Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Positive Thinking and How Attitude Affects Your Wellness Goals

ThinkstockPhotos-506910700.jpgThe second you tell yourself you can’t do something (without even trying), you are not even giving yourself a chance. It blocks you mentally from wanting to do something out of your comfort zone. When you have a negative thought of “I can’t” or “I won’t,” you aren’t even giving yourself the option to succeed at wellness or anything else.

Working Instead of Wishing

Of course, you can’t just “wish” for something to happen; you need to work for it as well. But telling yourself that you are capable gives you a push to believe in yourself and overcome any fears involved. Positive thinking and emotions broaden your horizons and open your mind to new options. They help you see the bigger picture, which in turn gives you multiple paths to reach your overall goal.

Positive Thinking Helps You Build Skills

Regardless of your situation, you can always make the most of what is given to you. You can improve the quality of your experiences even if you can’t change the situation. This is where positive thoughts come into play. Positive thinking is more than just being happy. This attitude adds value to your life by helping you build skills that move you forward. A negative emotion narrows your thought process and closes you off to other opportunities that surround you.  Consider how attitude affects your wellness goals, below are some ways to to switch your mindset.

How to Be More Positive

Focus on meditation, journaling, and enjoyment.

  • Meditation: Meditation quiets the mind and helps you focus on the task at hand. You will want to sit comfortably and focus on breathing smoothly and calmly. Imagine a path you are walking and make positive statements along the way. If a negative one pops into your mind, acknowledge it, correct it, and move on. Make sure to continue to focus on your breathing. This can also help relieve stress and anxiety, so it can be done on a daily basis, whether in the morning to start your day or at the end to relieve any tension.
  • Journaling: By writing out your thoughts, or journaling, you can make yourself accountable for your goals by putting it in print. This accountability makes the tasks a bit more real, and you may work harder to make it happen. You can list the steps you want to take to reach the end result and what roadblocks might get in the way, and then set dates for when you want to achieve these goals. Most importantly, you can write down positive statements like “I will” or “I can” to keep you motivated. You can also write down what you are thankful for in your life at that moment. At the end of each day, write down three things that went well, even if you had a rough day. This helps you focus on the good rather than the bad.
  • Enjoyment: Enjoyment is a bit different from meditation and journaling. This is about doing things that make you happy during the process of reaching your goals, but that might not be related to them. For example, your goal may be to work toward a promotion at work, but you really enjoy having time with your family. If you are working a few more hours during the week, make sure to schedule a fun activity, like going to the zoo, on the weekend and leave your work phone at home. If you don’t mix in quality time for enjoyment of what makes you happy, you will stop working toward your goals because you will feel it’s hurting you rather than helping you.

Be happy regardless of goal achievement. Just because you didn’t get chosen for a promotion or you missed a workout doesn’t mean your worth is lessened. It just means you are meant to do something different or that you need to change your plan of action and try something new. At the end of the day, you need to love where you are in life and desire to make improvements. So think positively and give yourself a chance.

Looking to better your wellness or fitness program for employees?  Download our whitepaper for ideas that will help you implement change, click below to recieve a copy.

Implement surveys to initiate change

Topics: goals wellness attitude positive thinking

NIFS Nutrition: Common Weight-loss Questions

ThinkstockPhotos-488214534.jpgAs the Wellness Coordinator at NIFS, I get to meet a lot of great clients and help them attain their nutritional goals. I have noticed some common weight-loss questions that arise during the sessions. Hopefully if you have been wondering the same things, these answers will give you some more insight.

How do I gain muscle and lose fat?

The best way to lose fat is to either increase the amount of calories you burn or decrease the amount of calories you consume. As you are doing this, you also need to make sure you are doing 2 to 3 days of strength training per week to build muscle.

To decrease calories, it is important to keep track of what you are eating and see where you can decrease. This might mean decreasing the amount of coffee creamer you put in your cup of joe or swapping the potato chips at lunch for some raw veggies.

Increasing your protein intake won’t automatically increase your muscle mass. If you are strength training 2 to 3 times per week, a simple calculation to know your protein needs is to divide your body weight in half and multiply by 1.5.

Can you give me tips on how to lose weight?

The first advice I always give to anyone wanting to lose weight is to start keeping track of your food. Studies have shown you eat 40% less when you write it down! This can be done with the apps available for your phone, using a website, or just jotting it down with a pen and a piece of paper. It will allow you to see when and why you eat and also will hold you accountable for what you are eating.

