In the world today, it is easy to get sucked into a downward spiral of bad news. With some of the problems being so large (the pandemic, climate change, etc.), it's hard to feel like you can do anything that would make an impact. But every journey begins with one step, and working towards better mental health can start by doing one positive act.
Knowing where to start giving back is sometimes the most challenging part. Most people immediately think giving back means donating money, but you don't always have to jump to your wallet. There are other ways you can give back.
Here are a few ways we recently gave back that can hopefully inspire you!
Plant a Tree
As we wrote in our April blog, taking care of the environment is excellent for your mental health (read the blog here). In that blog, we mentioned we would be working with a local organization to help plant trees.
For this event, all we donated was our time and our labor. Here's the video about the event:
Donating your time to a local cause is a great way to give back.
Take a Walk
Is there a particular cause you feel strongly about? Then, why not take a walk for them. Many non-profit organizations sponsor walks to raise money and awareness for their causes. Unlike showing up and planting a tree, taking part in a walk needs a bit more time, but the results can be rewarding.
People participate in the walk to raise awareness and money for the. In the lead-up to the walk, it's best if you talk the event up to your friends, family, and on social media to highlight the cause and ask for them to donate. Even if you cannot raise money, just getting the word out about the cause will help the foundation educate and highlight its goal.
Recently, Davin Healthcare took part in a sponsored walk for TakeSteps Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. Here's the video about that event:
Mental Health Bonus: Walking is a great way to improve your mood. Learn more here.
Donate and Declutter
Donations don't always need to be monetary. For example, do you have furniture, electronics, or other household items that are still in good shape but no longer used? Instead of jumping to a garage sale or chucking it in the landfill, why not consider donating?
There are always the mainstays, like Salvation Army or Goodwill, but you can also do a little research and find local non-profits that align with the causes you support. Most non-profits are barebones operations that rely on donations to keep themselves going. This can extend to their offices, which may be in dire need of newer furniture or appliances.
As Davin Healthcare was recently removing some extra furniture that was no longer needed, we decided to donate to our local animal shelter. Check out the video:
Giving back isn't always just opening your wallet; there are many creative ways that you can help and, in the process, help your own mental health. Studies have shown that giving back lowers blood pressure, increases your self-esteem, and gives you greater happiness throughout your life (read more here).
Why not do some good for others and yourself.
Tree Planting Video
Here's the bare root tree plan in songs.
If you listen to the words, then you can't go wrong.
The hole is one foot deep and it's four feet wide.
One foot deep and four feet wide.
That gives your tree
the best chance to thrive.
You're one of the dirty,
the proud, and the crew.
We plant trees, we're the planting crew.
We plant trees, we're the planting crew.
Rick Fenton, Retired Forester and Volunteer with Sustainable Saratoga:
Treetoga, the Urban Forestry Project, as we officially call it, started sometime around 2012, I think maybe 2011. When some volunteers got together and did a big street tree inventory in the city of Saratoga Springs.
And some friends, knowing that I was a forester, suggested that I get involved in that. So I probably started getting involved around 2012 or 13. We have had 11 volunteer tree planting events starting in 2014 so if you do the math you figure out that some years we'll do one in the spring and one in the fall.
More recently with COVID, we actually skipped the first year and we had a very small spring planting last year, but generally, we're focused now on one spring planting a year.
But we work with the city who also has a lot, certainly has a better budget, and does a lot of tree planting throughout the city as well.
Diversity in tree species is important, but we like the idea of a large variety of native or near-native tree species because they're adapted to our climate, they've evolved along with insects and mammals, and birds and they provide food and habitat for wildlife. So in the past in the city, they planted trees that were not native to New York that eventually became invasive and only two or three species. So we worked with the city and they agreed that we should change things and increase diversity of native species.
Sustainable Saratoga has a great website with all sorts of information about all our different projects, and it's simply SustainableSaratoga.org
Walk for a Cause Video
So we're here today at the TakeSteps walk for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. This is something my wife and I have been involved with over the past few years. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis nine years ago and she's one of the fortunate ones where she can manage her day-to-day life with little to no symptoms.
That's not always the case for everyone. Some people have very severe cases. So we do this walk, we fundraise we raise awareness for this to work towards a cure.
So it just really means a lot to my wife and I that we have some support from my employer, a local company that is just so willing to give back.
And that's what we're here to do today, is to walk, raise awareness, raise funds for this foundation to work towards a cure for those that are afflicted with these diseases.
Animal Shelter Video
Hi. My name is Penny Heritage, and I'm the director of the Saratoga County Animal Shelter. I've been at the animal shelter a little over three years. I got into this animal positions just because of my background, really loving animals and studying animal science. I grew up with animals. In fact, I grew up right here in Saratoga County on a dairy farm. I studied larger animals, but some of the same basic supply with the shelter environment. This is what we call a herd health environment where there are multiple of the same species housed in one area. And that's very much like a dairy farm, like the background I came from.
The Saratoga County Animal Shelter is well over 40 years old. The original building was just a cinderblock building. And then in 2010, this beautiful building behind me was built thanks to the foresight of our county supervisors and the then animal shelter director Dan Butler, built this gorgeous facility that takes care of our needs very well.
We rescue mainly cats and dogs, homeless animals from Saratoga County. There may be an owner surrender, someone who is unable to keep their animal for one reason or another. We are a municipal shelter, so all of the animals that come into the shelter come from Saratoga County.
“[Audio from B-Roll]But it's also a cat reading room. Oh, stop here. So you have someone is meeting a dog for the first time.
We'll bring them in here. And this table, this smart table, which we don't have hooked up yet…”
We are so thankful for the donation of furniture that Davin just gave us. We are using it in a variety of ways. It just has freshened up many of our spaces, provided some much-needed equipment and seating and desks. But it really has helped us to function more efficiently and uh, and it looks good too.