2.1 Weekly Challenges


50 random acts of kindness pinterest åin

50 examples of Random Acts of Kindness

that you can try to make someone’s day with.

Have you tried any of these before?

Or do you have any we could add to the list?

Join us as we continue our kindness theme and get

ready for our upcoming week-long kindness challenge.


Ilast week’s article, we kicked off the Coaching Couch blog with a theme week about kindness and an introduction to the concept of Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). We learned about “happy hormones” and how kindness, generosity and gratitude can lead to such amazing benefits as pain relief, stress reduction and a happier life.

Today, we will continue this theme looking at examples of Random Acts of Kindness that may serve as inspiration in your quest to brighten up people’s lives. I hope that you will find something that resonates with you in these articles, and I’d love to see you tag along and give the upcoming 7-Day RAK Challenge a go. 

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The concept of performing random acts of kindness every day may be as new to you as it was to me when I first came across it. And even if you are better informed than I once was, it can still be difficult to come up with ideas and make kindness a priority in your life.

With that in mind, I thought it would make sense to pack today’s post full of ideas and examples of things we can do to make someone else’s day a little brighter.

Some of the activities I have listed below cost nothing, and most of them would only take a moment of your time. Others do cost money (from a few pennies up to more substantial amounts) and they may be more time and labour intensive as well. The idea is to pick and choose those ideas that fit your wallet and comfort levels and get started.


Lend a helping hand? A monkey is scratching his friend's back

One of the easiest random acts of kindness, by far, to do is also the one that is easiest to forget about. Lending someone a helping hand is something that can, literally, change their (outlook on) life. At the very least, you may lighten their load for a brief moment in time and make them feel a tad bit better, or even happy, for a while. 

Living in London, where people can be rather unforgiving when someone stands on the wrong side of the escalator, or holds the bus a few seconds longer than necessary, I dreaded getting on public transport after I got my wheelchair. Little did I know that my faith in humanity was about to be restored that first morning, but so it was. I was blown away by the kindness that was bestowed upon me, and all the helping hands that were extended, as I made my way from East London to Heathrow. Never before had the morning commute given me as many reasons to smile and feel good about my day.

Are you thinking of ways you could lend a few helping hands here and there? Consider trying some of the following options:

        • Hold the door for the person behind you, regardless of whether their hands are full or they seem perfectly capable of opening it themselves. Just do it as a random act of kindness. [1]
        • Offer to babysit for parents who really need a night off, or to help a new parent with the nightly feedings so they can get a full night’s sleep. [2]
        • Shovel the driveway for elderly neighbours or someone who may have trouble doing the job themselves. Mowing lawns, raking leaves and taking the bins out are other ideas worth trying.
        • Help someone who is stranded on the side of the road, pick up a hitch-hiker or offer to give someone a lift.
        • Offer to pick up groceries, or run errands, for an elderly, disabled or single-parent friend, neighbour, or acquaintance. This is an especially good idea during the pandemic, in extreme weather conditions and during holiday seasons.


Be charitable: A box of food, clothes and toys to be donated

The second kind of kindness that comes to mind is also one that many people overlook, or maybe they feel embarrassed about giving away their excess or “old stuff.” The fact of the matter is that we all have things in our home we don’t need or that we won’t use. Things that could make the world of a difference to someone else.

Being charitable is not just about putting money in a box or setting up a direct debit for monthly contributions to a good cause. You could help someone right now, someone who lives or works close to you, just by going through your food storage and stick everything you know you won’t (have time to) eat in a box and donate it to someone you know could need a bit extra food, to a food bank, a soup kitchen or your local church. For example.

