Give Back to Jumpstart Your Holiday Cheer!

volunteering, holiday spirit, mental health, giving back

It’s the season of giving! But did you know volunteering can boost your mental health during the busy holiday season? Maybe you buy presents for friends and family. Or bake cookies for neighbors or leave out gift cards for the postal carrier and garbage collector. Help with a food drive for needy families? Or deliver Meals on Wheels to lonely seniors?

“Giving allows people to experience an increased connection with others,” said Linda Nowack, a therapist with Memorial Behavioral Health. “By giving time to others, people combat boredom, loneliness and isolation because they are building relationships with individuals and organizations in their community.”

Volunteering can provide purpose and meaning during the holiday season especially. Donating your time to others can serve as a coping mechanism for holiday stress and even be a positive distraction.

“It can create fulfillment in one’s life. People connect with causes that are meaningful to them as well as discover what their community needs most,” Nowack said. “Not only does volunteering foster emotional well-being and resilience, but it can improve a person’s self-esteem because they are able to identify their strengths and use their talents in a positive manner.”

Nowack has seen firsthand how giving has positively affected people with depression or anxiety.

“Their mood improves, and they begin to view others in a more positive manner. Giving, even if it’s just a simple gift for the child who lives next door, increases their optimism and instills faith in the world around them,” she said.

volunteering, holiday spirit, giving back, mental health

While the holidays can be filled with social gatherings with family and friends, they also can be a time of sadness for people who have experienced the death of a loved one, a job loss or divorce. Nowack said giving can be a positive distraction.

“Giving allows individuals to see beyond their own personal difficulties and provides an opportunity to gain a new perspective on their own problems,” she said. “Don’t miss the opportunity to find fulfillment and make a difference through volunteering this holiday season.”

Do you or someone you know or love need mental health support this holiday season? Visit Memorial Behavioral Health for assistance and resources.