The other thing that can be helpful with weight loss is to look at what you are drinking. Are you consuming empty calories from flavored coffee drinks, soda, juice drinks, or alcohol? Most people tend to eat the same amount of food no matter how many calories they consume from their beverages. So try to stick to water, low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, and 100% juices for the majority of your liquids.

How many calories do I need a day?

Every person is a different height and weight, and has varying levels of activity, so there isn’t one calorie number that works for all individuals to follow. Instead, use the simple Choose My Plate calculator that takes these factors into account to determine the proper amount you should be consuming. Not only does it give an overall number, but what is more important, it tells you how to get in that number. Recommended servings of grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and beans, and fat are given, along with some “extra” calories for those every-once-in-awhile food choices!

Personal Nutrition Coaching at NIFS

If you are interested in having your questions answered during a personal nutrition consultation, please contact me at amitchell@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext. 239. Click below for more information on packages and pricing.

Find Out More

Topics: nutrition weight loss weight management NIFS apps strength training wellness nutrition coaching

Hydration Is Key for Health and Wellness

Quick! What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “water”? Is it the beach? Rain? Thirst? How about hydration? Most people have heard that on average the human body is made up of about 60 percent water, but what exactly does that mean? Why is water so important to the human body? Well, let’s look at the facts.

ThinkstockPhotos-119492687.jpgWhy You Need to Drink Water

Water plays several important roles in the human body.

  • Water regulates body temperature through sweating and respiration. It helps to lubricate the joints for movement.
  • Water carries oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to various body parts for adequate functioning, and removes toxins and waste.
  • Water especially helps to maintain regularity of the bowels and prevents unwanted body aches and conditions such as heartburn, migraines, ulcers, kidney stones, and backaches.

Consuming adequate amounts of water each day can also help to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as reduce cholesterol levels. How? Well, the more water you drink throughout the day, the more fluid leaves your blood vessels. When this happens, your blood vessels are able to relax. When the vessels relax and dilate, a decrease in blood pressure occurs. When the blood vessels remain relaxed and pressure lowers, the risk for other serious cardiovascular conditions decreases as well. Reduction in blood pressure specifically helps to decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack.

How Much Water Does a Person Need?

With all of these different body systems relying on water to help them run optimally, how do you make sure you are consuming enough? Recommendations vary on this topic, but remember that water comes from more than just the bottle we drink throughout the day. It is believed that about 80 percent of water intake comes from drinking, and the other 20 percent comes from the food you consume throughout the day. The most recent recommendations suggest that women should consume 9 cups and men 12.5 cups of total beverages each day for optimum hydration.

Considerations That Affect Hydration

So you know why you need water and how much, but what factors affect hydration changes besides how much you consume? Additional considerations relating to hydration include your physical activity level, current health state (such as if you have a cold or flu), heat, and humidity. Sweating during activity is your body’s way of maintaining an adequate temperature. If you are working out and sweating, your body is losing water. So remember to hydrate before, during, and after a workout. If you feel ill and experience a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, fluid intake should also increase to prevent dehydration. Lastly, be aware of your environment and how you feel. If you become uncomfortably warm or are exercising in hot or humid climates, be sure to consume above-average amounts of water. 

Water’s Role in Weight Loss

Lastly, water works with your metabolism to help with weight maintenance. If you are hungry, drink a glass of water. If your body is lacking water, thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger. Increasing your water consumption can help contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan while providing your body with the many elements it needs to survive.

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: weight loss hydration water disease prevention health wellness high blood pressure

The Importance of Being Your Own Health Care Advocate

It is safe to generalize and say the majority of people put a lot of trust in their doctor and admire them simply for their level of education. After all, they did go through many years of extensive and exhausting studying and training in order to earn the title of “Doctor.” They even have a decent health grade and framed certificates around the office, but does that mean we should put all of our faith in them and make them 100% responsible? Well, not exactly.

overwhelmed_senior_ThinkstockPhotos-471557740There are a lot of checks and balances in place when it comes to health care. You have nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician’s assistants, physicians, surgeons, and more, but what if all of these fail? Though it may be rare, it does happen. So who should ultimately be accountable? You. 

Too often, patients sit in a doctor’s office and are given loads of information, which might as well be told in a foreign language, all wrapped up in 5 minutes. The patient sits, smiles, and nods, thinking (or pretending) that they followed every detail that was spilled out to them. We assume the medications and dosages we are being prescribed are necessary and safe.

