February 17th, 2021 marks National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Never before has random acts of kindness been so necessary due to the mental toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on all of us. During uncertain times, kindness helps us come together to create hope, support, and a sense of community. Kindness has the added benefit of improving our mental health and wellbeing by reducing stress.
During these times, we can start by showing kindness through our words and actions. Kindness means doing something that helps others and is motivated by a genuine concern and feelings for others. This often means putting others’ needs before our own. Showing kindness does not need to take up lots of time or money. Even simple acts of kindness can improve your mood, self-esteem, and feelings of happiness. As we isolate, random acts of kindness can also help us feel like cut off from others by creating a sense of belonging through the creation or strengthening of social connections.
Acts of kindness can help us put things into perspective during difficult times. Doing good for others can give us a different outlook on our own lives, increasing our feelings of gratefulness and optimism. Performing acts of kindness can also support the creation of a more positive community by encouraging others to be kind themselves. Keep in mind that acts of kindness are for the benefit of others, so be sure that your words and actions are considerate of others and needed.
If you struggle to come up with ideas, consider what you enjoy doing most. For example, if you enjoy animals you may like volunteering to walk dogs at a local animal shelter. If you like to cook, you could drop off a meal to someone who needs it. Even during a pandemic, volunteering is a wonderful way to help others without spending lots of money, as long as you feel safe doing so.
We’ve created a list of random acts of kindness you can consider doing, even during a pandemic:
- Check in with a family member, friend, or neighbor who is isolated
- Start an online book or film club
- Schedule a one-on-one or group video chat
- Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while
- Volunteer with a local organization if it is safe to do so
- Follow a favorite charity on social media and share their posts
- Send a letter or email to a friend or family member
- Send a handwritten thank you note
- Check on someone you know is struggling
- Reach out to colleagues at work outside of meetings
- Set up virtual coffee or lunch get-togethers with co-workers over video chat
- Listen to someone having a bad day
- Praise a co-worker for something they’ve done well in a public manner
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood
- Send someone flowers or a small gift
- Help out with household chores you don’t normally do
- Spend time playing with your pet
- Donate to your favorite charity if you are financially able
- Bring food or supplies to a food bank
- Bring a meal or offer to help an elderly neighbor with yard work
Kindness during difficult times makes the world a better, happier place. Even when we’re spending more time away from others, there are still ways to show random acts of kindness.