Cheer yourself up by giving to others
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
As we approach winter, with its horrid weather and constant darkness, it takes a toll on our well-being. The general atmosphere combined with the stress of finals and holidays causes many people to experience a seasonal gloom. This collective moodiness affects not only ourselves, but everyone around us. On the bright side, this means everyone around you is feeling just as bad as you are. It’s important to remember you aren’t alone in dealing with these blahs.
There are several ways to make yourself feel better, and most of them are quite inexpensive and easy. However, what’s most important is that these methods make you feel good via doing favours for others—not only giving major karma to you, but winning enormous brownie points with the favouree. These gifts are especially awesome for those who are also suffering from winter blues.
Baking. Whether it’s a casserole, muffins, or good old-fashioned cookies, preparing hot, tasty food is a fun way to stay in and be reminded of the fun aspects of winter. Baked goods can be made in large quantities and frozen for future enjoyment. They make excellent gifts for stressed friends or as backup/homemade Christmas gifts—though it’s okay to enjoy a few of them yourself.
Babysitting. Being relieved from caring for their young child for a few hours is one of the best gifts a parent can receive. This is especially true if the parent is a student, single, and/or working. The magnitude of their appreciation and how much of a difference one night off can make is often underestimated by others. Have a kid be your new friend for a few hours and it can be a very fun experience for everyone: the parent, the kid, and hopefully yourself.
Donating. Clothes, books, bedding, toys, or canned food—any of these things are needed more than ever by many in the winter months. Giving these to a homeless or women’s shelter can make a huge difference in the lives of the less fortunate. So dig up your old winter jackets or cans of beans hidden in the back of the pantry, because others need them more than you do. It’s a great way to make the holidays a little happier for the underprivileged.
Volunteering. Whether it’s at a shelter, soup kitchen, church, school, or care home, most places will always welcome a person to help out. Winter is often a time when some places need extra help, especially if they provide services to the less fortunate. Giving one night of your time makes a difference for not just one person, but an entire organization. It even looks good on an application or resumé.
Making coupons. This is yet another way of giving your time, but in a format that your giftee can save for later. Many of us used this method to give gifts to our parents for birthdays or holidays, but it still works as an adult. Make a few homemade coupons that can be redeemed for favours, like back rubs, coffee dates, or whatever your special skill happens to be. Favour coupons are an inexpensive, personal gift for a friend, roommate, or significant other. They are guaranteed to make the recipient very happy upon redemption.
Beating seasonal blues and helping others can be done at the same time. It’s a significant yet easy way to make both of you feel good while spreading extra joy this holiday season.