Here are some more examples of things you can do to be more charitable: 

        • Donate clothes, shoes, toys and food. Go through your closet, your drawers and all the other places you have clothes and shoes in. Put your best Marie Kondo eyes on and donate everything you don’t like, everything you know you won’t wear and that everything that doesn’t “spark joy” to charity. Again, you can give them to someone you know, drop them off at a charity shop or check with your local church if they accept donations. You could also sell them on ebay or facebook marketplace and donate the money to someone, or something, that matters to you.
        • “Adopt” a child, a group of children or a whole family during the holidays, for the year or forever to give gifts, cards and special attention to. [3]
        • Set up, or participate in, a fundraiser by doing a 5K run, a walk or some other kind of sponsored activity. Ask family, friends, colleagues etc to donate and to help you out by posting links to your donation page on their social media.
        • Ask people for donations to your favourite charity, or a particular cause, instead of buying presents for your birthday, wedding, Christmas etc.
        • Volunteer at a nursing home, a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, your kid’s school, or anywhere you can think of asking if they would need some of your time. This could include offering your help to people you know are in need one way or the other, like the beggar outside your supermarket or your elderly neighbour.


A hand points to the glittering text that reads: Pay it forward

Pay it forward is the name of a novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It was turned into a film where Haley Joel Osment starred as the 11-year-old Trevor McKinney, who starts a goodwill movement called Pay It Forward as part of a school project. But paying it forward is more than a book and a film – it is a constructive way of spreading kindness around you for no other reason than because you can.

Generosity is not just for the rich and famous. You don’t need to have plenty to pay something forward. All you need is the willingness to do something without expecting anything in return. But, as we have already learned, we actually do get something in return as every random act of kindness makes us feel good about ourselves. Which, in turn, is good for our mental and physical wellness. 

So, how can we go about paying it forward? Well, here are a few examples to start with:

        • Pay for the person behind you in line at the fast-food restaurant or the drive-through. But don’t tell them you did! Let the person at the till be the one to deliver the surprise. 
        • Insert coins into someone’s parking meter if you can see that their time is up and they haven’t made it back. 
        • Tape some coins (and a pay it forward note?) to a parking meter, a vending machine or a laundromat.
        • Pay for someone’s layaway in the pawn shop. Either to give them more time to buy it back, or to cover the debt for them. Have the pawn broker call them to let them know. 
        • Do something for a homeless person (or someone else you think could need a little kindness) that someone once did to help you. 


Three women are standing close together and smiling at the camera

People often tell me that they cannot afford to be kind, or generous. Or that they have no time for charity and helping hands. Well, here is some good news even for the busiest, or most cash strapped, of readers: Kindness doesn’t have to cost a penny and it can be offered in the blink of an eye. Or two.

Never doubt that even the smallest of gestures can have a great impact on another person’s day or, indeed, whole life. Did you know that some people can go days, or even months, without having someone smile at them? Or that men, in particular, rarely get any compliments? Have you ever tried to self propel yourself in a wheelchair or navigate a pram up a crowded pavement? Then you will know just how much a wheeler or a pram pusher would welcome someone giving way for them.  

There are so many small gestures you could offer, but here are the first five I could think of:

        • Smile at someone you meet on the street. Try to say hello, good day, good evening or whatever salutation is fitting for the situation and/or time of day if you can. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know them. In fact, it may have an even greater impact on someone you don’t know.  
        • Give someone an unsolicited compliment or a piece of advice. I know some people will tell you this is no longer considered acceptable behaviour, but they are wrong. It is true that some people find compliments, or advice, to be rude or a gross violation of their privacy. They may tell you that they don’t appreciate the gesture and that is ok. They have every right to do so. But it does not mean the rest of us have to stop being courteous. [4] 
        • Allow the person behind you in the line to the till (cashier) to move ahead of you. Especially if they only have a few items and your trolley (shopping cart) is full.
        • Put your trolley back in its place before you drive off.
        • Simply say “I’m sorry” when you’re wrong. I swear it doesn’t hurt…


Be kind to the environment: A hand gently holds our planet under running water in front of a field of green

Although some rich people and politicians don’t want us to talk about it, our planet truly does need saving. Being environmentally friendly is an act of kindness towards Gaia, Mother Earth, Tellus or whatever you prefer to call our home in this universe. The environmental crisis is real and we do need to change our habits and our behaviour if we want our children and grandchildren to be able to live their lives in peace and prosperity.

