If you need to cheer yourself up this holiday season, don’t rush out to the mall to buy a new trinket. Don’t overeat, or reach for alcohol, tobacco or whatever else you used to turn to for comfort. Instead, comfort others. It’s the surest ticket to uplifting your mood. This Christmas, remember the forgotten at Christmas, and feel your spirits soar.
- Help the homeless: Many homeless shelters run low on volunteers and supplies during the holidays. Regular volunteers may be on vacation or occupied with their own families. If you’re alone this holiday season, surround yourself with others while lending a helping hand by volunteering at a local shelter. Search local directories or churches to find one near you and inquire about volunteer hours.
- Help homeless pets: Don’t forget homeless animals during the holidays. If reaching out to dogs, cats and other homeless pets feels right to you, then find your local SPCA chapter or shelter and offer your time and talents. Many need dog walkers and people to work with frightened, poorly socialized animals. Pawsitive Interactions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to researching the human-animal bond, has published research indicating that when people spend time around animals, they benefit from the social, emotional, physical and behavioral aspects of the human-animal bond. Not only will volunteering at a shelter help animals, it will help you feel happier, healthier and loved.
- Donate to your local food pantry: Food pantries often experience shortages during the holidays as the needs of local families’ taxes their familiar network of donations. Give non-perishable food items or volunteer your time at the local food pantry if the holiday blues have you feeling down. The act of helping others, combined with the social interactions with the other volunteers, may boost your mood while you’re doing good!
- Visit the home bound and infirm: Most of us are vaguely aware of neighbors in our community who cannot easily leave their homes anymore due to age or infirmity. Can you drop off a plate of Christmas cookies or simply drop by to say hello? How about writing an old-fashioned letter to elderly relatives and enclosing some photos to brighten their day?
- Find a charity to support: All over the world, people are suffering this Christmas season. Whether it’s from hunger, poverty, wars, diseases or natural disasters, people somewhere in the world need a helping hand. Online research into causes you care about will yield possible charities to support. Check out the charity’s finances through a website such as Charity Watch to understand how your donation will be used.
Generosity is a sure boost for a blah mood. This Christmas season, if you’re feeling down and tempted to over indulge in something unhealthy, turn the tables on your blue mood by reaching out to others in need. In the true spirit of the holiday, you’ll find yourself feeling better as you give, rather than receive.