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Monday, November 11, 2019

The Holiday Season Offers Opportunities for Acts of Kindness

Recently in an Oprah Magazine column, she mentioned that while Thanksgiving is a day for togetherness, many people seem to be having a hard time making real and lasting connections; loneliness has become a serious issue. 

Research indicates that loneliness affects more than one-third of American adults, and those facing challenging life circumstances like the loss of a loved one, a chronic or catastrophic illness, heart disease mental illness or cancer. Certain age groups, adolescents, young and older adults seem to especially at risk marked by a growing incidence of depression, substance abuse and suicide.

Despite thinking the Internet offers greater connections, it has been found Internet and social media engagement may exacerbate feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety. The health risks are comparable to the dangers of smoking and obesity increasing mortality risk by up to 30%!  While the holidays may be joyous for some, it is a time to take the opportunity to reach out to others and extend a friendly hand.  Don’t stand on ceremony and put perceived notions aside. 

 

There is a sweet lady living in a nearby senior community who baked banana bread for everyone who moved to the community.  She’d drop by their residence and deliver a loaf welcoming the person to the community.  My neighbor and I recently threw a small housewarming party for a new family that just moved in across the street, I think it felt  as good to me as it did to them!  I make sure to include my single friends in my holiday pans, it always easy to include one more.  As a widow myself, I’m always grateful to be included in my friends and neighbor’s plans, it’s easy to forget how alone someone can be.       

 

My mother who is 91, is fiercely independent widow and lives at home with her dog. She is so appreciative to be included in her neighbor’s plans.  She doesn’t originate invitations often, but trust me, she is thrilled when the phone rings and someone extends an invitation to her.  From something as simple as an invitation to go shopping at a new store, out to lunch or even happy hour, she readily accepts. Her next-door neighbor includes her in her children’s birthday parties and even brings her breakfast on the weekends.  It’s not necessarily the destination but it’s the socializing that’s of tremendous value. 

Life is too short to stand on ceremony, maybe consider reaching out to someone this holiday season  Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

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