The gift of giving

Published 6:21 pm Friday, November 25, 2016


As Thanksgiving has passed and November nears its end, it is important to take a step back and put the season into perspective. There are so many stressors consuming our thoughts: maybe your extended family is coming into town; maybe you are worried about buying gifts; maybe you are celebrating your first holiday season without a loved one.

There are so many things to be thankful for, but it’s easy to lose sight of these things during the hustle and bustle of the season. It seems that November and December are filled with never-ending to-do lists — with little time to come up for air.

It’s important for us to stop and take a breath so we can reflect on how fortunate we are. Often, we take the little things for granted. There are so many people in the world who have so little. In order to lessen your stress levels, challenge yourself to give thanks for things you might normally overlook. Be grateful for your job that allows you to provide for yourself and your family, for your home that keeps you sheltered or even for your coat that keeps you warm.

One of the most rewarding ways to reduce the stress of the season is to help others in need. The holidays are filled with opportunities to lend a hand to others. These opportunities are rewarding to everyone involved — those who are receiving as well as those who are giving.

Although adding another item to the checklist during such a busy time may feel like a stretch, by doing good for others without any expectation of reward, we can combat the pressures of the season with giving. This type of altruistic behavior has been linked to better physical and mental health and has even been suggested in increased life expectancy.

When you give, you’re more likely to get back. Several studies have suggested that when you give to others, your generosity is likely to be rewarded by others down the line — sometimes by the person you gave to, sometimes by someone else. These exchanges promote a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others. What’s more, when we give to others, we not only make them feel closer to us; we also feel closer to them. Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably, which in turn creates a spirit of goodness and cooperation in your social community.

Here at Beaufort County Health Department, we are fortunate to have opportunities to help people every day through our jobs. In this holiday season, we also have the ability to go above and beyond to help the families we serve. Currently, the BCHD Social Work department is sponsoring a holiday project to benefit the children and expectant moms that are in our Care Coordination for Children (CC4C), Pregnancy Care Management and Healthy Beginnings programs. You can help make this an extra-special holiday for these families by donating a new teddy bear or other small stuffed animal for a holiday treat bag. You can also donate other small items for expecting moms such as ChapStick, mini hand sanitizer, nail polish or other items that will pass along the holiday spirit.

If you are interested in donating, please contact Becky Goodwin at 252-940-5081. Donations will be accepted through Nov. 30 and can be dropped off at the Beaufort County Health Department. Thank you for your help in bringing a little extra holiday joy to some of the families that we serve!

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens

Ashley Singleton and Samantha Heath are social workers with Beaufort County Health Department and can be reached at 252-946-1902.