"Bee" Kind: 10 Simple Acts of Kindness by Katie Gustafson February 28, 2017 17:44
Everyone appreciates kindness.
Think about it. We’ve all had those days- you know, one of those days- when the world seems like it’s over. Maybe you’re stressed, lonely, at your wit’s end, wondering how tomorrow will ever be better, but then someone does something unexpected to show you that they care. It’s amazing how a small gesture can make a huge difference when you are having a rough time. Kindness is also a gift that keeps on giving; doing something kind for someone else can often bring some softness and warmth into your own heart. However, even with its universal appreciation, it can be surprisingly hard to remember to show some extra kindness sometimes. Weird, right?
I think this is because acts of kindness have to be intentional. That’s just their nature. And if we’re not being mindful, it’s way too easy to default to a pattern of self-focus. Personally, I tend to get caught up in the things I want, or that I need to get done, or even in worrying about how others will perceive me. For instance, maybe I do want to reach out to someone, but I’ll worry that the person will think I’m weird or overstepping my bounds. Now maybe that’s just me—but I suspect it’s true for many of us.
So how do we break out of survival mode and cultivate a habit of kindness? I think the answer is pretty simple: be intentional and practice! Meaningful acts of kindness don’t have to be invasive, expensive, or even time-consuming. Sometimes the small gestures can say “I’m thinking of you,” even more than the big ones. With that in mind, here are 10 simple ideas to help you “Bee Kind” to someone today.
1. Encouraging Words
Whether it’s a handwritten note slipped onto a co-worker’s desk or even a short message texted to a friend, some specific and thoughtful words can be a powerful way of brightening someone’s day. It doesn’t even have to be related to anything specific that’s been going on, just a simple, “I’m so glad you’re in my life because_________,” or “I’m thinking of you and hoping ___________for you today!”
The well-known psychologist Virginia Satir once said, "We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." Hugs are not only reassurance of affection, they also prompt the human body to produce oxytocin-- the “cuddle chemical” that’s good for your emotional and physical health. So if you know someone hasn’t been hugged much lately, give them a good hug next time you see them (or maybe several hugs.) Just make sure they aren’t hug-a-phobic first.
3. A Little Something
A practical little “just because” gift can also make people feel cared for and appreciated (in the South, we call these “happies”). These kinds of gifts don’t have to cost much. Simply think about something the recipient will use often: a funky pack of Post-Its for the note taker, a funny mug for the coffee addict. If you know some lavender lovers, we have some perfect “little somethings,” at Bee in Bloom such as: Bee Soft lavender lip balm ($4), Bee Sanitized lavender hand sanitizer ($5) or some 2 oz. Bee Smooth hand cream ($5).
4. Hungry Heart
Cooking, bringing, or buying someone food is one of the most basic kindnesses of all. Whether you invite a new friend to your home for a made-from-scratch dinner, pick up the tab for a stranger’s meal, or bring your neighbor some of the chocolate chip cookies you just baked—providing food is a straightforward way to say, “I care about you.” There are probably a million ways you can put your own unique spin on this. One idea I like is to create a “dinner in a basket” for someone. Write out a recipe card for one of your favorite, simple go-to meals and load up a basket (or box) with all the required ingredients. I like this one for friends who enjoy cooking, because it still gives them their “cooking therapy,” minus the planning and shopping.
5. A Thing of Beauty
For the visual person in your life, consider bringing him or her something that will brighten up a workspace or living room: a candle, a drawing or printed out photo, or even a bouquet of flowers (or bundle of lavender)! It’s an aesthetic reminder to the recipient that you wanted to bring some cheer to their day.
6. Relieve the Pressure Points
While it may not be something you want to do for just anyone, a quick hand, neck or neck message can be a wonderful way of showing kindness. Especially when that person has a headache or has been stressed, they’ll likely jump at your offer to help them with their tight shoulders or throbbing temples. If you have some of our lavender oil or refreshing spray on hand, you could incorporate it into the message to make it even more relaxing. The lavender mint Bee Smooth is also one of my favorite weapons against a tension headache.
7. “Read this!”
My grandfather used to clip things out of the newspaper that he thought would interest me: articles about local authors or ballet performances, usually. I’d receive them in the mail a week after they’d been published, with a little note scribbled towards the top of the article that said something like, “Thought you’d want to know!” Especially for people who read a lot, the act of setting aside a particular article or loaning out a favorite book, “just because it made me think of you,” means so much! It’s like saying, “Your interests were on my mind,” or “I saw you in this.”
8. Create Calm
Another way you can show kindness to someone is to help create a calm space for them. Basically, this involves acts of service like offering to clean or organize a part of their house. Like the last item, this one depends upon the recipient. Some people may get stressed out if you offer to help them clean/organize, but others love it! Primarily, I would suggest thinking about the new moms you might know for this one, because they sometimes have a lot of people coming to hold their baby (which is what they want to be doing) and not enough people coming to do their dishes (which is what they don’t want to be doing). Diffuse some lavender essential oil while you’re doing those dishes to set a relaxing atmosphere.
9. Take a Hike
(Or a walk. Side note: if you do decide to take an actual hike, don’t forget to bring some Bee Safe bug-repelling sunscreen.) Inviting someone to go on a walk with you is different than a lot of social activities because you are committing to a relatively quiet, distraction free activity that’s focused on companionship and self-care. In a world full of non-stop stimulus, opting to walk and talk with someone is a way of loving them through excellent quality time
10. “Bee” Present
Lastly, one way to “bee kind” is to also “bee present.” A listening ear, a tender heart, a careful response—these things mean a lot when they are needed. Sometimes there is nothing kinder than a simple, old-fashioned visit or a phone call just to ask, “How are you today?”
Did any of these acts resonate with you? What are some specific ways you like to show kindness to others?
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”