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Giving Back at the Holidays

Christmas can be both an exciting time of year and a difficult one. All the decorations, music and festivities can be great when things are going well for you. But when relationships are difficult, when you've experienced loss or when you are depressed, holidays can be very hard. If you are experiencing a recent loss, consider reading this short article or reading some previous blogs that reference grief. If you find yourself feeling sad or depressed, here's a short article on depression and here are some blog posts about depression. Whether the holidays are an exciting time or a difficult time for you, giving back can be a powerful, wonderful thing! I encourage you to take a look at these Raleigh organizations and find a way you can use your time or your resources to give of yourself! Doing this can reduce stress, decrease anxiety, improve mood and give meaning to your grief and loss. There are so many in need and so many small but meaningful ways you can help someone else. The Salvation Army, the Raleigh Rescue Mission, the Women's Center of Wake County, InterAct of Wake County, SAFEchild, and the United Way are just a few local organizations that have a multitude of ways you can help someone this holiday season. Take some time this week and find a way to give back. Schedule time to follow through. See if it doesn't improve your mood and lighten your load! If you are having difficulty this holiday season with sadness, depression, anxiety, grief or loss, consider giving the gift of counseling to yourself! Allowing someone to walk through your difficult time with you can be such a gift. Happy Holidays!

Serve your Community & Boost your Mood

A great way to kick depression, increase self esteem and get involved in your community is through serving. Volunteering in your community can significantly impact your mood for the better and increase self esteem. Getting outside ourselves helps us to realize things for which we can be thankful; it helps us to know we can make a difference. The surprising twist of volunteering is that typically we end up feeling joy in return for helping others! It feels good to get outside ourselves and help. When all we do is stare at our own circumstances, we can feel hopeless. But when we take time to serve others, we see a bigger perspective; life isn't solely about what is in front of our faces. There are great organizations in the Raleigh area that need volunteers. The Raleigh Rescue Mission and the Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen are just two of these local organizations where you can serve and volunteer. These are great places to serve on your own, with your family or grab a bunch of friends and volunteer! I encourage clients that I see in counseling to get outside themselves every now and then and volunteer! Depression keeps us focused inward on our pain, discouragement and current circumstances. Volunteering helps us to see that life isn't just about what we are experiencing currently; there are others in our community who are also having a difficult time, struggling to make ends meet and needing help. When we can reach out and help others, we feel more connected to our community and also a sense of empowerment that we can make a difference! I encourage you to look for opportunities to serve in your area. If you live in the Raleigh area, consider contacting one of these agencies to volunteer!