All acts, or gestures, that helps our planet count as acts of kindness. It is a kindness to Earth itself, but it is also a kindness you show yourself, the people around you and your children and grandchildren. Or your nieces and nephews and their future children. This is the only home we have and we all need to do our bit to help preserve it. It is true that some countries are bigger culprits than others, when it comes to pollution and environmental concerns, but that does not mean we cannot do better.

In the words of a certain UK grocery store, every little helps, and here are some things we can all do (more of) in our daily lives to:

        • Pick up litter everytime you go out. Whether you are on the beach, in your neighbourhood, at your favourite recreation ground or just out for a stroll/walk or jog you can always pick something up and put it where it belongs. Make a sport of it! Ever heard of plogging? That’s when you go for a jog and bring a bag along to fill it up with rubbish you spot on the way. Have kids? Turn it into a weekly “treasure hunt” and reward them for filling a bag, or picking up a certain number of items. Then take them to the recycling station and show them where these things should have been disposed of in the first place. 
        • Plant a tree. Do it on your own land if you are fortunate to own a property where you can plant trees. If you don’t have anywhere to plant a tree, there are plenty of organisations, such as National Forest, World Land Trust and One Tree Planted that can do it for you. All you need to do is to buy the tree, i.e. make a donation to cover the cost, and then they will do the rest.
        • Ride your bike or walk to work. Far too many people are getting around in ways that are neither economical or environmentally friendly. Try to cut down on your carbon footprint by riding a bicycle or walking as often as possible. This will also benefit your health. If you live too far from work, maybe you can walk, or ride a bike, a part of the way? Get off a station or two earlier, or walk to the next stop before you get on. If you need to use the car, maybe you can car pool with some colleagues? Or someone who works in the same area as you do. If you don’t work, there may still be trips you take that could be done in a better, and healthier, way.
        • Feed the birds in the park, especially during the winter, or any wild animals you have around you that may be struggling to find food. Read up on your local wildlife and find out if there are any species where you live that are endangered or in decline due to a lack or food and habitat. What can you do to help? Support an organisation or do something more hands on? There are also animals around the world, like the orangutans in Borneo, the African and Asian elephants or maybe even the dogs of Crete. Animals all over the world need our help, so you can easily find a particular species or cause to support. Just don’t forget about the ones closest to home.
        • Cut down on plastic! This is another item on the random acts of kindness list that some people would consider controversial. Yes, it is true that many disabled people rely on plastic straws, for instance, but that does not mean we should stop looking for alternatives. Or that we should all just continue using plastic products to our hearts’ content. We do need to reduce the use of plastics and we need to make sure to stop plastic bags, straws, cord etc from ending up in our oceans or anywhere else where animals may be harmed, or killed, by them. Which is another good reason to make litter picking a priority. Still, see what you can do to cut down on plastic. We all know it makes sense.


If you are fortunate enough to have a job, and to be able to work, you can perform random acts of kindness at work. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, or where in the pecking order your position is – you are still an important cog in a larger machinery. This holds true in organisations where thousands of people work, and it is just as true in places where you have less than ten employees. As a matter of fact, if you are self-employed and work all alone you are still a cog. Or a piece of a larger puzzle. If you have a job you can bring your kindness to work.

This is where, back in the day when I did this in classrooms and lecture halls, some people would say that their pay grade did not exactly encourage them to be kind. And in response, I would say: Poppycock! Working for less money than what you believe you deserve is always a bad thing, but poor job satisfaction (something we will deal with in future themes) is not a valid excuse, or reason, for you not to be kind. Most importantly, we should never allow other people to dictate our feelings or actions. You can be the person you aspire to be right now. 

