Days are getting shorter, leaves are turning brown, and pumpkin pies have taken over. As Thanksgiving approaches, remember to practice gratitude and focus on what really matters. Take some time to look back on your life and appreciate how far you’ve come. Make a list of all the things that you are thankful for this year ⎼ your success at work, the friendships you have gained, the quality time you have spent with loved ones. As you take inventory of all the positive changes in your life, think of ways you can positively impact others.
Giving back is powerful. It can fill your life with meaning and purpose, empower you to become the best version of yourself, introduce you to a loving and caring community, provide an outlet for negative emotions, give you a more positive outlook on life, and keep you committed to your recovery.
This holiday season, take advantage of one of the greatest gifts that recovery has given you: the chance to give back to others. There is no shortage of volunteering opportunities, so find what you’re passionate about and get involved. Below are some ideas to help you get started:
Help Others Stay Warm This Winter
As the temperatures drop, struggling families must decide between providing their children with food or a warm coat, and the homeless are left to brave the elements on the streets. For many this season, a coat can be life-saving. Something as simple as going through your closet and donating a warm items can make a tremendous impact to the life of another. A great way to make an even bigger impact is by encouraging your friends and family to participate, or by setting up a coat drive at your job.
There are several non-profits that organize coat drives. You can find where to donate using One Warm Coat’s drop off location finder, or by reaching out to your local community center, homeless shelters, and churches.
Visit a Nursing Home
The holidays are a great time to spend with loved ones, but for those whose loved ones aren’t around, the holidays can be a particularly lonely time. As someone in recovery, you understand the importance of community and connections. This holiday season, consider giving back by volunteering at a nursing home or helping homebound seniors. Maybe there’s even someone in your own neighborhood who lives alone and could use the extra help and company. Something as simple as baking them cookies, helping them with their groceries, or bringing them a book or a plant can brighten up their day.
If you are looking for more formal volunteering opportunities, visit ElderHelpers.
Recovery saved your life; your blood donation could do the same for someone else. Because giving blood requires minimal time and costs you nothing, it is an ideal way to give back during this busy holiday season. Note that not everyone is eligible to donate, including those who have used drugs intravenously. Nevertheless, there are still many ways to help, even if you are not eligible, by encouraging others to give blood via social media or by hosting a blood drive at work.
Provide Kids in Need with Some Holiday Cheer
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all, we can all agree that children love celebrating the holidays. Unfortunately, many are unable to indulge in the magic of the season due to their financial situation or health. You can help children in need enjoy the holidays by donating toys to organizations such as Toys for Tots, ‘adopting’ a family or child for the holidays through a local Adopt-A-Child program, donating food to local food banks that help provide special holiday meals, making handmade holiday cards for hospitalized kids, or dropping off gift baskets at your local hospitals.