Can Adding This To Your To-do list Help Reduce Holiday Stress?

Each year as we’re faced with the potential burn out that the never-ending holiday to-do list can cause, and with strategies to reduce our stress or delegate in order to prevent the inevitable burn out. But it turns out there may be something we can ADD instead of subtract in order to beat holiday burnout – charitable actions.

While it may sound counter-intuitive, studies show that acts of kindness – weather via altruistic actions or transactions – can help reduce holiday stress. According to a study from the University of California, acts of kindness proved to significantly decrease the negative effects of stress. In fact, according to the University of Exeter, not only does volunteerism relieve stress on a day to day level, but it can add years to your life. Their study found that the mortality rate among people who volunteered regularly increased by 20% when compared to non-volunteers.

Beyond reducing negative impacts of day to day life, acts of kindness can increase positive ones like feelings of joy, meaningful living and social connectedness.

Now, we’re not telling you to take on the role of a saint! Even small acts of kindness can go a long way for those in need as well as your own well-being – emotionally and physically.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Add a couple of small toys, or double up on a few you’re already buying when doing your holiday shopping. Wrap them up and drop them off at your local children’s charity.
  • With the rise of micro-fundraising and digital donations, giving is easier and more accessible than ever. Make a small charitable donation to a cause close to your heart, or to a few causes.
  • Add a couple of non-perishable items to your grocery shopping list to donate to a local food drive.
  • Find a volunteer program that you can join during the holiday season, whether it be volunteering to serve a meal at a shelter, visiting the elderly at a senior center or assisted living facility or at a local humane society or a animal rescue organization.

And, if you have kids or grandkids bring them along! Studies show that children who grow up involved in volunteer work or witnessing acts of kindness are more likely to develop an inner sense of purpose and build healthy connections in their adolescence and adulthood.

Whatever you do, whoever you do it for, and however much you give – with your time or money, all of us at Miami Center of Excellence for Obstetrics and Gynecology wish you a happy and healthy holiday season ahead!