Kindness at work is the oil that makes the cogs happy and keeps them in some kind of synchronised motion. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to help make work a happier place:

        • Bring a colleague/assistant/employee (not the boss) a hot/cold beverage, a piece of fruit, a sandwich or an afternoon pick-me-up kind of treat; like a protein bar or bag of nuts.
        • Bring a cake, a box of doughnuts, or a fruit platter for all to share at the end of the working week.
        • Offer a new colleague a tour of the workplace, or invite them to sit with you at the lunch table. Show them the ropes, but don’t pass on any gossip. Set a good example and be the colleague you wish you had had when you were new.  
        • Do you know who the cleaner is? Unless it’s you, I would suggest you make sure you know their name and make a point of being kind to them. See what you can do to make their life a little easier by putting your stuff back where it belongs and never leaving heaps of rubbish that need picking up. Meet them with a smile and a kind word when you see them. They are, after all, one of the most important people in your workplace. If the cleaning is done outside of your work hours, leave them a note some time and maybe a little treat. 
        • Offer a colleague a helping hand if you see them struggling. Teamwork makes the dream work, after all, and regardless of what your job description says you can always help out where an extra hand is needed. See someone flagging? Have a workmate who is dealing with some shit? Ask them what you can do to help ease their load a little.


Just like there are people who rarely get to see a friendly smile, or feel a friendly touch, many people wish that someone would listen to them. That they had someone they could talk to about their dreams, fears, worries and daily lives. Sometimes, they live all alone and don’t meet too many people, but you may just as well find that they live in a family where they are taken for granted. Or being ignored.

To lend someone your ear, or even your shoulder, is an act of kindness that won’t cost you any money. It can, however, take a great deal of time (you have to let them speak in their own good time) and be emotionally draining. This type of kindness is something you may have to save for days when you feel strong and have the time to actually sit down and listen. 

You may think that this is another example of acts you only can offer people you know well, but that is not true. For many people, it may, in fact, be easier to open up to a relative stranger. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

        • Take time to really listen to someone who is having a bad day. Ask them “What’s wrong?” or “How are you feeling?” and show them that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. 
        • Visit a nursing home, a hospital or a community gall for elderly or disabled people  just to spend time with those who rarely receive visitors. Make sure to contact the place first to find out how such visits are done. You may need to go through a volunteer group or a local church as many places have to implement strict security measures. Another option is to post on facebook or other social media platforms and let your friends know that you are available for such visits. Many live far away from elderly relatives and some may need it for themselves.
        • Check in on an elderly, disabled or single-parent neighbour to see if they are ok. Drop a note in their letter box, hand out little action cards with your contact details and information about how you can help, or put a little flyer up in your local shop or at the doctor’s.
        • Ask someone “How are you?” and then listen, really listen, to their response. Ask follow-up questions and demonstrate that you’re actually listening by repeating things back to them.
        • Don’t interrupt! One of the most frustrating things for someone who rarely gets to speak, or who has some kind of speech or memory impairment, is to be interrupted. Allow them to search for words, or to explain themselves, and resist the urge to barge in “to help.”


Let them know: A woman is standing by a brick wall sending a text message on her phone

Letting people know has become so rare in our day and age that most people automatically assume I am referring to bad news when I bring this up. Not so, my friend. Letting people know, in this context, is about making sure someone knows you are thinking about them. That you acknowledge them. To make them feel seen, heard and valued. 

In our society where so many things are rapid and on demand, the simple act of dropping someone a note, or leaving a little message, has almost been forgotten. But that does not mean we should forget all about this type of kindness. It may even be something we need more than ever. Look at the examples below and think about how you would feel if someone did one of these things for you. Pretty good, I’d wager. Imagine then, just how much you could brighten up someone’s day if you were to:

        • Send them a card for no reason whatsoever. Just to let them know you were thinking about them.
        • Leave kind notes in the dressing room at your gym, swimming pool or clothes shop to encourage body acceptance. 
        • Leave little cards or letters of encouragement on people’s cars. Nice parking! Hope you’re having a good day! Just wanted to say hi and tell you I think you rock! Just to let you know I miss you! What you write will obviously depend on whether you know them. Too familiar a message may, after all, come off as creepy if it comes from a complete stranger.
        • Before a friend moves away/colleague quits etc., give them your favourite recipe; a poem/quote that is special to them (or that reminds you of them); a photo of the two of you; or a letter where you share a favourite memory of your time together or something you are grateful for that they gave you. This does not have to be a thing, but rather something intangible.
        • Send cards on special days and occasions. Send them to say thank you for a gift or a favour, to wish someone who is ill a speedy recovery (provided they will get better), or to congratulate/commiserate.  


