Helping others is one of the best cure for mental wellbeing and feelings of loneliness as backed by psychologists.
Christmas is a wonderful holiday, full of opportunities to catch up with family and spend time with those we consider to be nearest and dearest. Research by Age UK reveals that close to 1 million older people say they feel lonelier at Christmas time. These individuals can go anything up to a week without seeing or speaking to anyone. Sadly, this cohort is often joined by a large number of other individuals who are alone at this time of year for a number of reasons. It’s important that we be helpful to everyone who might need it this Christmas and here are 6 ideas you can use to help you do so.
Take the time to talk to an elderly stranger at Christmas time, or anyone who seems to be on their own. It is something that should be done all year round, but is particularly of value at this time of year. You may be a rather busy individual, but there are always opportunities to talk to people. According to a survey conducted by Adioma, we interact with only 3 people on any given day. Whether this is your neighbour, or the old man sitting in the pub on his own - go out of your way to speak to these people. There is a lot of power in giving someone your time of day and making an effort to find out what’s going on in their life. Even if you don’t have time for this, a simple hello is enough to lift anyone’s mood.
If you really aren’t much of a talker, then why not try something more creative this Christmas. Next time you go to the post office or the shops, why not pick up a few more cards than usual this year and deliver them to people who might like to receive one. Writing a card for someone has tremendous sentimental value and there’s always the potential that the receiver may well display that card proudly in their living room. Cards are relatively affordable as a novel gesture these days but they mean just that bit more to someone that wasn’t expecting one. Websites like Snapfish can be really helpful in producing personlised Christmas cards.
Care homes are a wonderful place to get involved with your local community. During this time of year, many care homes host a range of fun and exciting activities and would be more than happy to have any extra help that they possibly can. Whether it’s baking some mince pies, crafting some personalised cards, or planting a christmas tree … there are so many activities that you could help to make extra special. These people have some of the most wonderful stories to tell but sadly have nobody to tell it to. Giving some time and energy to helping the eledrly feel good at care homes this Christmas is a fantastic way to spread the festive cheer to everyone.
Christmas time also brings with it a considerable amount more of free time. Everyone has something to offer others in order to make the world a better place. If you want to learn how to play the piano then take a look at Annamarias story on our blog. Take the time this Christmas to consider what skills you might have that could benefit other people. If you know somebody who wants to learn a new language, why not help them to get started or make a plan for the new year? If you are particularly good with technology, why not help an elderly person to understand their gadgets more without them having to ask? This time of year is all about sharing and receiving - core values of our mission here at Helpfulpeeps. Find someone you can help this year on our website, or download our app from the iOS or Android store.
Christmas would not be the same without a good ol’ fashioned Christmas roast. The thought of such a meal is already making our mouths water here. It’s important to think about what happens after the Christmas meal however. How much food do we really need to keep for a sandwich later in the day. Each year, every household across the country faces a problem of food waste. In an effort to spare the wasting of food this year, why not invite the neighbours round for dinner too; or the person you know might be susceptible to loneliness this year. One more seat at the table might help to keep everyone from slipping into a food coma. It might add another cheesy joke from a Christmas cracker. Don’t just be generous with presents this year, be hospitable to those who might need it.
One of the most impactful ways to combat loneliness this Christmas is to get involved with a cause. There are many charities, from Clicsargeant to Save the Children, that are looking to tackle loneliness at this time of year. Financial contributions go a tremendous way in helping these organisations tackle the problem effectively. If you don’t want to contribute financially, then why not help by offering your time. Volunteering at food banks, shelters, and through sponsored events is a great way to help these organisations deliver the best help possible.