Do you remember in high school during spirit week when each day had a theme? I’m still recovering from the trauma of “crazy hair day” when I straightened half my hair and curled the other half. In my mid-thirties now, I still shudder at the phrase, “wacky hat day.”
Regardless of my thoughts on school spirit weeks, I am a major fan of other types of themed days and even subjected my family to “Field Trip Fridays” last summer. I want to share another themed day with you that has revolutionary potential: “Thoughtful Thursday.”
Thoughtful Thursday originated as the fourth day of Be Kind to Humankind Week. This is a week established to help provide some framework to the mission of simply being a good person. Each day guides participants along a journey of goodwill, such as “Touch A Heart Tuesday” and “Speak a Kind Word Saturday.”
Breaking down some tenets of this week into easily do-able tasks adds intention and ease to reaching our goals of being good people.
In addition to spreading kindness and joy to others, being thoughtful has some serious benefits to the person being reflective and aware as well. We can think of thoughtfulness in a similar way we think of mindfulness: an awareness of thoughts and feelings in the present moment.
According to Mindful Schools, “Research finds that mindfulness practice can help decrease stress and anxiety, and strengthen resilience and emotional regulation, for both adults and children.” Yes, please. Thoughtfulness is a natural jumping off point to develop into personal mindfulness. If I can work on tuning into others’ needs, I can better identify my own feelings and be aware of what is happening both around me and in me.
I think we can all agree that we want to be nice, kind, helpful people. Especially since we’ve established the connection between being outwardly thoughtful and inwardly mindful. So, um, how?
So let’s get practical, here.
How can I celebrate Thoughtful Thursday and add some kindness to my life?
I’ve compiled some ways to up your thoughtful factor each and every week in the settings where you work, live, and play. Use the hashtag #BeKindToHumankind for more ideas and inspiration.
Thoughtful Thursday at work might seem a bit odd. We all come to this place, get paid, and go home, so what? Well, sure, you could think of it like that. However, that community piece of a workspace, knowing that the people you spend your weeks with have your back and care about you personally as well as professionally can make or break a work experience.
- Write a note to a colleague thanking them for being awesome.
- Purchase some morning donuts for the staff room (If you’re cheesy like me, feel free to attach a note that says, “I DON’UT know what I’d do without you!”).
- Share a kind word with a coworker whose efforts tend to go unnoticed.
- Send a funny meme to a colleague.
- Ask a coworker how they’re doing and really listen. You might need to dig a little bit beyond, “I’m good/fine.” But allow others the space to talk about how they truly are. Ask follow up questions, listen and respond well.
- Be the Birthday Captain! Take note of colleague birthdays on a communal calendar, plan something special, or even take the reins and lead up a staff Kudoboard .
- Purchase some Poo Pourri, hand lotion, and nice hand soap for the work bathroom. Don’t laugh. I’ve done this and I cannot tell you the stir of positivity this created. Everyone was delighted!
I read a quote once that really resonated with me. It said, “Are you giving your family the leftover crumbs of your busy life?” Dang. Well then. All too often we present our best foot forward to friends and even strangers and end up depleted in our interactions with those people that mean the most to us: our family. I encourage you to think outside the box of “random acts of kindness” and anonymous thoughtfulness and channel that energy into your people. What a loving example to present to our families.
- Do a chore you might not normally do.
- Write a note in your child’s lunchbox (jokes are very popular at the elementary lunch table).
- Plan a fun movie night or pajama walk.
- Hug! Just reach out and give a tight squeeze.
- Drop off a soda, coffee, or lunch to your spouse’s workplace.
- Cook a family member’s favorite meal.
- Shovel a neighbor’s driveway or rake their leaves.
- Venmo a friend $5 for a morning latte.
- Walk around your home and consider the blessings and good fortune for your shelter.
- Write a love note on a family member’s bathroom mirror.
Out and About
This sounds jaded but I’m going to say it anyway. Ready? When someone goes above and beyond and does something truly thoughtful, I’m almost always genuinely shocked. Isn’t that terrible? I know people are good and kind, but there’s so much negativity out there and it feels like we’re so divided, even if maybe that’s not fully true.
I’m an elementary teacher and this past week a parent was so kind and spent TWO hours volunteering in my classroom helping out and putting together packets of students’ completed work and organizing student portfolios for the year. I was so thankful for the thoughtfulness I nearly cried! Never underestimate the power of thoughtfulness and kindness!
- Send a “thinking of you” text to a friend you haven’t connected with in a while.
- Pay it forward in the drive thru line (this seems to happen to me all the time. It brightens my whole day!)
- Write a positive review for a favorite local business. Spreading the word about a great experience at a business is truly thoughtful. So often people only post to gripe. Spread some sunshine.
- Compliment a stranger’s outfit…..or hair, or makeup, or earrings, or heck, even compliment how well behaved someone’s kids are in the grocery store!
- Shoot an email to your child’s teacher thanking them.
- Bring some cookies or treats to a fire station. Everyone loves to feel appreciated.
- Give that DoorDash driver or server an extra generous tip.
- Bring a trash bag to a local park and help clean the Earth.
- Buy a giftcard to the grocery store on your way out, add a note, and tape it to a cart for a stranger to find.
The key to “Thoughtful Thursday” is letting those around you know they are loved and special. Here at Kudoboard, we are here to help with that on Thoughtful Thursday or simply any occasion you want to spread some love and gratitude.
In these days of disconnection and polarizing content, use Thoughtful Thursdays to reach out, demonstrate kindness, and watch how slowly but surely every day becomes special. Start with one Thoughtful Thursday a month, then two, then every Thursday. I promise you will reap the rewards of positivity. Maybe focus on one category per week or bust through the work suggestions and then move on to the other two.
Thoughtfully tuning in to others’ needs lends itself naturally to learning how to be mindfully present in our own lives. Thoughtfulness slows us down from our hurried lives and gets us out of our own heads and into the service of others.
Celebrating great people is a piece of cake with Kudoboard. Attach heartfelt messages to photos, GIFs, inside jokes, and more. Take a look at the fun templates and styles to send some Thoughtful Thursday smiles.