Stress Less Week 3: Managing Holiday Stress Through the Joy of Giving

Posted on by Catherine Broxon. This entry was posted in Volunteerism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Welcome to week three of the Stress Less Holiday Challenge! If you haven’t signed up to receive our weekly emails with recipes, workouts, and articles — there’s still time! Let’s make the most of the holidays together.

As Thanksgiving creeps up on us and November nears its end, it is important to take a step back and put the season into perspective. There are so many stressors consuming our thoughts: maybe your extended family is coming into town, maybe you are worried about buying gifts, maybe you are celebrating your first holiday season without a loved one.

Whatever the cause, we can combat the pressures of the season with giving.

Giving Thanks

There are so many things to be thankful for, but it’s easy to lose sight of these things during the hustle and bustle of the season. It seems that November and December are filled with never-ending to-do lists, with little time to come up for air.

It’s important for us to stop and take a breath so we can reflect on how fortunate we are. Oftentimes, we take the little things for granted. There are so many people in the world who have so little. So to stress less, I challenge you to give thanks for things you might normally overlook. Be grateful for you job that allows you to provide for yourself and your family, for your home that keeps you sheltered from the Seattle rain, or even for your coat that keeps you warm.

Take a few minutes each day to reflect on these seemingly small things that we tend to forget about, and the stress of the holidays may start to seem unimportant in comparison. A perfect opportunity to slow down and reflect can be found at Whole U meditation class, or at December’s mindfulness retreat, a full day focused on stress reduction and inner care.

Giving Back

Speaking of giving, the holidays are filled with opportunities to lend a hand to those who need it. These opportunities are rewarding to everyone involved, including those giving and receiving. We’re making it easy to give with a product drive for FareStart, a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. We’ll be collecting clothing, personal hygiene products, and items for holiday gifts. We will be collecting items at these locations:

  • Mary Gates Hall – Inside the north exterior door (across from Suzzallo Library), centered against the wall that leads to the commons room
  • HS Lobby – 3rd floor C-wing
  • Harborview – Volunteer Services Office, 1 Center Tower 98
  • Roosevelt Commons West – Lobby
  • Tower – Cafeteria

Not all giving back involves money or things. You can also donate your time! No matter where you choose to volunteer, this contribution creates priceless memories for those who benefit from your giving. The UW Combined Fund Drive has loads of events and volunteer opportunities for you to participate in this holiday season.

Giving Gifts

If picking the perfect gift weighs on your mind during the holiday season, you are not alone! These things also take a toll on our wallets and stress levels. A carefully selected and thoughtful gift goes much farther than your classic big-ticket items. Many expensive material goods only bring a fleeting joy, and their novelty wearing off by next year’s holiday season.

Studies show that investing in experiences is much more meaningful to the receiver and beneficial to the giver. So next time you’re out to purchase a gift, whether for your mom, son, friend, or secret Santa, opt for the memories rather than the newest gadgets. Another helpful tip when shopping: stick to a budget, and don’t allow yourself to go over it! Overspending is a common issue during the holiday season, which is hard on us and our bank accounts.

So, what’s the key to stressing less this holiday season? Give, give, give! What’s your favorite way to give during the holiday season? Do you have tips for appreciating the little things, a favorite place to volunteer, or a go-to gift that doesn’t break the bank? Share with us in the comments!