If there’s one constant I’ve seen running through the research on well-being and my personal life, it’s this:

Prosocial living is one of the strongest ways to cultivate joy, purpose, and positive relationships.

Rather than bog you down with lengthy treatise on why, I’m sharing how. Below is an excerpt and a printout from The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again of 75 Altruistic Acts for Educators.

Set some goals: Which can you check off in the next week? Who can you enlist to join you on a kindness campaign?

Plant a tree at schoolCall a parent just to compliment their childCompliment a coworker to your boss
Buy dessert for the table near youAsk a new teacher what you can do to help them todayThank a custodian
Clean something that normally someone else cleansPost a positive message about someone on social mediaHost a “flash can drive” and donate the money to a local cause
Buy donuts for your colleaguesLeave someone the biggest tip your educator salary can affordEmail a former student to tell them you are proud of them
Invite a new staff member into your conversationWrite your partner a list of things you love about him or herBuy the meal or coffee for the person behind you in line
Use dry erase markers to write affirmations on the bathroom mirrorsSmile and say hello to a strangerBabysit someone’s child (or fur baby) for free
Give away some stuff on CraigslistCall a family member just because (or to tell them why you appreciate them)Let someone behind you jump ahead in the grocery line
Send anonymous flowers to someone at school.Make a crockpot meal to leave in the staff loungeRecommend a good book to someone
Write a thank you letter to one of your former teachers or mentorsDonate those clothes you still haven’t wornPut your phone out-of-sight and be present in a conversation
Pay off a student’s lunch debt anonymouslyAsk a substitute teacher what you can do to help him or her todayCover a colleague’s class when they are out unexpectedly
Compliment your bossPut an anonymous affirmation on a student’s locker or deskPay the toll, bus, or train fare for the person behind you
Make dinner for someone who is having a busy week (or phase of life)Clean up some litterAttend a student’s athletic event, hobby, or performance
Return someone else’s grocery cart for themPut a few dollars in an envelope and write “If you need this keep it; otherwise add to it and pass it on”Tell a student why you’re grateful to have them in your class/school
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen (Bonus points if you get students or coworkers to join you)Register to be on the bone marrow transplant registryLeave a student’s favorite treat on his/her desk before class starts
Repost a friend, co-worker, or student’s blogGive everyone coming down the hallway a high fiveBuy a unique, cool sticker for someone from Redbubble.com
Write an affirmation on a colleague’s board before he or she gets to workLet your colleague cut ahead of you to make copiesOffer to help a colleague grade some assignments
Ask your boss what you can do to help him or her todayThrow some extra change in the vending machine for someone else to useApologize to someone who you wronged
Donate a personal day to a coworker who just had a baby or medical needVolunteer for recess, lunch, or bus duty to relieve a coworkerOffer to buy a kid’s art project
Buy a book for a student or colleague that you know they will lovePlace a thank you note in a colleague’s mailboxInvite a student to eat lunch with you
Buy/give the new teacher the supplies that you know you forgot to get your first yearHelp someone carry their heavy bagsOrganize a DonorsChoose.org project for a colleague
Donate blood (Bonus points if you get someone to join you)Post online something you love about your schoolMix up a big batch of hot chocolate to give out to strangers or students on a cold day (or lemonade on a hot day)
Write a recommendation letter for a student without being askedPull a student aside to tell them how much you’ve noticed their resilience (or another great character trait)Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time
Leave a thank you note or gift card for your mail providerPut an anonymous affirmation in a colleague’s mailboxRestock the staff coffee bar with the best stuff you can afford
Clean out the refrigerator in the staff loungeHave your students come up with a prospiracy for a colleaguePost a good review online for a business you frequent
Have your server box up half your meal in advance and then give it away to someone in needClean the snow and ice off of someone else’s carSend a care package to someone serving overseas.

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