February 9 starts International Random Acts of Kindness Week. Their website is packed with great ideas on how to celebrate, and I especially love the approach of committing a random act of kindness for three different people:
- Someone you don’t know
- Someone you know
Someone you don’t know
This is pretty simple and can quickly become a habit. (That’s a good thing!)
Smile! When you’re in a depressingly long line at the bank, watching a parent deal with their toddler’s public meltdown, or sitting next to another car in traffic. A kind grin goes a long way when you’re feeling a bit hopeless about the daily hassles in life. Trust me, the parent will be grateful for the encouragement! Another person to show kindness would be the cashier at the grocery store. He/She has probably heard more complaints and seen more frowns today than the average person. Smiles are contagious, spread them around 🙂
Someone you know
Take a moment to think about who in your life may be a little touch-deficient. Maybe you know someone who is recently widowed, a single parent with older children, or a new empty-nester. Maybe even a young teenager in an especially introverted stage of awkwardness.
Write a little note to the people you live with. My 8-year-old LOVES to receive messages from us. You don’t need to fill a legal pad with a bunch of words. Grab a stack of post-it notes and write a few words. Draw a smiley face. Color in a heart. Place them where your kids, spouse, mom/dad, friend, co-worker, mail delivery person, nurse, boss, employee, (the list is endless) can see them. Make someone’s day.
Make it a point to touch someone. It could be a warm hand shake, high-five, or great hug, whatever is appropriate for that person and situation. Touch is shown to make us happier and healthier, and it benefits both you and the receiver!
People depend on you, so it’s important to take care of yourself. If you’ve only got a few minutes, steal away and flip through a great magazine. If you can set aside some more time, get a massage, go for a walk by yourself to recharge, or window shop on the square. Play music during your shower as you get ready for the day. Music makes us happy. It’s a great way to start out.
Kindness doesn’t have to cost you anything, and it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. A little goes a long way!