There are 299 days until Christmas! The holiday season will soon be upon us. The holiday season is a busy time filled with work, shopping, parties and gatherings, food preparation, family traditions – and stress. Have you ever felt “holidazed”? Have you ever wondered how the holiday season passes by so quickly? This year, instead of the hustle and bustle of the mall, maybe it’s time for a new tradition – giving your time to a worthy cause. According to reduce.org, the average American spends $800 on gifts over the holiday season. Think about your time and energy spent driving all around town looking at so much stuff. It’s no wonder that so many people get stressed out during the holidays! The good news is volunteering can help reduce your stress. Volunteering can help protect your mental and physical health. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression than those who do not volunteer. I myself have experienced the benefits of volunteering. For several years, I have rung the bell at the Red Kettles for the Salvation Army, donated to the local food shelf, and helped with the Angel Tree program. These experiences were personally enriching, brought me great satisfaction, and did not cost me a dime. Through volunteering, I have discovered it is in giving that we receive. Giving your time to worthy causes not only helps your community, but also gives you a sense of contribution and involvement that is hard to quantify. It may seem impractical to advocate volunteering at a time of grave unemployment and economic crisis. However, the merits of volunteering both to the community and you are unquestionable. When you’re struggling financially yourself, there are other ways to demonstrate your support. Many of us want to help, but our own purse strings may be tighter in this tough economy. The cost of...
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