Cracking an egg into a bowl, I whisked it and set it aside. The chicken tenders were prepped; the flour mixture was ready. Even as I dipped the tenders into the egg and coated them with flour, my thoughts were elsewhere.

While my hands were busy, my mind was, too. Though I wanted to live a faith-filled life that demonstrated the love and kindness of Jesus, I felt like my good intentions had gone off the rails lately. Our family’s schedule had been so full. Between work, the kids’ school, and church and social commitments, we had a full calendar.

As I finished my dinner prep, I couldn’t help but think of a sweet friend I hadn’t seen or talked to in a while. How could I encourage her and let her know I was thinking of her? I wondered. Placing the chicken tenders into the pan one by one, I decided to send off a quick text while I waited for them to cook:

“Hey friend, I was thinking about you today and how grateful I am for your friendship! You are so warm, funny, and fun, and you do a beautiful job of helping others feel seen and loved.”

When the phone beeped a little later with a notification, I smiled at her response. “This text means so much to me…” it began.

Though I desire to be kind to others, if I’m honest, sometimes acts of kindness can feel overwhelming. I don’t always have time for all the items on my to-do list, much less to add more to my already overflowing plate. But when I take the time to show others how much I care intentionally, those small acts of kindness always have significant returns. Though my message had been short and sweet—start to finish, it had taken less than 30 seconds to tap out my message—it still impacted my friend.

And, each time I choose to be kind, it reminds me of the kindness that Jesus has lavished upon us and how much he loves us.

How can we be kind when we’re busy? Here are 12 tips to get you started:

  1. Keep it simple. Are you stopping at a local coffee shop to pick up a hot drink? Grab one for a co-worker. Making a casserole for dinner? Double it and drop off the extra serving on the doorstep of a friend who is struggling.

  2. Involve your kids. Pull out art supplies and envelopes so they can make a homemade card for a grandparent or distant relative. Enlist their help to find out their teacher’s favorite snack or soda to send along to school.

  3. Consider the places you already visit and the people you already see. Ask yourself: What would boost someone else’s spirits? Maybe it’s asking the cashier at the store what their favorite treat is, then purchasing it for them. Perhaps it’s rounding up stray shopping carts in the parking lot so other shoppers don’t have to maneuver around them.

  4. Use what you have. There’s no need to spend a lot of money. Bake the extra brownie mix in your pantry or loan a book you love to a friend.

  5. Encourage, encourage, encourage. Encouraging someone else is one of the easiest ways to be kind. Text a friend to let them know you appreciate their friendship. Offer a genuine compliment to a stranger in the community. Remind your child of the good you see in them or praise them for working hard to accomplish a task.

  6. Be neighborly. Look for ways to show kindness to the people who live closest to you. Drop flowers or treats at a neighbor’s house when you’re out for a walk. Rake leaves or shovel the sidewalk for an elderly neighbor.

  7. Show kindness to strangers. Hold the door open for the person coming in behind you. Say hello to people you pass on the street. Smile and make small talk with the person behind the checkout counter. Keep extra water bottles or snacks in your car for those without homes you pass on the street corner.

  8. Tip well and often. Thank the person who helps you; take the time to notice their name, and tip well. Bonus if you can leave them a little note with your tip, acknowledging their service.

  9. Leave a review for a business that has done an excellent job. Little else means more to a small business than seeing a positive review left by a satisfied customer.

  10. Turn to prayer. We can pray anywhere—getting ready for the day, in the car, during a pause at work—and sending a quick text to let a friend know we’re praying for them can make their day.

  11. Practice kindness at home. Did your spouse have a hard day? Pick up their favorite ice cream on your way home. Was it a long week of school for the kids? Rent a movie that just came out, make popcorn—add candy and marshmallows to it for a “fancy” twist—and have a family movie night.

  12. Be kind to yourself. It’s hard to show kindness to those around us when we’re busy beating ourselves up over everything we need to accomplish or how overwhelmed we feel. Pause for a minute to take some deep breaths and send a quick prayer that God would remind you of just how loved you really are.

With a bit of intention, we can demonstrate kindness to others even during life’s busiest seasons. What’s one way you can show kindness to someone else this week?

Looking for more ideas and encouragement in the area of kindness? Check out Kristin’s book, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness devotional.

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