National Random Acts of Kindness day is celebrated annually on the 17th February. So, in a bid to do my part, I decided to task myself to do a random act of kindness every day of the hectic working week, without spending a penny.
Sure, it would have been easy to buy my colleagues some coffees but there’s no real thought or sentiment to that. So, my task involved challenging myself whilst giving a little happiness to the people around me. Here’s how I got on…
Day 1: Help fight the Monday blues
I’m sure everyone will agree, Monday is shit (unless you’re travelling). Add this to a rainy cold winters Monday and it’s really shit. So, to cast some sun over the Monday gloom, I headed to Pinterest to find some inspirational quotes to help inspire and motivate everyone and anyone. I scattered these around the office, in the toilets, in the gym, on the train and even in my housemate’s bedrooms. And the result? It generally seemed to cheer people up, and it definitely lifted my spirits whilst I was on my quest for quotes.
Day 2: Compliment 5 people throughout the day
Sounds easy, right? Well it was. Except, I’m not one for handing out meaningless compliments so 5 in one day was really pushing it for me. I had to choose my subjects wisely, whilst being genuine about my compliments. It was a great way to spark conversation with my colleagues and strangers, and it simply just made everyone smile. Learnings? Maybe I should just be a little kinder with my compliments every day, it’s a great conversation opener and makes people happy.
Day 3: Write my partner a list of things I love about them
This one was pretty well timed as Valentine’s day fell on day 3 of my mission. So, I decided to go that little bit further when it came to writing my v-day card and list out the answer to his continuous question ‘why me?’. It turns out there are a never-ending amount of reasons why it’s him I love, but there was only so much space in the card. It’s fair to say my message brought a beaming smile to his face, and gave me the chance to put something into writing that I can never quite articulate in words.
Day 4: Just smile
Yup, you read that right, literally just smile. If you don’t live in London you probably think I’m getting very lazy with my acts of kindness right now but it’s crazy how little people smile at you during the working week. Everyone rushes around the place, looking down at their phones or newspaper with no eye contact, let alone a smile. So, smiling was a rarity, and something I shamelessly found a little awkward. Smiling at people on the train, in the street, across the office – I was greeted with a fair few confused faces, but there were also a few people that surprisingly smiled back making my embarrassment much more bearable.
Day 5: Help the homeless
The amount of homeless people in London is on the up, it’s so saddening how many I come across on my daily commute. The same familiar faces sneak onto the train to get some shelter and ask for money. Obviously, this week there was no money donations coming from me, so instead I made sure I had food on me at all times, whether it was fruit from my house, breakfast bars, or even giving up my own packed lunch, every time I saw a homeless person I gave them some food and it definitely made me feel a little better in myself. Plus, I was assured that what I was giving them would go to good use.
What did I learn?
Overall the week taught me that it is possible to do random acts of kindness for free, and achieve that rewarding feeling whilst putting a smile on people’s faces, and even my own. Sure, it was a little tricky, but it was definitely worth it!