Kelly’s Story

A friend of mine, who we will call Kelly, was not feeling well and had arrangements to fly later in the week. To avoid being uncomfortable during her travels, Kelly reached out to her doctor. Kelly’s doctor was out of town, but the partnering doctor was available to see her. Without hesitation, the partnering doctor prescribed Kelly an antibiotic, and, without any questions, Kelly picked it up at her local pharmacy. A week later, Kelly felt extremely foggy-headed and enormously sluggish, and started developing rashes, painful headaches, very achy joints, and more. 

Kelly put her week on replay, trying to figure out what she had done differently that could cause such a major downward spiral in her physical health. Then it hit her: the antibiotic. She quickly started searching for answers and within seconds, from a simple Google search, she found it. Kelly was prescribed a sulfa drug, which is the number-one drug that should be avoided if you have lupus. Because the doctor seemingly did not even glance at Kelly’s files, the pharmacist did not pay attention to her log of current medications, and Kelly did not think twice about a doctor’s advice, she had the worst lupus flareup she had ever experienced.

How to Advocate for Your Own Health Care

Why do we assume all instructions are best for us because of a health professional’s level of education and authority? It is our body, yet we blindly and mindlessly do as we are told. Why is it difficult to be vulnerable and admit that we do not understand the information we are given during our visits? When did we lose our curiosity or stop asking “why?” You are at the office seeking medical advice, so seek it! Here’s how:

  • Ask questions.
  • Have logs and questions written down before you walk into the office.
  • Make the doctor or nurse write down information for you.
  • Ask for the doctor to explain what the lab results mean, not just rattle off numbers that you can read yourself. Then ask for copies of the lab results.
  • Remind all health professionals involved of your medications and lifestyle changes.
  • Request print materials related to your diagnosis. If your doctor is not willing, it may be time for a new doctor.

Remember, you are part of the team that makes decisions toward improving your health and wellness. Be involved, be informed, and be okay with asking for help when you don’t understand. Be your own advocate.

Your health is important, check out our quick read to see why exercise is important in aging well, download it below!  

 Download now

Topics: senior wellness health and wellness wellness health care

Employee Health: Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

healthy_breakfastHave you ever wondered how some people seem to have energy throughout the day and manage to work out after they get off work?  What’s their secret and how can you steal it?

It’s no secret; you’ll have more energy for physical activity if you are properly fueled and that starts with the most important meal of the day – breakfast.

To get from point “A” to “B” you need to fuel your car with gas or you won’t reach your destination; but if you haven’t checked the oil in a while the engine is going to have issues and your car will be in serious trouble. We put more thought into maintaining our vehicles then we do for caring for ourselves. Think of the food and water you consume as gasoline and oil. If you choose low quality foods and fail to drink enough fluids your performance will be compromised, you’ll become dehydrated, and won’t have any energy.

If you wait until lunch to have your first meal you’re more likely to make poor food choices and cave into eating whatever is most readily available simply because you’re too hungry to make a better choice. If you start your day off with a healthy breakfast you’ll be more likely to make other healthy choices. One good decision will lead to more good choices. You’ll be more likely to pass on tempting leftovers in the break room and instead choose to have a healthy lunch. The bonus is you’ll be able to work out because you’ll have the energy.

Lack of time, choices, and simply not feeling hungry are the common reasons why we skip breakfast. Planning ahead and having some quick no-fuss options in the kitchen or at your desk will save you time. Keep dry cereal, whole wheat bagels, a nut butter, or instant oatmeal on hand. If you still cannot manage eating a whole meal in the morning start with something small like a banana. Stay on track with your eating throughout the day.

See for yourself how eating breakfast can affect your energy level and increase your daily activity and let us know using #NIFS150 and #MoveMore.

Subscribe to NIFS blog

Topics: employee health wellness nifs nutrition news

What If: Health care providers worked together with exercise specialists to prescribe exercise?

Throughout 2015, we’ll be blogging about our dreams for corporate wellness, fitness, and aging well.  Some of the content will represent a gentle “poking fun” at the industry, but it’s all written to stimulate thought about what really could be if we put our heads together and started mapping out what’s really possible in the realm of individual wellbeing.  We hope you’ll join the conversation by commenting on the blogs, giving us additional ideas about which to write, and/or by finding us out on Twitter at #wellnesswhatif.

seniors_on_res_ballsYou’ve heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”, right?  The idea is that a child needs a whole village worth of support an influence, and education, and diversity to be raised into a healthy and vibrant member of society.  If we look at individual wellbeing through a similar lens, I would say that it takes a team to help an individual be well. 

