While the media likes to depict this season as the happiest time of year, the reality is that many people experience new or heightened feelings of sadness and stress during the holidays. Whether it’s the financial pressure of budgeting for all those gifts, loneliness due to being far away from loved ones, or simply cramming in too many things to do and too many people to see, there are certainly many reasons to feel less than festive come December!
So why not give yourself a ‘helper’s high’ by giving back? Did you know humans experience a neurobiological response when they do a good deed? Tap into these natural endorphins by doing something kind or charitable this holiday season.
Here are 5 easy ways to turn your frown upside down this season:
- Organize a food drive at work. Take the lead and encourage colleagues to bring in non-perishable food items. You can drop off food or toys to your local fire station as often as you’d like, or donate these items to your local food bank.
- Help the homeless. Keep your eye out for good deals on warm outerwear, like socks and mittens, and buy a bunch when you find a good sale. Then find a way to donate them to your to your local shelter or organize your efforts via charitable organizations like the raisingtheroof.org in Canada or nationalhomeless.org in the US.
- Be kind to strangers. You may not believe it, but random acts of kindness can really lift the spirits. Doing something as as simple as paying for the coffee of the next person in line, or as challenging as shovelling your elderly neighbour’s driveway after a big snowfall will make you feel better than you might expect. Try it!
- Say ‘no’ to gifts. Tell friends and family that you would prefer they make a donation to a charity in your name instead. They might protest, so come armed with a list of charitable organizations to choose from, and explain why helping a cause that is near and dear to your heart would make you much happier than a gift card or a bottle of wine.
- Encourage kindness. The children in your life are no doubt excited about the holidays, gleefully looking forward to all the presents they’ll receive. So why not encourage them to do something good as they count down the days? Unlike a typical advent calendar, My Kindness Calendar gives kids ideas on how to give back, which can help instil compassion and gratitude during a time that is associated with simply ripping open presents. A gift doesn’t just come in a box with a bow…
Feeling good is often as simple as making those around us feel good! Longevity and the grit to get through times of high-stress are proven in those who chose to consistently give back. So the answer to your happiness is to make someone ELSE happy this season.
Not into the 5 ideas above? You can easily make a donation to hundreds of charities right in the League app here.