Health Advocate Blog

Small kindnesses to help those around you

World Kindness Day is coming up–it takes place each year on November 13. This important day focuses on doing small kindnesses for others. When you do something kind for another person, everyone benefits! It can make you feel good to do something nice for someone else. And it can make the recipient of your kindness feel cared for, appreciated, and help lift their spirits. Try focusing on making someone smile through random acts of kindness. The best part: Your kindness doesn’t have to cost much except a little time!

Consider these free and low-cost kindnesses:

For friends and family:

  • Lend a friend your favorite book
  • Send a positive text message to 5 people you know
  • Put your phone down when in the company of others
  • Write a note to a friend or family member telling them how much you appreciate them
  • Offer to watch a friend’s child for a few hours so they can do something for themselves
  • Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while
  • Find an old picture of you and a friend, write a note about the happy memory on the back of the photo, and mail it to them

For your significant other:

  • Stick a sticky note on their pillow, mirror or dashboard to tell them how much you appreciate them
  • Sneak a small, special treat into their lunch bag to brighten their day
  • Say “I love you” when they least expect it
  • Send her/him a text message during the work day to let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Surprise him/her with his/her favorite meal or take-out

For neighbors:

  • Offer to rake your neighbor’s leaves or wash their car
  • Take your neighbors’ newspaper from the bottom of their driveway and leave it at their door
  • Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog during a week you know they’re busy

For coworkers:

  • Bring a homemade treat to work to share with your coworkers
  • Give someone a sincere compliment
  • Offer to take a project off a swamped coworker’s hands
  • Write a note complimenting someone who helped you, and send it to their supervisor
  • Load extra change into the vending machine to buy the next person a drink or snack

For your community and local charitable organizations:

  • Are you eligible for a free Thanksgiving turkey as a reward for racking up points at your local grocery store? Consider asking the store if they can donate your free turkey to a local charitable organization or family in need.
  • Donate books to the nearest “Little Free Library
  • Run or walk a 5K that benefits a charity you support
  • Donate gently used clothing, shoes, or household items to a local organization that accepts them
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen, animal shelter, or homeless shelter
  • Donate blood
  • Drop off some canned goods at your local food bank
  • Volunteer to read to children at a local library or an after-school program
  • Clean out your closet and donate any unwanted clothing and shoes
  • Send a note to your local police department or nurses at your local hospital and thank them for serving the people of your community
  • Offer your mail carrier a bottle of water or a cup of coffee or tea in a to-go cup
  • Participate in a fundraiser
  • Write an encouraging note on a paper or napkin and leave it somewhere it will be found
  • Volunteer at a community event
  • Donate food, blankets or toys to an animal shelter

For strangers:

  • Give customers in stores coupons you are not using, or pass on unused amusement tickets to families as you are leaving the park
  • When dining at a restaurant, thank your server and give them a smile and a compliment (“I really appreciated your quick service!”)
  • Keep bags of winter necessities (gloves, granola bars, hats, bottle of water, etc.) on hand to give out if/when you see someone who might be homeless or could use them
  • When you’re buying your coffee, also buy the coffee of the person in line behind you.
  • When you’re on public transit, offer your seat to someone else
  • At the grocery store, leave your extra/unwanted coupons by the checkout so someone else can use them
  • Leave a book or magazine that you already read on public transit for someone else to pick up and enjoy
  • Buy a lottery ticket for a stranger.
  • Put coins in someone else’s parking meter.
  • Let someone get in front of you in line at the grocery store, bank, etc.


  • Who says random acts of kindness have to be limited to just what humans appreciate? Make a homemade feeder to help backyard birds stay well-fed in the colder weather.
  • Be kind to the planet by gathering your plastic grocery bags and used batteries to places that collect and recycle them.
  • Don’t forget to also be kind to yourself! For World Kindness Day, eliminate negative self-talk, start a gratitude journal, and take a little “you time” to do something relaxing that you enjoy, like reading a book, taking a hot bath, going for a walk, meditating, or cooking yourself a healthy meal.