Four ways you can help the lonely over the holidays no matter how busy you are
It's easy to get busy, busy in the run up to the holidays. It's easy to get so focused on our own plans that we forget that it might not be the same for everyone. Songs like "It will be lonely this Christmas" always hit the heart and remind us that many people, for one reason or another, will be spending the holidays alone.
According to The Independent UK, that will be millions of us this year. With some family members painfully absent and others too far away to get home, the holidays can be an especially stressful time. We all want to feel loved and welcome over the holidays but for many that's just not the reality.
But if you're one of the lucky ones who will be surrounded by family and friends this year, eating and drinking until your hearts content, spare a thought for the people who won't be doing the same.
No matter how busy we might be, there is always something we can do to bring some holiday cheer to those less fortunate.
I'm so busy I can only spare half an hour can I still help?
Yes! Half an hour is still time for a good old-fashioned telephone call to someone you know will be alone over the holidays. A friendly voice can make that person feel connected to the world. And if they are connected to the internet there's Skype which allows you to call via audio or video if they have the technology and better yet it's free where ever they live! Simple for you and it will mean the world to them.
I've only got an hour or so what can I do?
You can check in on neigbours you know will be alone for a cup of tea and a good old chinwag. It may not seem much to you but to them it will make all the difference. You can offer to deliver them a helping of your holiday meal - or better yet consider inviting them to the festivity. They might need help with shopping or posting their mail before the big day, it will take a weight off their mind.
I can spare a few hours tell me what to do
Get in touch with your local community centre, care home or a local charity to see how you can be of service over the holidays. Often all they need is a few hours of your time to help with an event. VTV's Carol usually volunteers at a local soup kitchen when she's away from family over the holidays. Believe us you will get back so much more than you give.
I've got as long as it takes give it to me!
If you're feeling up for a challenge you could organise a community event, it could be carol singing, tea and biscuits at your local community hall, a shopping trip or even the movies. Anything that helps people who are alone feel connected again.
And if you're reading this and you're the one who's feeling lonely, then think about ways you can meet new people over the holidays. There are plenty of resources online and more people than you realise feeling like you, hoping someone will reach out. Maybe you can volunteer to help locally and be around other people.
Whatever you do - no matter how big or small - just know one thing is certain, giving back is the best present you can ever give to someone else AND to yourself! Better yet, you can reach out at any time of the year - don't wait for the holidays!
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