Consider Giving these Gifts this Holiday Season

We welcome with the holiday season hot chocolate, cozy fires, twinkling lights, and time spent with our families. Not surprisingly, what also comes along for the sleigh ride is holiday stress. The topic of gift giving often brings with it anxiety, worry and concern for a number of reasons. Take a look at the list below and consider incorporating these gifts into your giving this holiday season.

Gifts of Forgiveness

Scientific research shows us that forgiving past wrongs can be beneficial for mental health problems, substance abuse and chronic pain. When we focus on forgiving our body reacts in positive ways as the transformation of releasing pain and suffering is replaced with inner peace and empathy. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or excusing, but rather is intended to support you, the person doing the forgiving. So I ask, consider giving the gift of forgiveness to yourself this holiday season, and let the healing begin.

Gifts of Time

Giving of yourself to a local charity during the holidays can be incredibly beneficial. Not only are you making an impact on others, your own spirits can be lifted in the process.
Another way of looking at the gift of time, is setting clear expectations for your own time during the hustle and bustle. Often people feel pulled here, there and everywhere. Planning ahead and being mindful to your own needs is important all year long but especially during the holidays.

Gifts of Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal and try writing down three things you are thankful for nightly this holiday season. They can be silly and simple to complex and serious. Gratitude helps us feel less isolated and more connected to family, friends and our community.
Gratitude helps combat stress while supporting us in attaining our goals. Share with someone in a holiday card why you are grateful for them in your life. I guarantee it will mean more than the pair of new socks or fruitcake.

Gifts of Life

Do you have a budget to keep? Do you wish your kids’ lists weren’t so “over the top”? Well, consider with your kiddos giving gifts of life. Why do this? Gifts of life share life lessons. Ask your kids to consider an item on their list for each category: 1) Something you want/need: Sometimes we have to make decisions based on choosing our needs over our wants. At least understanding
the difference is a start. 2) Something to do: Gifts of experience and something to do can be great ideas for those who have everything and face it; we could all spend a little more time together.
3) Something to wear: This can be a want or a need item, the parent can help decide. 4) Something to read: Another life lesson — teaching our children and ourselves to be lifelong learners and value books is simply priceless.

From all of us at Healthy Sheboygan County 2020, we wish for you a safe, healthy, and peaceful upcoming holiday season! Be well.

Kate Baer is the executive director for Mental Health America in Sheboygan County and member of Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 Mental Health Committee.