We have some friends going through a tough time. They are living in a state of uncertainty and the future could be challenging and sad for them. I can't fix those problems. I can't take away the uncertainty, the fear or the sadness. But I can bring them donuts. I can bring them donuts to remind them there are people surrounding them who love them. I can bring them donuts to brighten up a day that might be feeling a little dark. I can bring them donuts to remind them that we will be there, now and with future donuts. Maybe 'donuts' in the future will be running an errand or bringing a hot meal or maybe it will be just bringing more donuts. Our acts of kindness don't need to be extravagant. We don't need to pay someones bills for the year or buy them a car (although how amazing would that be), all we need to do is remind people they are loved. It's been a hard year and through this uncertain holiday season we can do our best to ensure the kindness shines through the darkness and the people around us can be reminded of our love and sense of community.
If brightening someone else's day isn't enough to encourage you, there are plenty of health benefits that go along with being kind. Kindness is linked to increased self-esteem, empathy and compassion, and an improved mood. People who are kind regularly are known to even be healthier and live longer. Psychologists have even confirmed that performing regular acts of kindness can increase energy levels, give you a higher pain tolerance and improve your immunity. Here are just a few Random Acts of Kindness you can do this season:
Like, Share, Comment - We all love to shop small and support our friends and community, and one great way to do that without spending a single dollar is to interact with them on social media. The algorithms are hard to beat and liking a post, sharing with friends and/or commenting will boost their visibility! Visit a Senior or Shut-In - The holidays can be an extremely lonely time for seniors. Reach out to an elderly relative or friend and ask if they would like a bit of company. Often time is the greatest gift we can share with people. Bake a Treat - Food soothes the soul and nothing is more soothing than homemade goods. Bake some cookies or dessert for your frontline workers, neighbours, seniors or even your family. Buy Someone Flowers - Listen, $7 grocery store bouquets are just as good as any fancy flower shop bouquet if you ask me. They last just as long and fresh flowers are fresh flowers. Pick up one and drop it off to someone who might need a little pick me up! Pay for a Strangers Coffee - I love doing this in the drive thru. If I notice the person behind me is alone and orders relatively quickly I just let the girl at the window know I'd like to pay for the order behind me. Having had it done to me a few times it's really a great little surprise pick me up in a day! Write a Thank You Note - Handwritten notes are few and far between. Take some time, grab a paper and a pen and let someone know how much they've meant to you. This could be a letter to a friend, a mentor, a teacher or even a family member! Leave Change Behind - The laundromat, a vending machine, candy machines at the grocery store or even in the buggy return. Nothing happier than finding an unexpected quarter or two. Offer to Babysit - You don't have to take them for an entire weekend, but parents alway appreciate an extra hand. Reach out to a new mom so she can take a nap or get her hair done, offer to watch someones kids while they get some Christmas shopping done or even grocery shopping without having to entertain the kids. They will appreciate it more than any gift you could buy.
Pick up Groceries - As the weather gets colder it's going to get harder for many to get out. Picking up groceries for an elderly neighbour or busy family is a simple way to take a bit of stress out of their day. Give a Compliment.. or 5 - When is the last time you commented on someones outfit at work? When is the last time you told your husband or wife they looked nice? When is the last time you shared your appreciation for someones hard work? Words are our most powerful 'weapon' and sharing kind words with others goes a long way.
Donate Toys and Clothes - Christmas is the perfect time to go through toys, books, and clothes to make room for gifts coming in. As a minimalist I can speak to the fact that we all have things we can get rid of. As many have been out of work and many struggling even before covid, shopping at local thrift stores may be the only option for some for Christmas. Pack a bag of toys and clothes and donate them to someone who will love them again!
Leave a Generous Tip - What a better way to surprise serving staff than a larger than normal tip!
Cook Someone Dinner - Whether it be cooking dinner and dropping it off or inviting someone over for a home cooked meal, everyone appreciates a day to not think about cooking!
Shovel a Neighbours Driveway - The snow is coming and there's nothing worse than waking up to a driveway covered in snow. Offer to help them to make the job go faster or surprise them with a nice clean driveway when they leave!
Make your Significant Other Breakfast in Bed - When it comes to acts of kindness we often overlook the people closest to us. Treat your spouse to breakfast in bed, they deserve just as much kindness as anyone else (if not a bit more!)
Donate to a Cause - Next time you're at the grocery store say yes to donating $1, find a local charity that donates toys to kids in need or drop some change into the salvation army buckets. It doesn't take much to make a difference.
Extend forgiveness - Are you holding a grudge against anyone? Maybe now is the time to let it go. Forgiveness is not only for others, but it is kindness to ourselves as well.
Do a Chore - In our house there are certain things we naturally take care of doing. I do the dishes, he empties the hair trap in the shower, I do the laundry, he does the garbage. If there's a chore you know your spouse doesn't love doing, take the hit and do it yourself!
Donate to an Animal Shelter - Animal shelters often need things like food, toys and towels for surrendered pets. As Christmas comes and people get puppies and kittens for their families, many eventually end up at the shelter. Dig out some old towels, buy some dollar store dog toys or a few bags of food and help some pets in need.
Write a Positive Review of a Business - Business' often hear complaints, take a few minutes and rave about your local donut shop or restaurant. Good reviews are free and impactful!
Donate to a Local Food Pantry - Canned goods, non-perishable items, socks, undergarments, winter attire and maybe even toys are all accepted and greatly needed during the holidays. It's been a hard year for everyone and if you're in a position to be generous this is a great way to share that generosity.
Ask Someone How They're Doing - It costs zero dollars to have a conversation with someone. This year has been crazy to say the least and many have been experience mental health struggles they've never experienced before. Invite a friend to coffee, or bring one over to them, or give someone a call and genuinely ask how they're doing. Sometimes even just talking about things we are struggling with can help us feel lighter. A listening ear is worth its weight in gold.
"Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will only see my actions"