5 Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day

In a time filled with such darkness and chaos, bring happiness to someone’s day


When all of this started, no one expected us to be affected by the virus. I remember talking about it in class and no one was really worried. Until schools started closing. Then our school closed and I just remember thinking “Damn. This is real.” Not that it wasn’t real before, but we didn’t take it very seriously at first. Shortly after, it was like someone had started the fire and it wouldn’t stop spreading. It has taken away so much from everyone, but at the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves that we’re all human and we are in this together. This isn’t some dystopian novel you read in middle school.

I never thought I’d see the day that schools and businesses closed. Malls are absolutely empty, there’s no traffic on the freeway, and everyone in the grocery store is wearing masks. Even freaking Disneyland is closed. The happiest place on earth. Closed. There is no routine, and the days mesh into one. We’re all wearing pajamas. All day. This is our life now, and we have to make the best of it. Part of that is thinking about our friends and family and reminding them that we’re here. This could be the difference between a good day and a bad day. We have all the tools we need to make someone’s day better. And hey, maybe someone will do this for you.

Here is a list of things I’ve compiled that can make someone’s day brighter.

1) Reaching out to seniors

Many seniors who are in nursing homes are unable to see their loved ones. They also cannot convene with one another, so they are unable to participate in group activities or be closer than six feet. This also includes religious services, which for many, is an essential way of life. The ever-so-popular bingo is gone. Many seniors are anxious and are struggling to maintain a positive outlook. I experienced firsthand what it’s like to work in a nursing home in the time of the virus. I promise you it’s so weird being the person that has to refuse visitors at the door and tell them they can’t see their loved ones. It is incredibly heartbreaking seeing families visit their family members through a glass screen. Recently, we had a resident turn 100 years old and not understand why her only living family member had to wish her a happy birthday through a window. These people need cheering up. So much has been taken away from them in such a short period of time, and most are filled with anxiety.

Reaching out to seniors in your area is a great family activity if you have children or younger siblings. Break out the construction paper and write cards to seniors in nursing homes. Include positive messages, words of affirmation, or even have children draw pictures.

Many seniors enjoy seeing flowers. If budget permits, you send a bouquet of flowers and ask the nursing home to place it where all of the residents are able to see. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it also reminds them that someone cares and they can see it daily. Otherwise, drawings of flowers work just as well! These drawings/letters can be mailed out or dropped off, and is a great activity for kids at home. It also reminds them to think of others and begin to practice kindness.

2) Birthday Celebrations

For many, celebrating a birthday is hard to think about at a time like this, but birthdays are so special. Even by doing something small, you can show that person that you truly care. You can arrange a drive-by birthday parade. Friends and family can decorate their cars, make posters, and go all out. This is a simple way to get everyone involved and give the birthday person a sense of feeling together even when separated. Be the person who takes initiative and starts getting everyone on board and excited. It will be worth it to see the look on the birthday-goers face.

If a birthday parade isn’t your speed, you can still show that person how important they are to you. You can put together a party in a box, where the box is all decked out and has balloons, a card, and a small gift. The gift can be totally DIY-ed. It can be a painting from a tutorial on YouTube, a recipe you followed, and heck, even churros from Disneyland (they released the recipe). If that doesn’t work, you can make or create a card online with pictures of you and that person and really personalize it to their style. Of course, arranging a time to do FaceTime or Zoom on their day and sing to them is also very special and very easy.

My sister’s 18th birthday is coming up, and I’ve made it my mission to make it great, even though the celebration we planned can’t happen. We’ve purchased birthday supplies online to decorate the house and her room when she wakes up, and are also planning to do some of her favorite things. She loves doing art, so we’re going to be following a painting tutorial together. We are also planning on going outside and having a s’mores party, where we can all gather around a fire pit and have s’mores together and just be present. These ideas aren’t expensive or over the top, but we are going to be together, and that’s what matters. You don’t have to spend any money, just think of what that person likes. Even a movie night watching their favorite movie works just great.

3) Check on your friends

It’s a crazy time, and we can’t go anywhere or do anything, so checking in on your friends can really brighten their day. We’re all doing our best, but you might have a friend who isn’t doing well either, mentally or otherwise. Hearing what they have to say and how they feel can bring them such peace of mind and remind them that they are not alone. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have anything in particular to talk about. Remind them you’re there. Hearing a friend’s voice or laugh might be what you need to feel better, and vice versa.

4) Write letters to your friends and family

Now that many of us have extra time, you can write letters to friends and family that remind them how much they mean to you. Think of the friend from out of state, or the family member that you haven’t seen in months, but talk to every day. I promise you taking the time to write them something special is going to brighten their day. No one expects to receive a letter in the mail, at least I don’t, so this is a surprise that anyone can give or receive.

5) Saying thank you

I promise you that grocery store clerks, fast food workers, post workers, and even delivery workers don’t want to expose themselves. They have to. Dynamics have been turned upside down, and what we define as a hero is so different now. A hero is someone who puts themself at risk to help others, and that’s exactly what they do every single day. I know we all want to get out of the grocery store quickly, but don’t forget to say thank you to the person stocking the toilet paper and the cans, or the person bagging your groceries that is definitely not six feet apart from you. Don’t forget to say thank you to the UPS driver delivering your overpriced hand sanitizer or the clothes you bought while you were bored. They’re tired of the virus, too.