'Tis the season for shopping, spending, and pleas from every direction to give to a worthy cause. As much as I think we can all agree that giving back is important, it's not often a top priority in our constant state of busyness, particularly during the holidays.
Unlike the holidays that are just days away whether you’re ready or not, there’s no deadline on doing good. It’s never too late to start, and the world will never run out of causes in need of helping hands. If giving back wasn’t on your to-do list in 2019, I challenge you to make it part of your life in 2020. Obviously, you’ll help the people or cause you decide to support, but that’s just the beginning. Doing good will do you more good than you might realize.
- Acts of altruism release dopamine—literally making you happier.
- Studies have suggested physical benefits as well from doing good—lowering stress, reducing blood pressure, decreasing cardiovascular risk, and maybe even helping you live longer.
- Offering a helping hand to others reminds you of all you have to be grateful for. Gratitude curbs impulse spending—creating a healthier relationship with your wallet.
Speaking of your wallet, giving money isn't the only way to give back. Here are 4 different ways to make a positive impact without making a donation.
4 Low-Cost Ways to Give Back
- Give blood. There's no substitute for human blood and an endless need for a fresh supply. A couple pricks and an hour of your time are all it takes to save a life. Miller-Keystone is the local blood bank for the Lehigh Valley; serving eastern PA and western NJ.
- Visit a nursing home. In a world where being busy is practically a badge of honor, your time is a precious gift. Many senior care facilities have opportunities for volunteers to spend time with residents doing activities, performing, or just chatting.
- Go for a (dog) walk. Are you more of a pet person than a people person? Walking is a great, low-impact exercise for both the pups and you, and shelters can't keep up without volunteers.
- Be a good friend. It's not just strangers that could use a helping hand; the people you know and love need support too. Make a meal for a family going through a tough time, volunteer to babysit for the mom in desperate need of a day off, send a note of encouragement to a grieving friend, or write a letter to your grandparents just because.
Those ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless organizations that depend on volunteers to carry out their missions. Find an organization in your area looking for volunteers through websites like VolunteerMatch. Are you up for giving back in 2020? Try it and see how it feels. I think you’ll like it.