Pleases and thank yous are the words and phrases that more than any other tell me I’m getting old. Some of my children protest when I thank them for something they believe they should be doing (like washing up), and I have noticed that this is something of a trend in the younger generation. As if you only need to say thank you when someone has done something extraordinary that wasn’t their duty, really. Pish tosh!

What world will we end up living in if people start taking each other for granted and a simple please or thank you is something you only hear under very special circumstances? No, this is where I put my wheels down and suggest we all make a special effort to:

        • Say “please” and “thank you,” and make sure we really mean it, as often as we have a reason to do so. If we ask for something, we say please. If we get something, or if someone does something that benefits us too, we say thank you. Deal?
        • Leave a generous tip, or buy a meal/dessert/drink/gift card for a pleasant waiter (or other members of the service industry) to say thank you for their service. Yes, it was their job, but when we show appreciation for a job well done, we are more likely to be well served again. As an added bonus, the next customer is also more likely to be serviced by a happy person, so in a way this fits under the pay it forward tab too.
        • Send care packages to our frontline workers (hospital staff, teachers, drivers etc), to soldiers, or to charity workers overseas to thank them for their service. Let them know what it means to you that they are there, doing what they do.
        • Thank your elders with unexpected gifts. Unless they are poor or have special needs, old people don’t necessarily need more things. Invite them over for dinner, make a weekly vlog so they can be part of your life and see what you’re up to, send them flowers or groceries, or offer to do chores or run errands for them. 
        • Contact people from way back when whose presence in your life made a special impression on you, or had an impact on your life. If you can’t send them a letter, make a video or write a blog/facebook/instagram post about them and ask your friends to help you pass the message on.


A book on the beach at dawn. Some of the pages have been folded into a heart.

Almost all of the suggestions above are for acts of kindness you can sprinkle over strangers, acquaintances. You could, of course, do them for family and loved ones too, but they were written primarily to give you as many suggestions as possible even if you are a lone wolf in a foreign place where you haven’t made any new friends yet. I wanted to make sure to cover most bases so I wouldn’t have to listen to anyone saying they couldn’t participate.

The last five suggestions, however, I decided to write specifically with a focus on your loved ones. These are examples of kindness you may want to bestow on those that mean the most in the whole world to you. I assumed that could be a romantic (or business) partner, a (grand)parent, a child, a best friend or, even, a beloved pet. These acts of kindness are probably not something I would recommend you try to offer a stranger or someone you don’t have very warm feelings for: 

        • Treat them to breakfast in bed and/or a long lazy lie-in (with optional snuggles if you have that kind of relationship).
        • Do their chores for them (for a (part of the) day or a week. Don’t do it for too long or it will stop being a kindness you show them. Ongoing kindness easily turns into habits that are taken for granted rather than being appreciated. That would not do either of you any favours. This kindness can be offered to a child, a partner, a friend or pretty much anyone, but the closer the bond the more this gesture is likely to mean. Feed the dog, do the laundry, clean up after dinner, run the errands etc – and spend the time you have saved your loved one doing something nice together instead.
        • Do you have to be apart? Send them a box of their favourite treats, a heartfelt letter where you tell them how much they mean to you or something else you think they will like. Let them know that you always are close in your hearts even if you have to be apart.
        • Surprise them with special dinner, a theme day or a family picknick. Make all the arrangements, pick a time and date when you know they will be free. If you’re worried they will make other arrangements, you can always trick them by making sure the time/date is blocked off for errands, or a trip to the inlaws or something they can’t get out of. 
        • Give them a pampering package with a lot of self-care activities you can do together. Make it super luxurious and expensive by checking into a spa or a hotel with some kind of spa facility. Or make it a cheap, but just as meaningful, DIY experience to be had at home. (Send the kids away or bribe them if you have to. Unless they are supposed to be involved in the self care, of course) Consider including things like massages, mani-/pedicures etc and, if possible, do them yourselves. Turn the heating on, light up some (scented) candles and bring out a tray of pre-prepared goodies. A fruit platter? Some non-smelly finger food? A nice drink? Add to that a selection of whatever creams, soaps, oils and equipment/accessories etc. needed and you’re good to go. Whether you’re going away or staying home, consider printing out a list of self-care journal prompts as well. They can keep the conversation focussed on issues that you may otherwise skirt and help bring you closer together as a couple. Or a family. Or as friends. 


