Do you remember the last time someone did something unexpected for you that brought a smile to your face? From a stranger holding a door open to a loved one paying you a compliment, it can be the small things that make us feel seen, connected and appreciated.
Random acts of kindness are when we put someone else’s wellbeing ahead of our own, even momentarily. On a larger scale that might be regular volunteering, but on a day-to-day level it can be as small as letting someone into the supermarket queue ahead of you.
Today’s a great day to start thinking about and performing random acts of kindness. At Like Family, we’re big believers in kindness so we’d really love to hear about what random acts of kindness you’ve done, been the receiver of or witnessed.
Studies have shown that performing an act of kindness is linked to increased feelings of wellbeing for the giver, as well as the receiver so it’s a win-win all round.
Around 20% of Australians live with a disability, illness or injury, a lot of which don’t present in obvious ways such as a wheelchair or support animal. So doing a random of act of kindness for a stranger could mean you’re helping someone with a disability as well.
At Like Family, our network of support workers and Social Carers witness and participate in hundreds of these random acts of kindness every day. Whether they’re working with people with a disability or in aged care, kindness is all about what we do.
So if you want to brighten someone’s day, and make yourself feel good in the process, Like Family have put together our top ten easy random acts of kindness.
1. Pay a compliment
Paying a compliment to someone really makes them feel special. The cashier at the checkout who’s packed your groceries considerately, a loved one who’s tried with their appearance, or even a few kind words about a friend’s photo on social media, a few simple words of kindness will bring a smile to someone’s face.
2. Pay it forward
The next time you buy a coffee, see if your coffee shop has a Pay It Forward scheme and pay for a coffee for someone who might need one. Or pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the queue.
3. Hold the door
We’re all busy every day but stopping to hold the door open, saving the lift from going or letting someone else onto the bus before you might just make their day a little easier.
4. Make a cuppa
It doesn’t take long to make a cup of tea but seeing the look on someone’s face as you give them a surprise treat, is special.
5. Give up your seat
If you’ve got a seat on the bus or train, give it up for someone else. Older people, those with small children or people with a disability might really need to sit down but offering your seat to anyone is a lovely gesture. After all you don’t know what sort of day they’ve had, and you might just turn it round.
6. Do a chore, or two, without being asked
When there’s a lot to do around the house, picking up an extra chore or two can make the world of difference. Fold the laundry, empty the dishwasher, make the beds and you’ve lightened the load for someone else. If you’re a Like Family support worker doing an extra chore as your daily act of kindness is a good place to start.
7. Make a cake
When someone lives alone, is unwell or finds kitchen activities difficult, what nicer thing is there than to receive a homemade cake, or even a meal, from someone who has thought about them.
8. Make a ‘thank you’ special
If there’s someone in your life that’s helped you, maybe a teacher, support worker or social carer, or even a regular delivery person, take a moment to write them a small thank you card. Although a small gesture, it will really help them feel appreciated. If you’re a member or NDIS participant you could thank your support worker with a written thank you note to let them know how much you appreciate them.
9. Spend some time
If you have an older person in your life or someone who spends a lot of time on their own, simply spending some time with them is a wonderful kindness. Read them a book, go on a walk or for a coffee or play a board game. The gift of time is priceless.
10. Be kind to yourself
It’s easy to forget about ourselves and our own wellbeing, so occasionally spare a thought about what little act of kindness you could treat yourself too. A relaxing bath, a new book, a night binge watching your favourite show, whatever is your own treat.
Reaching out with random acts of kindness to strangers, friends, colleagues and family in small yet meaningful ways, can help strengthen the bonds of connection we have to each other and our community.
And being on the receiving end of a random act of kindness is wonderful for anyone but older people or those living with a physical or intellectual disability are often those that would find it extra special.
Spreading a little kindness is makes us all feel good. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”