Many think of the holidays as a time to give back, but no matter what time of year it is, taking the time to show someone kindness is a great thing to do. Giving back is a win-win situation. It’s not only good for others, but it is also good for you and your health. The University of the South conducted a study in 2016, which suggests that performing "random acts of kindness" for others or the world can boost your mood. In fact, the study found that helping others can boost your mood more than if you had done something to help yourself.
Performing acts of kindness promote your psychological health because it encourages your body to release dopamine, which is the brain's feel-good neurotransmitter. Showing kindness and helping others can help you reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.
Right now, many families are experiencing some of the hardest times of their lives due to the pandemic, so to help bring joy to their lives, let's give back in whatever way we can. Whether you choose to do something small or something big, the gesture's impact will be immeasurable.
Here are our Top 12 Ways You Can Give Back During the Holidays:
The benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Even volunteering 1 hr of your day can make a significant impact on those who need it. With the holidays quickly approaching, the need for volunteers in the community is never-ending. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities in your area, check out Volunteer Match, or get in touch with us and see how you can help HealthStart achieve our goals.
2. Help a neighbor
One way to give back is by helping your fellow neighbor. They may need help getting groceries, mowing their lawns, or even getting to their doctor’s appointments. If you’re unsure where to start, you can make a posting in your local Facebook groups and offer your support, such as offering to pick up groceries or walk their dog. And even better, you can get your little ones to help too! This will teach your child the importance of helping others and how it can uplift someone’s spirit.
3. Give to Your Local Charity
Another way to give back is by donating to a local charity of your choosing. In fact, there is a day dedicated to giving back called Giving Tuesday. This year, this global day of giving is on Tuesday, November 30th. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. If you’d like to donate to HealthStart this Giving Tuesday, you can make a donation here. But you don’t have to wait until Giving Tuesday to give back to organizations that matter to you. You can donate anytime as donations are always needed to support your community.
4. Participate in Holiday Food Drives
There is always a need to feed families who can't afford a holiday dinner. Food drives are an excellent opportunity to get the whole family involved! Make sure to check what your local food bank's guidelines for Food Drives before donating food. Don’t forget to wash your hands and sanitize before putting together your donation box. You can also bring the family along and have them volunteer to help serve out food and/or hand out donations to families in need.
5. Give blood
Another great way to give back is to donate blood. It is an excellent way to help someone in need and can even save someone’s life. Just remember there are some restrictions on who can participate. Visit the Red Cross website to learn about local guidelines and to find a blood drive near you.
6. Thank Your Mother (Earth)
While giving back to human beings is excellent, giving back to our planet is also important. One thing we teach at HealthStart is how to take care of the earth by not littering. Try taking the whole family to your local park and pick up nearby trash. Another way to give back to Mother Earth is by reducing single-use items that take years and years to degrade. This holiday you can do this by reusing gift bags, making digital holiday cards, or recycling any used paper, plastic, or glass.
7. Compliment Someone
There’s nothing that puts a smile on someone’s face, like receiving a compliment. Taking the time to give a friend or stranger a little compliment can change their day for the better! Even something as small as telling someone you like their outfit can put a big smile on their face.
8. Run for Charity
Running for charity is a fantastic way to connect physical fitness and your passion for running with helping those that give back to your community! HealthStart is participating in a charity run this upcoming year with the Austin Marathon. Anybody can join #TeamHealthStart and run for our organization to help raise money to give every kid the healthy future they deserve. You can also support #TeamHealthStart by donating online or volunteering with us on race day to pass out water and cheer on runners as they race towards their goals!
9. Donate Unused Items
Most of us have been stuck at home quarantined, which has allowed us to see what items tend to go unused. Those items could be clothes, household goods, or maybe some holiday decorations you don’t use anymore. If you have things like these, then think about donating them to those in need. Don’t forget to have your little ones go through their toys and clothes and donate anything they’ve outgrown or don’t play with anymore. A great place to start is at your local homeless shelter, Goodwill, or donation boxes.
10. Do a Few Chores
One way to get your child involved in giving back is by having them help do a few chores around the house. They can help you cook dinner, put away toys, feed the dog, or make the bed. And you’ll be surprised how happy they will be to help! Helping with chores is a great way to help them learn why giving back is a good thing to do and understand the importance of helping others.
11. Support Local Businesses
COVID-19 has impacted small businesses more than imaginable. When you are thinking about shopping for your loved ones during this holiday season, try shopping locally. Shopping local will not only help small businesses continue to thrive, but it will also make a memorable, one of a kind gift for your loved one. Another way to support local businesses is by sharing their work on your social media or buying gift cards.
12. Let Your Loved Ones Know You Care
Sometimes, all someone needs is to know they are loved and cared for. Give a friend a call just to let them know you were thinking about them. Send someone a card via snail mail or a short video letting them know how special they are to you. You could also send them a surprise gift of something you know they would love or something they need. No matter how you do it, they’ll forever appreciate your kindness.
Giving in even simple ways can help others who are in need and improve your health and happiness. We hope your holidays are filled with joy, and we would love to see you spread that joy by giving back this holiday season!
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