5 Ways to Embrace the Season of Giving during COVID -19

Updated: May 25, 2021

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill.

For many of us, the holiday season is a time of spiritual reflection, joyful togetherness, and most of all, the time of giving and sharing what we have with others. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has changed many things about how we give and celebrate the holidays this year; However, with some thoughtful and creative planning, it’s possible to keep the holiday spirit strong and embrace the “season of giving" while we keep others and ourselves safe.

Here are five ways you can spread your spirit of generosity and make your community a better place this holiday season.

1. Raise Money for a Charity. If you usually exchange presents with family and friends, consider asking them to donate to charity instead. You can suggest a charity dear to your heart or let the gift-giver choose the organization. This will make the holiday more meaningful and set a good example, particularly if you have children, by demonstrating the importance of giving.

  • If you’ve traditionally volunteered to help those in need, check with the organizations you’ve supported to see what you can do now. The pandemic has left many people and nonprofit organizations struggling. There are many ways that you can make a difference.

2. Donate Blood. Giving blood is just as important as ever and giving safely is a priority for the American Red Cross and other blood donation centers. In addition to working by appointment, most donation centers have implemented several other precautions to keep you safe.

3. Support Emergency and Essential Workers. The best way to support healthcare professionals through the pandemic is to heed their expert public health and safety advice. It’s up to everyone to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19, and you can do your part by following the CDC’s COVID-19 Guidelines. You can also write thank you notes or contact a local restaurant to see if you can order food and have them deliver it to a local hospital, fire station, EMS station, or police department.

4. Remember Four-Legged Friends. You can help your local animal shelter by donating dog or cat food and supplies such as cat litter and treats. Another way to give back is to adopt an animal or foster one, which helps reduce overcrowding in shelters, opens up space for other animals, and helps prepare them to transition to permanent homes successfully.

5. Give Yourself the Gift of Wellness. To help others, you first have to be sure to take care of yourself. Keep your holidays merry and bright with these strategies for well-being:

  • Wear a face mask over your mouth and nose when you can’t be at least 6 feet away from others to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses such as colds and the flu

  • Make hand hygiene a priority by washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Eat healthy foods, which will boost your immune system

  • Sleep a recommended 7 to 9 hours nightly; our bodies make more immune cells when we’re asleep than when we’re awake

  • Stay active, which releases endorphins that can help manage stress and relieve inflammation and irritability

  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. If you smoke tobacco or if you vape, you're already at higher risk of lung disease. Because COVID-19 affects the lungs, your risk increases even more. Using alcohol to try to cope can make matters worse and reduce your coping skills. Avoid taking drugs to manage unless your doctor prescribed medications for you.

  • Relax and recharge. Set aside time for yourself. Even a few minutes of quiet time can be refreshing and help quiet your mind and reduce stress and anxiety. Many people benefit from practices such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation. Soak in a bubble bath, listen to music, or read a book — whatever helps you relax. Select a technique that works for you and practice it regularly.

  • Get help when you need it. Hoping mental health problems such as anxiety or depression will go away on their own can lead to worsening symptoms. If you have concerns or experience worsening mental health symptoms, ask for help when you need it, and be upfront about how you're doing. To get the help, you may want to call your primary care provider or mental health professional to ask about appointment options to talk about your anxiety or depression and get advice and guidance. Some may provide the option of a phone, video, or online appointments. If you're feeling suicidal or thinking of hurting yourself, call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

As you can see, the season of giving can really mean what you want it to mean. Embrace it by choosing your unique way to give back to others while giving gratitude for all you’ve received. Customize the season to fit your life and cater to the things that are important to you. Taking this approach enables you to get the most out of this season of giving and ensures that you can make new memories that you’ll cherish forever.

I wish you a joyful season with good health and loving people around you!

Netsanet Tegegn, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist in Virginia Beach who provides individualized counseling services for those who wish to create long-lasting and positive changes in their lives...

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