Being nice is good for mental and physical health. It actually relieves stress hormones and makes life more interesting. And, of course, it spreads happiness to the recipient.
With Random Acts of Kindness Day on Feb. 17, here’s 13 things to do to make someone smile:
1. Bake and Deliver Easy Heart Shaped Cookies. Know someone who is feeling down? Randomly drop off cookies with an “I’m thinking of you” note. Maybe it’s a neighbor living alone or that Facebook friend who is expressing sadness in their status. Here is a seven ingredient shortbread recipe that takes just 25 minutes! (Or, skip the baking – buy cookies from a local baker). Package the cookies in a cute jar or coffee mug or just wrap in cellophane with a pretty ribbon. Tip: Don’t want to deliver sweets? Drop off a crossword puzzle book or puzzle randomly to a friend.
2. Let someone go in front of you in line at the store who only has a few items.
3. Include everyone. Try to make sure everyone in a Zoom conversation feels included. How? Ask them their thoughts and end it with a compliment.
4. Tip Extra! Tip your next grocery or food deliverer a larger than average amount – and tell them you appreciate their work.
5. Mail carrier love. Leave a coffee gift certificate in the mailbox for your mail carrier – with a handwritten note of appreciation. Here is what you are legally allowed to give them.
6. Random compliments. Email a former teacher, old employer, co-worker, friend, or other person from your past who made a difference. Make it just a few sentences.
7. Help a caregiver. Caregivers rarely have time to think of themselves and sometimes need someone to just do something thoughtful for THEM. Doing so, may give them the emotional uplift they need to keep going. Drop off a pot of soup. Go for a classic, hardy vegetable soup – and make it extra exciting by including a fresh loaf of crusty bread!
8. Snow blow! The next time it snows, snow blow/shovel the sidewalk for your whole street – or to one neighbor who may be in need.
9. Let someone else do the talking. Make a phone call to someone you know who may be lonely and just let them talk. Start a conversation that has nothing to do with the pandemic – such as asking about their loved ones, or about the books they may be reading. If they don’t pick up the phone, leave a voicemail that cheerfully lists three things you admire about that person.
10. Give away something for free on the Facebook Marketplace – be it a plant, an old picture frame or a pretty tea cup.
12. Running an errand? Call an elderly neighbor (or a busy parent with young kids) and ask if they need anything while you’re out! If you are having groceries delivered, ask if they need to tag onto your list.
13. Lastly, do something for yourself. Order a cozy new pair of pajamas online – or treat yourself to that spa-like bath with music, candles and all! Buy yourself a bathtub caddy – and maybe one for a friend, too!