Your to-do list probably includes things like going grocery shopping, doing the laundry, sending out a few work emails, and other relatively routine tasks. However, as we all must coexist on this planet, perhaps we should make time in our schedule to contribute to the happiness of others as well. Maybe if everyone performed acts of kindness each day, the world would look just a little brighter.
Especially now as so many people struggle financially and emotionally from the pandemic, adding kind acts to our everyday routine could make a huge difference in someone’s life. It doesn’t have to cost you anything or take much effort to show kindness to someone else. Plus, you’ll leave a lasting imprint on their life, and they might just get inspired to pass along the kindness too.
If you’ve ever personally experienced an act of kindness, you know that it made your entire day, and maybe even your year. We have become so engrossed in responsibilities and daily life that kindness seems rare, but it shouldn’t be this way. We can all do our part to reach out in this world and help make someone’s journey a little easier. Below, we have some ideas for kind acts that you may want to add to your bucket list.
Here are 10 acts of kindness you should add to your to-do list:
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
1 – Surprise your parents with a visit and help them with chores around the house.
As our parents get older and we get busy in our own lives, we may not see them as often as we should. If you’ve been caught up with life and haven’t seen your parents in a while, why not plan a trip and surprise them? Elderly parents may suffer from loneliness and depression, even if they don’t live alone. You can add a lot of happiness and comfort to their life by visiting often and taking time to bond with them.
Plus, while you visit, you can offer to help out with any chores around the house. Maybe they need assistance paying bills, picking up dry cleaning, raking leaves, or something else they haven’t gotten around to yet. You could also go the extra mile and cook them a nice, homemade meal to show how much you love them. No matter how small it seems to you, your parents will thoroughly appreciate and enjoy anything you do for them, especially as they get older.
However, with the current health crisis, make sure to exercise caution when visiting aging or elderly parents. Use these tips in order to minimize risk when visiting older relatives.
2 – Donate unused or lightly used items to a charity.
During a time when many people have lost their jobs and feel very unsettled about life in general, we can help ease their mind by donating items they may need. Any clothes or shoes you no longer wear, games that have started collecting dust in your closet, or books you haven’t opened in ages could benefit someone else.
Go through your house and decide what you can part with, or donate to local nonprofits who may need additional help during the pandemic. For example, you could donate blood to the American Red Cross, as they have been facing shortages due to the virus. Also, check and see if your local food bank needs any items, in particular, to help feed the community during this time.
We all have things lying around the house that we probably don’t use anymore that someone else could benefit from. Donating to homeless shelters is also a good idea as more people have unfortunately lost their homes or apartments due to the pandemic.
3 – Leave inspirational messages on people’s windshields.
Many people need hope in these difficult times, and you could help inspire them with positive messages. To do this one, you could simply print out motivational quotes that you find online, or write your own messages on index cards. Then, go to a crowded parking lot such as a grocery store or mall and stick the cards underneath people’s wipers. Of course, some of them may just crumple it up and not read it, assuming it’s an ad, but it could have the potential to light up someone’s heart.
If you haven’t added this to your bucket list, it’s such an easy way to show kindness, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make a difference.
4 – Become a pen pal or virtual companion to someone in a nursing home.
As most nursing homes have banned visitors, for the time being, the residents have no one to talk to during the day, and this can get incredibly lonely. Some nursing homes have posted on Facebook or reached out to news outlets to ask the public about offering their friendship to these beautiful souls. Nursing homes all over the country have started asking for penpals or virtual companions, so reach out to any assisted living centers in your area if you wish to participate.
This is such a beautiful way to show kindness to some of the people who need it the most, so if you haven’t, you should definitely add this to your bucket list.
5 – Offer to go grocery shopping or do errands for vulnerable people in your community.
If you want to add this to your to-do list, you could either sign up for a delivery service such as Instacart or post on Facebook that you’re offering to deliver groceries. Right now, many elderly and immunocompromised people don’t want to go in crowded places like grocery stores. You could help them out by going shopping for them or any other errands that they don’t feel comfortable doing right now.
6 – Give extra tips (if you can) to service workers.
Right now, service workers have been affected more than any other sector of the economy, so any help you can give right now would be much appreciated. Whether you go out to eat or order in, consider giving a little extra as a tip if you can to support a hardworking delivery driver or waiter/waitress. Or, if you go somewhere that has a tip jar on the counter, you can use this as an opportunity to show some extra kindness.
7 – Pay for someone’s groceries.
If you can, offer to pay for the person in front of you. Many foods have gone up in price since the economy has shrunk, and you never know who really needs some help. Of course, if it’s a big bill, you could always offer to pay for a portion of it, as it’s the thought that counts. While you check grocery shopping off your to-do list, you can help someone else with their weekly shopping, too.
8 – Pick up trash in your community.
You could either do this alone or organize a trash pickup (with social distancing rules, of course) in your city. Unfortunately, many masks and gloves have been tossed in waterways or on land, which only adds to the trash we already have. So, you can do your part by taking a few hours on the weekend to clean up in your area. Perhaps it can become a weekly or monthly thing if you get an organized group together to join you.
9 – Smile at strangers.
This may seem like it wouldn’t make a big impact, but you never know whose day you could make with a simple smile. Most people have a lot on their minds and may not have a lot to look forward to, but a warm smile from a stranger could remind them of the good that still exists in this world. Especially now with so much turmoil going on, we could all use some more smiles. Make it a point to smile at anyone you pass; perhaps this could help strike up a conversation with someone who needs a listening ear.
Little things like this often make the biggest difference, so make sure to add it to your bucket list.
10 – Send “thank you” cards to anyone in your community who makes a difference.
Think of firefighters, EMTs, nurses, doctors, teachers, soldiers, or anyone else who does so much for humanity as a whole. Everyone makes a difference in some way, but many first responders and educators don’t get the appreciation and respect they deserve. Writing a small “thank you” note to them lets them know that their actions don’t go unnoticed.
Final thoughts on acts of kindness to add to your to-do list
If you need something to put on your bucket list, try out the ones we listed above if you want to make a difference in someone’s life. We often think of skydiving or traveling to Paris as common bucket list items, but helping others feels a million times better than just fulfilling our own desires. Kindness, when shared, can make a ripple effect that changes the lives of thousands. Never stop being kind, because it does make a difference.