By: Cara Maksimow

Earlier today I had the television on while I was getting my children off to school and I heard them talk about the “Season of Kindness” with the #ShareKindness.

As I see it, the idea is to have people finish the sentence ‘Kindness is…’

There is something about the holidays that get us thinking about being nicer to other others and encourages us to do more acts of kindness.

It starts often with the Tuesday after Cyber Monday which has been called Giving Tuesday. Organizations that rely on donations heavily promote that day in order to increase donations. I would agree that is a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season, after you have celebrated Thanksgiving with friends and family, shopped your way through Black Friday and Cyber Monday and then begin a season of Kindness by making a donation.

So what happens next? How do we keep up kindness throughout the holiday season and frankly, throughout the entire year?

Acts of kindness not only help other people but doing little acts of kindness regularly can increase your own happiness. In her book “The How of Happiness” Sonja Lyubomirsky states:
“It may be ironic but being kind and good, even when it’s unpleasant or when one expects or receives nothing in return may also be in the doer’s self-interest. This is because being generous and willing to share makes people happy.”

It is not as hard as you think to make kindness a part of your every day.

When we find ourselves a bit busy or stressed we refocus on what we need to do and not necessarily think about how we can help others, but as Sonja states it may be more beneficial to ourselves to do just the opposite!

Kindness comes in so many forms. Giving money to a needy cause or organization is awesome to do when you can, but there is so much more that can be a regular part of your every day.

As a busy working mom I can sometimes feel overwhelmed taking care of my family and my business and doing things for others is last on my to do list. By making acts of kindness a priority, I am doing so much more than helping others. I can increase my own level of happiness and positive feelings as well as set a fantastic example for my children to be kind through my own example and not just my words. As moms we often need reminders and encouragement that we are doing a great job, which is the purpose of my book “Lose that Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom”. Remembering that we are all connected and sharing kind words or encouragement to another mom is a great way to start spreading kindness today!
Here are some other awesome ideas from Random Acts of

Return a shopping cart.
Send a handmade card to someone.
Hug someone.
Give directions.
Be generous with compliments.
Say something nice on a website or a blog online.
Let someone cut you in line.
Talk with a homeless person.
Buy coffee or desert for a stranger.
Visit an animal shelter.

Do you need a little accountability reminder? I know I often do. Here are some other great ideas from the holiday Kindness Advent Calendar by Noomi. You can sign up to get emails each day with a new kindness activity. Since December 1st here are the things I was able to do based my daily email calendar reminders:

Surprise a loved one -I put a note of support and encouragement in my husband’s travel bag before leaving for a business trip.
Make lemonade (this one means take a negative situation and look for the positive) – my son was home sick one day this week and we took some time to cuddle and fold laundry together.
Smile – I said hello and smiled to a bunch of people I do not know and it absolutely brightened my day.
Be kind to animals – Hand fed my daughter’s rescue dog, Rollie Pollie, from the table despite.
Give to the needy – Make a donation for the Food Bank of NJ.
Give out Ten Compliments – This was a fun one to do. It always feels awesome to see the change in someone’s expression when they hear a sincere compliment.
Send a hand made card – Was able to do this with some help from my little ones.
Be kind to the planet – Taking a walk and picking up garbage was the task that day.
Phone a friend – I picked up the phone and connected with an old friend I have not seen in a while. Always a great habit to do regularly if you can!

After my advent calendar finishes I will be keeping myself accountable for kindness every day using my 2016 Kick Ass Plan which reminds me to include kindness into my plans.

Another place you may want to go to keep you accountable for kindness & gratitude is Fill Your BAG happy. This is a facebook group reminding members to focus on the bright spots of the day and kindness is a part of everyday accomplishments!

What are some things you can do to add kindness to your every day?
Connect with me on facebook or twitter, I would love to hear from you!