With 2021 comes a renewed sense of hope. However, we still have some months to go in order to get back to a sense of ‘normalcy’—if that’s even still a thing. Remember when interacting with friends, loved ones and even strangers without masks and social distancing? People in your everyday life may be struggling more than you know. So what can you do to help? Check out these five ways to spread kindness, despite the challenging times we’re experiencing.
1. Lend a Hand
If you’re able, consider helping others. Lending a hand could be as simple as making time to listen to someone who may be struggling. Or, it could mean helping out with a task where more hands are needed. Twice the hands means half the time it takes to complete a task. Maybe your elderly neighbor needs some help shoveling the driveway, or a high-risk family needs groceries delivered due to the pandemic. However you’re able, consider lending a hand!
2. Walk in Their Shoes
The easiest way to spread kindness is to first understand what other people may be going through. When you see someone struggling, ask yourself how you would feel if you were put into the same circumstances. To truly understand what those who are struggling may be going through, volunteer at an organization that is helping out in your community. This will help you give back, all while gaining a better understanding of what others may be going through in today’s unexpected climate.
3. Practice Active Listening
This means devoting yourself to truly taking in the information and understanding what the person is trying to tell you. A great tactic to practice active listening involves paraphrasing the information you just heard and repeating it back to the person telling you the information. This helps validate that you’re correctly understanding what they’re saying.
4. Show Empathy
When someone shares with you that they are going through a difficult time show empathy. Thank the person for having the courage to open up about whatever they may be going through. Express how difficult the situation must be, and offer kind words of empathy to show that you are truly trying to understand what they must be feeling. Even if you haven’t been in their situation, empathy can go a long way to show that you care.
5. Brighten Someone’s Day
Small acts of kindness only take a little amount of time to complete, yet they make a huge difference. Write a note for a friend or family member you appreciate and let them know how much they mean to you. Scrape your neighbor’s car window before work after you’ve done your own. Deliver a basket of baked goods to brighten somebody’s day. Your kindness will create a smile.
These are difficult times for all of us, and every action you make has the opportunity to provide kindness in the wake of loss and uncertainty. Actions as simple as listening and providing empathetic responses can go a long way to ease the hard times someone may be enduring. Do what you can to spread kindness.