We enter the new year with a new appreciation for the little things. While 2020 might not have been what we expected, we have learned that small acts of love and kindness can help us through challenging times.
February is typically a month of love. We break out the love puns, try our hand at a cheesy pick-up line or two, indulge in sweets and spend time with those we care about. This year, show your appreciation from a distance with 14 days of socially-distant love and kindness.
We have a different random act of kindness that can be practiced each day leading up to Valentine’s Day. Read through to find corresponding tips and printables to help you show affection.
Use this calendar to track your progress as you complete the challenge. Each day you finish an act of kindness, add a check mark to the corresponding heart.
Day 1: Send a Letter of Encouragement
Many are going through a tough time. If they are disheartened from a difficult year, some words of encouragement can go a long way. Do you already have someone in mind? Send them a handwritten letter with a personal message.
If you aren’t sure who to write to, your uplifting words might be helpful for a stranger. Here are a list of organizations that send letters to people going through a tough time:
- Cardz For Kidz – send handmade cards to sick and recovering children and seniors.
- Cards for Hospitalized Kids – send cards to lonely hospitalized kids.
- More Love Letters – send cards to those in need. Check their website to find monthly card requests.
- Love For Our Elders – help fight loneliness by sending cards to seniors.
- Cards of Hope – send cards to foster youth who might not receive cards for their birthday, special occasions or just because.
- The Letter Project – write letters to girls around the world, who are in need of extra love and support.
- Letters to Strangers – write heartfelt letters to offer support to those going through difficult times.
Some of these organizations have specific requests and requirements for their cards. Others are more flexible. If you aren’t sure what to include in your letter, consider these ideas.
- Tell a story of a time you went through a hardship and what you learned.
- Share words of encouragement that have helped you in the past.
- Include your favorite poem or song lyrics.
- Tell a funny story or joke that made you smile.
You might also consider adding this printable coloring page in your letter. Coloring has been proven to help reduce anxiety and improve moods. Include one of these coloring inserts into your letter for an encouraging activity for the recipient.
Day 2: Bake a Treat for Your Neighbor
There’s nothing sweeter than getting sweets! Bake a treat for your neighbor to enjoy with their coffee or as a dessert after a tough day. If your neighbor has a pet, you might consider baking some pet treats too.
Some goodies you can bake:
- Lemon bars
- Pet treats
Package your treats in containers or jars and add this printable tag. Be sure to include a list of ingredients on the back of the label, just in case they have any food allergies.
Day 3: Leave a Positive Review
Many local businesses are having a hard time. When you can, order out from your favorite local restaurant. Purchase a gift card from businesses that aren’t open or have limited offerings during this time.
If you aren’t able to support these establishments financially, you can easily help them with your words. Take the time to leave positive reviews for your favorite businesses. Engage with them on social media by following, liking their posts and sharing their content. This little gesture can make a big difference for a small business.
Day 4: Give a Compliment
Another way to use your words for a positive impact is to give a compliment to someone you wouldn’t normally. Do you have a coworker who is looking especially cheerful on Zoom? Let them know that their smile is contagious. While at the grocery store, does the cashier have a cool outfit? Let them know you like their style. This small gesture can make someone’s day.
Day 5: Create a Pick-Me-Up Kit
We all have down days. If someone has the sniffles or is just going a little stir-crazy, drop off a pick-me-up kit on their doorstep. When you leave, text them to let them know they have a surprise on their doorstep.
Items you can include in a pick-me-up kit:
Arrange these items in a bag or box. Top it off with a cheerful printable tag.
Day 6: Bring Flowers to an Essential Worker
Throughout the past year, essential employees have been working tirelessly. They deserve mountains of gratitude. A simple way to show your appreciation is by bringing or sending flowers to an essential worker.
Bring flowers by a hospital for the nurses. Leave a vase of flowers out for the postal workers. Take a plant to a teacher. Buy flowers for your grocery store cashier.
This small gesture will bring a little joy to their day and keep their spirits high throughout the week.
Day 7: Send Someone a Candid Photo
Take the time to go through your photos. Text any candid photos to the people they are of with an uplifting note. It’s rare to get a good photo that’s not a selfie, so they’ll be surprised and happy to receive this gem.
Find any group photos? Send them to the group to remind them of a happy memory. Reminisce and appreciate these cherished times.
Day 8: Leave a Note in a Loved One’s Lunch
A surprise note is bound to make anyone smile. If you pack your kid’s lunch, include a cute printable note. You can also sneak a note into your significant other’s lunch or work bag. If they are working from home or participating in school virtually, tape the notes to the back of a snack they might grab during a snack break.
Day 9: Pay for Someone Behind You in Line
When you get a gift, no matter how big or small, you feel special that someone took the time to recognize you. Do the same for a stranger by surprising them with a free item. If you are getting coffee, pay for the person behind you in line. Going to the drive-in theater? Pay for tickets for the car behind you. This small gesture can make a big difference.
If you don’t have the financial means to do this, you can offer your time instead. If someone behind you at the grocery store has less items than you, consider letting them go first. They’ll appreciate the time you saved them.
Day 10: Start a Gratitude Journal
While spreading the love this month, be sure you’re focusing on self-love as well. Starting a gratitude journal is a great way to acknowledge all the things you’re thankful for. Gratitude journals have also been proven to make people more optimistic and generally happier with their life.
This doesn’t need to be a daily practice. Instead, once a week you can write down five things that you’re grateful for. Reflecting on the past week with gratitude will help you create a more optimistic outlook on life.
Day 11: Clean Up Your Community
The simple task of beautifying your neighborhood can brighten someone’s day. Walk around and collect any trash you find on the street. Is there a patch of dirt in front of a shop nearby? Ask if you can plant some flowers. Write encouraging notes in chalk on the sidewalk. Taking the time to clean up the neighborhood and add some color will make it more enjoyable for all.
Day 12: Give Yourself a Break
Another way to show kindness to yourself is by giving yourself a break. You can’t help others if you aren’t rested and healthy. Take a day off to relax and reset. Turn off your technology and focus on yourself rather than others. Read a book. Try an art project you’ve been meaning to try. Make a healthy meal to enjoy. By simply taking the day, you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle what life has in store for you.
Day 13: Give a Friend a Favorite Book
We all have a bookshelf of books that we read once and probably won’t pick up again. Instead of letting them gather dust, give them away. Send your favorite books to friends who you think would enjoy them. Any books that you don’t send, donate to your local library or leave them at a Little Free Library in your neighborhood.
Want to make it more special? Include one of these printable bookmarks in the book. Write a short message of encouragement or share a comment about what the book meant to you.
Day 14: Leave a Love Note in a Stranger’s Mailbox
Some people may dread Valentine’s Day because they don’t have someone special to share it with. Brighten their day by creating a hand-made Valentine that reminds them how loved they are. Leave these love notes in stranger’s mailboxes so they have an unexpected surprise when they check the mail.
At the end of these 14 days of love and kindness, you’ll have spread joy to loved ones and strangers. Need a unique way to show someone you care this Valentine’s Day? Pair one of Redbubble’s budget-friendly gifts with a funny card created by independent artists, to put a smile on someone’s face.