Well, that was quite a list, if I may say so myself. We have now looked through 50 random acts of kindness and talked a little about what they are and why, or how, they matter. I hope you found at least a few things in this list useful and that it gave you some inspiration to begin with. At the very least, I hope you found something you’re willing to try.

To get into the swing of things, I would suggest that you start by going through the list above and make a note of the acts you would like to try. Select a few of them, or come up with some of your own, and make a list of your planned acts of kindness. What are you going to do? And who will be the lucky recipient of this kindness?

Once you know the answers to the questions what? and to whom, you can proceed to establish when. When is the best time, and day of the week, to do this? And how, exactly will you go about doing it? What is the plan of attack, so to speak? As soon as you have ironed out the details, your action plan is ready and you are good to go. And I promise it’s easier than you may think. Pick the one you think will be the easiest, just do it and see how it makes you feel. 

In next week’s post, we will talk more about the actual execution of these acts and what you should be paying attention to. Until then, keep practising, and remember: a) As with all skills, practise makes perfect; and b) We don’t necessarily do things for others because of who they are, but because of who we are and who we want to be.

Wishing you a peaceful and productive week,



      1. Please, be aware that not all people will appreciate your act of kindness. The important thing to remember is to not be discouraged when that happens. You making kindness a fundamental value and a priority in your daily life is not something you do with the expectation of getting something in return. If a few people ask you not to be kind to them, you will find many more who will appreciate your gestures even if they weren’t directed at them personally.
      2. This is a kindness you can’t offer people you don’t know (relatively) well. Parents tend to be very selective when it comes to allowing people close to their kids, and rightly so. Even parents who do know you may turn an offer like this down, but they may still appreciate the thought behind it. Or come back to accept the offer later on. A good idea may be to let them know the offer stands and that they can always get back to you if, or when, there is anything you can do to help them. 
      3. To “adopt a child, a group of children or a whole family” may be legally possible, but for the purpose of this article, I am talking of a spiritual commitment. Which obviously must be based on mutual consent, unless you would prefer to assume some kind of secret Santa, or fairy godmother, role for them. That could also put you in the creepy category, though, so it may be best for all involved if you do this as safely and openly as possible. Don’t know where to find adoptable people? Ask at your local church, talk to colleagues, put a feeler out on social media etc.
      4. See point 1 above. But please note that only you can decide what kind of person you want to be and what kind of life you want to live. If someone does not want, or appreciate, your kindness, that is not a reflection of who you are or what you do. Just chalk it up to experience, move on and keep working on becoming a kinder and happier person. Don’t put too much emphasis, or value, on the praise/peanuts other people throw your way – that way madness lies.
Evalena Styf
M/S Resilience

After 25 years of anonymous blogging on a variety of free platforms, Evalena Styf decided to go pro and put all of her writings on the wall. And that it would have to be on a domain that she actually owned. In The Coaching Couch, she primarily writes about personal and professional development; about living the dream; and about how you keep on living and loving when everything seems to be falling apart.

Using her knack for storytelling, Evalena dives into her pool of personal and professional experiences to bring a wide range of difficult and diverse topics to the surface in her blogs. E.g. funkophobia, social exclusion, chafing societal norms, mental & physical health issues, racism, poverty, identity, creativity, nerdiness, lusting for life and longing for death.



Do you have any suggestions we could add to the list?

Have you tried any of the acts of kindness I listed above before? Or have you tried any we could add to the list? I’d love to hear what you did, how it went and how it made you feel. If you have a minute, please slide into my comment section below and let’s talk. If you don’t want your response to show up on the site, just start your message with the word ANONYMOUS and it will be our secret.

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