When I think about the generally poor health (admittedly, I tend to focus on physical health) for adults in the US, specifically preventable issues, I wonder how much is connected to adults simply not knowing how to choose better health and how much goes back to adults making unhealthy choices even though they know better.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of external players who influence an individual’s health.  I can’t get into all of those factors here, but I do want to focus on the potential for a better relationship between health care providers and exercise specialists.  What follows are some of the historical challenges as well as some what if ideas for working better together to take a team approach on individual wellbeing.

When I was working in corporate fitness several years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for me start talking with a new member about her goals for exercise and learn that she came to see me because their physician recommended she start exercising.  In further conversation, I would learn that either the doctor provided no guidance on how often, how much, what intensity of exercise would be best, or (sometimes worse) the physician would have provided recommendations that were not practical for the individual.

It was always so helpful, when working with individuals who had a complicated health history, to get a physician recommendation that took into account that complex health picture.  With more information from the doctor, I was able to write a more effective exercise prescription.  But more often than not, the physician is hurried and filling out one more form isn’t top on their list, so I’d get an almost blank form returned with little more than their signature.

          What if physicians had more time for discussion with patients about preventive health?

I think at least some of the barrier, though I’ve never heard anyone actually articulate this, is the image of the personal trainer.  The certifications available for personal trainers are many and varied in terms of their rigor and it leaves a lot of question about credentials.  Licensure has been debated for years in the industry and although the discussion varies by state (currently Louisiana is the only state with licensure requirements for clinical exercise physiologists), I think the reason licensure is even on the table is because the disparity among requirements for certification is so widely varied, it’s tough for even a well-educated individual to get to the bottom of what “certified personal trainer” really means.

What if all certifications had to meet a specific standard that raised the bar for education and experience?

The American College of Sports Medicine released an Exercise Is Medicine campaign years ago with the goal to have physicians make regular exercise a part of their recommendations for practitioners to their patients.  The program includes guidelines for health care providers as well as for exercise specialists to interact in the best interest of the public.  While some progress has been made on the partnership between the medical community and exercise professionals, there is much work to be done to bridge that professional relationship for the improved outcomes of the patients.

 What if health insurance supported visits with a certified exercise specialists as part of a prescription for better health? (Not unlike counseling from a registered dietitian accompanies a diagnosis of diabetes.)

 
What if general practitioner offices hired exercise physiologists to counsel patients right in their offices?
 
What if medical training provided some insight into exercise prescription and curriculum for exercise physiologists provided insight into what the doctor has to accomplish with a patient in an office visit?

We have a long way to go to build a strong village that contributes positively to individual’s health and this health care + exercise practitioner discussion is only one portion of that village.  What other areas are you passionate about?  Where do we need to build a better village to help individuals make healthier choices?

 

 

Topics: wellness exercise and health what if

NIFS: Gain positive thinking with practices and questions (Part 2)

Before, we discussed how a negative attitude can adversely affect a person’s health.  Luckily, experts say you can change your ways regardless of how long you have been in a negative thinking slump. 

You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking (don't miss part 1). They say the process is simple, but it does take time and practice —after all, you’re creating a new habit!

In my personal experience, when someone around me is being negative, I find that it really affects my mood.  How so?  Here is an example. 

My husband is a third shift worker and when he is just getting off of work, I am heading to work.  This means we are on opposite schedules 90% of the time.  Think of your regular work day.  Everything that went on at work, usually sticks with you till the end of the day when you can finally talk to someone about it.  If my husband had a rough night at work that resulted in a bad attitude, it typically spills over into our conversation.  Let me tell you, the last thing I want to hear at the start of my day is how bad his day was.  Sometimes, because of his bad night, it affects his thinking and before you know it the whole conversation is negatively affected and I’m annoyed by the time I’m off the phone.

Because of our schedules, I have had to adjust my way of thinking and create new habits when it comes to our morning conversations.  I can’t hold it against him for being in a bad mood, but sometimes I ask him a couple questions to try to bring what happened into perspective.  Sometimes this works, while other times it doesn’t and I have to be the one who changes my way of thinking and let him be in a negative mood while I remind myself this doesn’t have to affect the rest of my day. 

