so?)
The 200 random acts of kindness is a blog post that provides 12 examples of good deeds that you can complete today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do acts of kindness happen today?
Yes, they do.
What are 10 acts of kindness?
A: 1. Helping someone who is lost or in distress 2. Sharing your food with those less fortunate 3. Giving a gift to someone you love 4. Saying thank you when someone does something for you 5. Offering your seat on the bus or train to an elderly person 6. Asking how others are doing and genuinely caring about their answer 7. Standing up for whats right, even if it means standing alone 8. Taking care of a pet that needs attention and love 9. Giving back to the community by volunteering your time at a local shelter or soup kitchen 10. Being kind to yourself
What are 20 acts of kindness?
It is not necessary to give 20 acts of kindness, but it is recommended.