Help Others and Help Yourself

The holiday season can be overwhelming for many people because the focus is frequently centered on giving material items. As we become so fixated on giving that perfect gift, we often forget the true meaning of the holidays.

The holidays can be much more enjoyable and less stressful just by helping others instead of focusing on the material part of the season. Not only will holiday anxiety be reduced, but you’ll also be making someone else’s season that much better.

Volunteering is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit and there are so many ways to give back! You might consider sponsoring a holiday food drive at work, serving a Thanksgiving meal at a homeless shelter, spreading cheer by visiting a nursing home or even adopting a family to help fulfill their Christmas wish lists. For many people, their only wish is to stay warm and fed over the winter months.

In addition to feeling more joy over the holidays, there are numerous other benefits to giving back, such as:

Meeting new people. Whether you’re new to the neighborhood or just want to forge stronger ties in your community, volunteering is a great way to make friends with those who live in it.

The commercial side of the holiday season seems to have caused a disconnect between community members but bridging that gap can be possible by volunteering to help those that are less fortunate.

Learning new skills and expanding career opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills or even discover something that you’re really good at. It can help you develop or strengthen skills for work, meet new people who can expand your professional network and improve your resume – all while giving back at the same time.

Ease the holiday blues. Giving back during the holidays provides the opportunity to ease the holiday blues for those who are feeling lonely, such as nursing home residents or hospital patients.

But it isn’t just the recipients of kindness who receive those rewards, volunteering has been found to boost happiness levels as well. It can boost self-confidence and provide a feeling of achievement as well.

helpingHealth benefits. Volunteering means that you’ll be getting off the couch and out of the house, which will help make you more physically fit. Those who are more active and in shape have been found to deal with stress better, resulting in improved well-being and even lengthening life span. Social interaction that includes lots of smiles, laughter and touch helps to release a hormone known as oxytocin, which also improves the ability to deal with stress.

If you aren’t sure where to volunteer, there are a number of sites that can help you find a good match such as You might also check with a local school, hospital, animal shelter, soup kitchen, or church.

How will you give back this holiday season?

-The Alternative Daily

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