What works for me when trying to think positive?  

roadrageWhen service is slow at a restaurant: I often try to remind myself what it must be like to work in a place where what other people do affects how quickly you can get your job done.  For example: getting upset at the waitress when really something in the kitchen is what held up your food.

When someone is tailgating you while driving:  Instead of being that person who taps my breaks or purposely slows down to make that person more aggravated, I get into the other lane or wave them around me when the road is clear.  They must have somewhere to be that’s very important, right?!

When I am sore or do not feel the greatest: I think to myself that there are far more people that have bigger things going on.  My back hurts? What about the person who can’t walk because of back problems?  I’m tired?  Put on a smiling face and maybe that will make it easier to wake up and get through the day.  In my opinion, it’s better not to pout.  And like I said before “fake it till you make it”.

If you find it hard to find the other side of a story or think that there is no way you can be wrong, there are also questions that you can ask yourself to help you get on the path to positive thinking.  Carthage Buckley is an experienced learning and development professional who specializes in mentoring, coaching, and providing people with motivational skills.  He has had great success in giving people the ability to empower themselves to make the positive changes they are looking for.   On his website, Carthage listed “14 Questions to help you overcome your negative thinking”.   Listed below are great questions for everyone to ask themselves.  

  1. Is this fact or just my opinion?
  2. Could I be wrong?
  3. Why am I so certain of the conclusion I have reached? 
  4. What assumptions am I making?
  5. What evidence is there to support/dispute my thinking? 
  6. Who says things should be this way?
  7. When I felt like this before, what did I do to change my viewpoint?

My Challenge to you:  For the next 5 days, try to take a sour situation and put a positive spin on it.  Just today, I read this quote on a friend’s social media account, author unknown “Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right.”  Meaning you ask?  When I have a conversation with someone that has a negative tone, it seems like that person is battling the other possibility, the other side of the story.  When I try to show light or perspective on the other side, I am told why I am wrong.  Pick your battles, believe it or not, you will find you’re more calm and comfortable when you’re not constantly upset about something.  Put any frustration into your workout and visit your corporate  or senior fitness center for some exercise!

Subscribe to NIFS blog

Topics: wellness

Senior Living: Five Tips for a Restful Night Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important to all areas of your health. According to a study from Harvard Medical School, “Chronic sleep loss can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system’s power.” I know, if I don’t get enough sleep, it affects my mood and performance level.

Working at a senior living community, I am asked by residents, “how can you get the necessary sleep you need when you toss and turn and just don’t sleep well?” Some of the biggest concerns from seniors I hear about not sleeping well involve muscle cramps that wake them up, not being able to clear their minds to stay asleep and frequent trips to the restroom.  I believe there are 5 key ways to get a more restful night’s sleep. I’ve shared these with my residents and I hope they can work for you as well.

  1. senior_drinking_waterDrink Water Throughout the Day. When I am busy, I find I rarely get enough water throughout my day. By the time night comes, I am super thirsty. It is hard to get enough water close to bed. Not only that, if I drink a lot before bed, I find myself waking up to use the restroom, which interrupts my restful sleep. Another negative side effect to not drinking enough water is muscle cramps. Dehydration can increase the likelihood of muscle cramps while sleeping.
  2. Take a Warm Bath or Shower. I have heard this is because the warmth of the water increases your body temperature and when you sleep, your body temperature decreases. This may be true, but for me the reason a warm shower works is it relaxes my tight, tired muscles. The warmth releases tension and helps ease my aches and pains from daily activities and exercise.
  3. Stretch. This goes hand-in-hand with the warm shower. You can get a better night’s sleep when your muscles aren’t tight and painful. I have found light stretching in my bed before I close my eyes gets my body ready for sleep. I concentrate on lower body, hip, and back stretches. I hold each stretch for at least 30-60 seconds. I close my eyes, take long and deep breaths, and focus on relaxing the muscles as I stretch them.
  4. Breathe. This is very important while stretching, but deep breathing throughout the day also helps reduce stress. When I am frustrated or upset, taking three-four deep belly breaths helps me calm down and refocus. At night this deep breathing is good because it helps clear my mind. After I finish my stretching routine, I lie flat on my back with my eyes closed and focus on breathing. In yoga, this is called savasana or corpse pose. It is beneficial because it helps your memory, reduces heart rate and blood pressure, increases oxygen levels in your blood, reduces headaches, and helps improve your focus.
  5. Reduce the Distractions in your Bedroom. This is by far the hardest thing for me to practice. Turning off the TV, putting the book away, and not sleeping with my smart phone next to my bed have helped me go to sleep faster. Picking up my cell phone to check email, the weather, and social media means I stay awake longer than I need to. The noises and distractions can also interrupt restful sleep, so put them away.

