We are in the season of “merry and bright” but for some of us who have lost loved ones, this time of year isn’t always merry and bright, and that is okay. Gratitude practices are well known for their ability to fight a case of the blues. When you’re feeling down or stressed out, it’s the best time to focus on the things in you’re life that your grateful for. Practicing gratitude can lift our spirits and improve our overall happiness levels. Here are 6 ways you can practice gratitude:
Volunteer to Deliver Meals on Wheels with us! Diving into new, positive experiences is a surefire way to practice gratitude. Delivering meals is such a treat. The client interactions are pleasant, the drive through Liberty/Dayton is easy, and the meals leave a yummy smell in your vehicle. What’s not to like? Sign up here.
Early Morning Musings As soon as you wake up in the morning and before you get out of bed, identify five things in your life that you’re grateful for. There is no better way to start the day than thinking about the people and things in your life that you appreciate.
Handwritten Notes Try to make this an actual handwritten note that you can send in the mail or leave at someone’s desk or leave on someone’s car or doorstep. Make it warm and detailed. Tell them how they make you feel and how special they are to you. Not only will it be the highlight of their day, it’ll also make you feel good and bring you closer together.
Gratitude Journal Keep a daily journal, and at the same time every day (morning or bedtime), write down three things in your life that you’re grateful for and why — this can be anything from family members, to a safe and warm home or something great you did that day.
Mealtime Musings and Prayer Before you eat your next meal, consider recognizing how many steps the food had to travel before getting onto your plate. Give thanks to the farmers, the transportation, the grocery employees, or anyone who prepared the meal — picture each of these steps and people along the way, giving thanks for their contribution to your meal. This is a perfect group or family gratitude practice for Thanksgiving Day. Try doing one of these practices every day for 30 days straight and notice how it makes you feel!
Looking for ways to give back during the holidays? I hope this post inspires you and gets you and your family into the spirit of giving!
Today the holidays seem to be more and more about getting than giving gifts. Gifts, gifts and more gifts! We are inundated with ads promoting consumerism on a daily basis. For every two posts you scroll past on Facebook an ad appears. The true meaning of the season has been overshadowed with toys and technology. This year, lets vow to do more giving than getting.
Here are 15 ways to give back locally this season.
Volunteer to deliver meals with us! Delivering for meals on wheels will be the most rewarding part of your week. We deliver hot meals to home-bound senior citizens in our community who have difficulty preparing their own meals! Sometimes, we are the only people they interact with all day. There is something so special about being able to provide a hot meal to someone! Why wait for Thanksgiving to volunteer at a soup kitchen, when you can DELIVER a hot meal every day of the week! Sign up here.
Host a Canned Food Drive Join with us in collecting canned food to provide supplemental food to our neighbors in need! We are partnering with Liberty and Dayton ISD to make this drive a success this year so kids can participate as well! Find more information about this drive and our convenient drop of locations here.
Decorate Lunch Sacksfor Meals on Wheels When we deliver meals to our neighbors, we often have items like hot rolls or bananas along with the meal in a sealed tray and having paper sacks to transport the items from the car to our neighbor makes the process so much easier! Plus, it really brightens their day to receive the decorated sacks! Many of our clients even save the bags and have them hanging on their wall as art! If interested, buy standard size lunch sacks from your local grocery store or order from Amazon and decorate as many as you would like for us! You can drop off the decorated sacks at our office in the Choir Room of the First United Methodist Church in Liberty or at the Dayton Community Center office located inside Jones Public Library in Dayton!
Host a Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner at your Church Many of our neighbors do not have local family or friends to spend the holidays with. Reach out to your local church about hosting an event and promoting the attendance of those who don’t have plans for the holiday season! Offer to pick up and bring friends to the dinner!
Bake Some Love Everyone loves receiving baked goods! Get out your favorite recipes and bake cookies for friends or neighbors! Deliver them with a card letting them know how much you care about them!
Give Casseroles The holidays are busy for everyone! With all the rushing, planning, shopping and hosting, everyone could use a casserole, especially if you deliver it frozen so they can heat and eat it later! Cover your favorite casserole with foil and write the heating instructions on top!
Stuff Stockings For an easy and inexpensive gift, stop by your local dollar store and pick up stockings and fill with toiletries! Bonus if they are travel size, which are always handy to have!
Decorate Windows Contact your local nursing home and offer to decorate the windows of resident’s rooms! This will surely brighten their day!
Christmas Caroling Everyone loves carolers! Visit nursing homes, hospitals, or senior centers and offer to carol!
Grab a name off an Angel Tree Wal-Mart and some local grocery stores still participate in Angel Trees! Grab a name of a kiddo off the tree and fulfill their Christmas wish!
Donate a Book to the Library Do you have a favorite book that you and your family love to read during the holiday season? Buy it in hardback and donate it to your local library! Share the joy of the season with many others for years to come!
Donate Supplies to Teachers Many teachers use their own money for classroom supplies. They are constantly creating and crafting new games and activities to keep their students engaged! Contact your local school to get their wishlist items!
Give Craft Supplies to a Day Care Are you a pinterest queen or king? Find a fun and easy holiday craft and get the supplies needed to complete it. Write down the instructions and deliver the craft kit to your local daycare. The teachers will appreciate it so much! As long as is it doesn’t involve glitter! Ha!
Volunteer to hand out food with local food pantry If you live in Dayton, Cleveland or Liberty there are three different locations to volunteer at! The dWELLing in Liberty hands out food at the football stadium, the Dayton Community Center hands out food at their center and the Trinity River Food Bank also hands out food at their main location on Houston Street. Follow these groups on social media to find out their dates and times.
Let’s give back together this season! Got more ideas? I would love to hear them! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hannah Taylor, Executive Director GRACE Initiative