Saturday 13th November 2021 is World Kindness Day.
Being kind is such an easy thing to do, with potentially humungous consequences, but it’s not the norm – most of us are so busy and stressed out that we rush through life not giving too much thought to the needs and feelings of others, let alone our own needs. But the good news is, we don’t need to make massive changes in order to make a big difference. Just making a few small changes that then become habitual can have huge positive consequences.
When people talk about acts of kindness, they are often split into three groups: kindness to others, to ourselves and to the environment. On World Kindness Day, we challenge you to think up two small actions within each category that you can easily incorporate into your life until it becomes so routine you don’t even think about it. We guarantee that you will feel better for it!
So, how can you be kind to yourself? Little things such as doing a 10 minute meditation or weights workout before bed; having one day a week without using social media; making the effort to catch up with a friend on a regular basis; a day a month where you take a day off to sit in a sunny window or a cosy chair and just read, or spend time doing a hobby. Basically, think of some little things that would really make you feel good and consider how you can realistically fit them into your life.
Being kind to others perhaps comes more naturally to most of us than being kind to ourselves, so it shouldn’t be difficult to come up with a couple of new habits in this category. Things like phoning a friend or family member each week; smiling at two strangers each day…or ten per week; texting a friend each day on waking up; offering to do some weekly shopping for an elderly neighbour; organising a fundraising activity once a year; letting someone go in front of you in traffic each day; cleaning the communal fridge or microwave. The list is endless really, so let your imagination go wild!
Environmental acts of kindness are often harder to come up with, and a bit more difficult to implement, but no less important as they can benefit entire communities. Why not take part in a wildlife survey every few months; litter-pick once a month while you are out for a walk; leave seed out regularly for the birds; shorten your showers each day, or have fewer baths each week; switch appliances off at the plug each night before you go to bed; car share with someone once a week. Search the internet for ‘environmental acts of kindness’ for hundreds of ideas you probably wouldn’t even consider.
The key with all of these is to set your own parameters so that these actions are achievable. Once you have decided what you will do, we suggest you write them down somewhere as a daily reminder. And if you are struggling to stick to any of them, don’t be afraid to have a re-think and come up with something that fits your life better.
Happy World Kindness Day!
First published on the Student Life blog.