by Poppy Kirwan, Northside Psychology Staff writer.
This 2021, after recovering from the exhausting previous year, it’s more important than ever to be kind to one another and give to the community and those around you. Many people are still suffering from the loss of their jobs, loved ones, or homes to the pandemic, economy, or other disasters. There’s no better way to spread positivity in these difficult times than kicking off the year with Feel Good Feb, a month-long event that encourages people across the nation to partake in random acts of kindness and good deeds. Continue the spirit of giving even after the Christmas and January holidays!
Feel Good Feb began in 2015 as a random acts of kindness initiative, with one woman in Sydney, Linda Pang. In the five years that it has been run, the event has grown exponentially in size and recognition. It’s such a simple effort that everybody can take part. FGF hopes that by starting random acts of kindness in February, the kind deeds will continue even after the month, for the entire year. Anyone in your community can be a positive force, and maybe it needs to begin with you!
There are multiple events run by the Feel Good Feb organisation during the month of February. However, the most recognized is the Feel God Feb Create Date, which runs every year. This free event typically only operates in NSW, Australia, and involves members of the community coming together to create acts of kindness that can be given away. Creatives, writers, crafters, potters, artists, jewellers, and anyone else who wants to join are encouraged to attend. Over the years there have been paintings, jewellery, pottery, stuffed animals, baked goods, soaps, drawings, and keychains that have been made. These are then left around the community as gifts for strangers. While this helps to spread handmade acts of kindness, it’s also a great way for the community to come together and to meet new people.
Though not everyone is able to attend a Sydney event, it’s encouraged for those across the country to organise their own home Create Date. This can be done with family, friends, classmates, co-workers, or your neighbourhood however you see fit. Whether creative or not, anyone can have fun making arts and craft! Sitting down with loved ones and acquaintances to put together homemade gifts for strangers will only strengthen your bonds and create new relationships. Don’t be afraid to organise a public one within your community (using appropriate COVID-19 and social distancing regulations as enforced by your state officials), possibly in a recreation centre or a public park! Help to bring your community together while also spreading love and positivity.
In addition to these events, the main appeal of Feel Good Feb are the acts of kindness that spread through the community.
Your Feel Good Feb does not have to be grand or flashy. One random act of kindness, whether large or small, can bring about a positive difference and put a smile on people’s faces — while inspiring others to do the same. FGF’s official website suggests different ideas for kind deeds that can be spread through the community. These could include:
- Leaving positive Post-It notes on public restroom mirrors
- Volunteering for humanitarian causes or animal shelters — for example, a hospital, soup kitchen, dog shelter, charity store, etc
- Buying a homeless person a hot meal or bottled water
- Offering up your seat on public transport
- Smiling at strangers!
- Drawing smiley faces and kind messages on the sidewalk in chalk
- Painting on paper or canvasses and leaving them in public places as gifts for strangers
- Buying book vouchers and leaving them on car windscreens at your local preschool / elementary school
- Leaving a generous tip for taxi / Uber drivers or servers at a restaurant
- Leaving some money in a zip lock bag at a petrol browser or public transport stop with a kind note, to pay for a stranger’s petrol or transport
- If you see someone who is upset, approaching them and offering them a tissue
- Offering a stranger an honest compliment
- Leaving a nice note at your mailbox for your postman
- Scattering your favourite books at public transport spots with kind cards
- Giving way and letting someone in front of you while driving
- Offering to carry supermarket groceries for an elderly stranger or a mother/father with toddlers or a pram
- Cleaning strangers’ windshields at a parking lot
- Buying some movie tickets and giving them out to strangers
- Paying for the order of the person behind you in a Drive-Thru or coffee shop
These are only a handful of simple acts of kindness suggested by the FBF initiative! More can be found at Feel Good Feb’s resources page. Whether a small cost or entirely free, many of these gestures are little in loss and large in gain. Watch a stranger’s face light up when you give them a kind compliment, or when they read your positive notes put up at a public place. Together, the community can make 2021 a more positive place!
Here is a further list of small cost or free random acts of kindness that we at Northside Psychology came up with:
- Pay for stranger’s coffee
- Let people go ahead of you in line
- Leave packages of sanitary products in a small basket on the counter of a public women’s restroom, to both break the taboo and help out someone in need
- Leave nice Post-It notes behind on the desk at school or university for the next person who has class there
- Create care packages for the homeless and go out to deliver them
- Call up or message an old friend and ask how their day is going
- Put up reassuring and affirming posters around town / places of public transport
- Spread the word of Feel Good Feb and encourage other acts of kindness
- Start a personal gratitude journal to appreciate the people around you more
- Make special notes on cards and leave them in library books for a positive surprise when people check them out
- Donate to charities or people in need
- Send snail-mail to people you care about
- Start your own “little free library” outside your house or in your neighbourhood for people to share and swap books
- Donate items, such as furniture, clothes, books, food or toys, to charities
- Give old children’s books to preschools or elementary schools
- Leave kind anonymous Post-It notes on classmates’ lockers or co-workers’ spaces for Valentine's Day — they might keep them for a long time
- If you’re a photographer, offer to take a stranger’s professional pictures for free
- Anonymously leave stress balls on your co-workers' desks
- Be sure to praise people when they do something well
- Clap and cheer extra loud at performances or shows, even if you don’t know the person
- Pick up litter and rubbish
- Text people uplifting, kind messages
- Post positive things on your social media!
- Organise a Create Date with your friends / family / classmates / co-workers and create items that can be given as random acts of kindness
- Spread awareness about issues or people who need help
- Ask someone who’s having a bad day if they want to talk, but respect their boundaries if they say no
- Leave blank journals and notebooks around with kindness cards / notes, as gifts for strangers!
- Stop to help someone in need
- Try to smile at everybody
- And most importantly, be kind
As Mother Teresa once said, “It's not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts”. So, this February, make a positive difference in people’s lives by spreading love and happiness through acts of kindness! We all need a brighter year after 2020!
For more information on the Feel Good Feb event, visit their official website. And remember, if you are struggling with mental health don’t be afraid to reach out for help.