midlife, personal growth

Thoughtful Acts of Kindness During These Trying Times Can Make All the Difference

Image of heart-shaped planet earth depicting Cheers to Chapter Two Thoughtful Acts of Kindness During These Trying Times Can Make All the Difference

These are difficult times we’re in and we could all use a little help to feel a little better.

Thoughtful acts of kindness not only help the recipient feel better, but they’ll help you feel better too.

Exercising extraordinary generosity and performing thoughtful acts can be a surefire way for you to replace negativity and instead, invite in – and spread – positive thoughts and emotions to settle fraying nerves.

I hear you – how can we be generous when we’re staying home (stressing) and when we’re being careful about spending.

It can be done! Open your mind and your heart. You can find creative ways to be generous. And those acts will absolutely help you feel a little bit less anxious.

“Sometimes, all it takes is one kind word to nourish another person.” – (Mr.) Fred Rogers

Here are several thoughtful acts to help us step up and out of our own anxiety by showing kindness to someone else.

1. Postmark some cheer.

Write a simple, encouraging I’m thinking of you or I miss you note and snail mail it. Imagine how nice it will be for the recipient to open your caring and thoughtful message. How they’ll feel that you took the time to write and physically mail it to them.

No postage? Maybe leave a sweet thank you for your service note for your postal delivery person taped to your mailbox. Feel your heart expanding a little?!

2. Pick some posies.

If you live where you can get outside safely and you have any budding trees or early spring flowers in your yard, snip a few, tie a ribbon on it and leave it on your neighbor’s driveway. Or on the ground near the bottom of someone’s mailbox down the street that you pass while you’re walking the dog for the hundredth time.

3. Send a pic or video.

Most of us are all feeling the effects of human-contact-deprivation. Especially those who live alone or are unable to get out at all. If they have a smart phone and/or email, you can send pictures or short videos.

Think about how much it means when you see your loved ones’ faces. Your kids, your parents, your coworkers, your sister.

Notes are nice, but a photo or short video are worth a million notes. DO it! It doesn’t matter that you look unkempt and messy. It doesn’t matter that you have nothing earth-shattering to report. Just smile or say hello I love you and send it!

“The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love.” – Glennon Doyle, Carry On Warrior

Simply creating a sending a little piece of yourself to someone you care about will immediately help you breathe out a little anxiety and let a loved one know how much they are thought of.

4. Pick up the phone.

We’ve gotten so used to the convenience of messaging that calling someone on the phone can almost feel intrusive. Like if you showed up at someone’s door unexpectedly.

I assure you it’s not intrusive, and in fact, it’s sooooo necessary, especially now when we’re all missing each other.

Like the photos and videos, hearing someone’s voice is special. There is tone and breath and inflection. There is spontaneity and emotion. It is meaningful and kind to get on the phone to check on someone and to hear each other’s voices. Go call right now!

5. Give it away.

Certainly, many of us have tidied our closets and pantry and who knows what else during this quarantine. Who knew I had somehow collected 42 pillowcases over the years in my disorganized and overstuffed linen closet?

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

This is an opportunity to be generous to those in need. Thirty-eight of those pillowcases are now rewashed, folded and in a bag ready to go to our local thrift shop.

What can you part with to help someone else? Maybe extra towels or soaps to help your local animal shelter. Extra toilet paper you hoarded that you could spare to an elderly neighbor who can’t shop on their own. The Shutterfly coupons that are collecting dust in the event you might use them, that might better serve your friend’s daughter-in-law who is expecting a baby.

Pack it, bag it, box it, mail it! You’ll feel so good to tidy up and it’s extra satisfying to know your extra stuff might help someone else.

6. Couch coach someone.

Might this be the perfect time to reach out to your friend, partner, sister, who was dreaming of going back to school or starting her own business and coach her into taking action?! Even though we’re sheltering in place it doesn’t mean the world will never open back up again. Eventually business will resume, schools will reopen, and life will get busy again.

“You don’t need money to reach out with your hand.” – Mother Teresa

Why not encourage someone to start laying out the plans for how to make their dreams happen? Sometimes all we need to believe and get moving is the generous and loving encouragement of a friend. And you can give all that extraordinary coaching from the comfort of your couch!

Who knows, maybe that excitement you’ve revved up for your friend will rub off on you and help you shift your mind (and your doopa) into gear on your own dream-making plans!

7. Send in the clowns.

Humor never hurts. Share something funny with a friend, or on social media, or in a text, or on a call. If you came across a funny meme or saying or joke – share it! Making someone smile or giggle counts as a thoughtful act of kindness!

Think of someone you know who is alone or going through a more difficult time right now than you are, share it with them. Maybe preface it with an I know you are going through a hard time so I thought you could use a smile.

Find a way to share a childhood photo or silly story with a friend or relative through email or via text. Think of how pleasantly distracting it is to receive those fun messages and turn it around for someone else.

A little humor just might be the most thoughtful thing someone needs right now to get them through this trying time.

8. Give a recommendation or write a review to support a local business.

Getting tired of watching the same four walls, or need a break from your Netflix habit? How about going online to give an honest thoughtful recommendation or a kind review of one of your favorite local businesses or businesspersons?

Share the love that pre-pandemic, your amazing local [carpet guy, pool girl, pizza place, florist, pediatrician, deli, yoga teacher, web designer, hairdresser] did the most wonderful job for you and how you can’t wait to shop there, call them, eat there, use their services again as soon as we are set free from our homes (or sooner if they’re business is online)!

I guarantee that your review will mean a great deal to them, and that you will feel pretty, pretty, pretttttty good (too many episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm under my belt) leaving a genuine and kind review.

There are far too many ways to spread simple acts of kindness to list here! The first eight were cost-free, but if you’re not pinching pennies…

9. Show them the money.

If you’re not experiencing a financial squeeze, your acts of generosity might include donations to organizations you care about that are suffering, or to local food pantries, or a local family in need.

The point is that generously helping someone else feel better with thoughtful acts of kindness will also make you feel better.

Especially when you’re feeling anxious, depressed and frazzled with fear.

There’s no quicker way to help yourself breathe easier and feel calmer and more grounded than by opening your heart and being generous with love and kindness. It can make all the difference, to both of you. – Marlene


If you or someone you care about is struggling with anxiety right now, you might find these related posts helpful:

Tips on How to Handle Anxiety During the Pandemic

Learn to Be Happy Right Now Amidst the Pandemic – Here’s How

When Life Isn’t What You Had Planned


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