Tonight, may you sleep soundly after a day of drinking water, taking a warm bath or shower, stretching, breathing, and relaxing without any distractions; Sweet Dreams!

Five Reasons to Choose NIFS

Topics: senior living wellness

Corporate Wellness: Laughing... it's good for the soul and your health

laughterIf smiling is contagious and laughter is infectious, then why don’t more of us do it? When people laugh together, it brings them closer, and creates happiness and intimacy. Laughter not only does these few things, but it also causes physical changes within the body. 

Laughter is powerful and priceless (I mean, who doesn’t like a bargain?!). Oh, and it’s fun! Humor and laughter have the ability to:

  • Boost Your Immune System: Laughing decreases the stress hormones and increases the immune cells and anti-bodies, improving your body’s resistance to infections and diseases.
  • Trigger the Release of Endorphins: That natural feel-good chemical rush you get can improve your overall feeling, decrease pain, and fight off stress.
  • Relax the Whole Body: It relieves tension and stress, allowing your muscles to stay relaxed for up to 45 minutes after that obnoxiously good belly-laugh you just had.
  • Protect the Heart: Laughter increases blood by improving the function of blood vessels, aiding in the protection against cardiovascular problems.

Humor can keep one optimistic and even one little smile can turn someone’s day around. A good laugh can bring your body back into balance. I think it is hard to resist a good laugh or smile when the person next to you is laughing in an absolute hysterical manner. A shared laugh can keep relationships fresh and exciting and build strong bonds too!

You can learn to develop or improve your sense of humor by:

  • Learning to laugh at yourself
  • Laughing at a situation, rather than getting upset over it
  • Keeping things in perspective
  • Surrounding yourself with reminders to lighten up a little

In life, remember not to take yourself too seriously. Yes, some events are sad and not the right occasion for laughter, but learn to look at the positive side of the event. Laughter is priceless, fun, and easy to use! If you need a good laugh, I am sure one of our Corporate Fitness staff members could crack a joke or two! Laugh on, my friend - it’s good for the soul.

Five Reasons to Choose NIFS

Topics: wellness

Corporate Wellness: Tis the season for volunteering

volunteeringThe holidays are right around the corner and what better way to spread holiday cheer than to volunteer!  Fall sports are starting to wind down with the winter rolling in, big projects at work are wrapping up, and schedules start to open up for new activities to fill in.  The holidays are the perfect time to sign the family up for a volunteer day to share some of your good wealth. 

4 Tips for Giving during the Holiday Season:

  1. Helping out in your community- The joy of winter means cold weather and most likely a good amount of snow.  Show someone you care by offering to shovel their driveway or sidewalk.  Or, invite your neighbors over for a warm meal and not only share a meal, but share conversation.
  2. Serve from home- With all of the do-it-yourself projects out there, there’s plenty of ways to get creative in your home!  Organize a volunteer group to create holiday bags for a local shelter or senior living community or even your neighborhood. 
  3. Visit a local animal shelter- Animals need attention during the holidays as well.  Colder weather makes it harder to take animals outside to play; why not visit your local animal shelter and offer to donate your time playing with animals or helping out around the office?  If you have the resources, consider fostering an animal in need.
  4. Give back to veterans and military families-  If you know a family, offer to bring over a meal or snacks over the weekend.  Offer to give the family a break and carpool to school or invite the family over for some fun at your house.

Places like the Salvation Army, local homeless shelters, and the American Red Cross are always searching for help around the holidays and year round.  Never volunteered before?  Try one of the 4 ways above and go from there!  All it takes is one small act of kindness to change someone’s day!

Other ways you can do good and initiate a great family tradition is to let the kids choose an angel from a giving tree, donate to your local coats for kids, or work in a soup kitchen.  There are many ways to do good during the season.  Share with us how your family spreads joy to others, comment below and tell us your family traditions during the season of giving.

Subscribe to NIFS blog

Topics: wellness volunteering,