Giving Back is the New Black

I love the holidays as much as the next person (Christmas is my absolute fave holiday), but it can also get pretty overwhelming with an ever growing to-do lists with parties and gifts to buy and people and places to see. Ah, see I am already feeling stressed thinking about it. Especially when time seems to be flying by. Like how is Thanksgiving THIS WEEK!?! So crazy. This year has been one heck of a year for our family, and to continue the self care blog posts I have committed to, I'd like to add this one to the list (it may sound contradictory, but bear with me): giving back.

"Do cross oceans for people. Love people, all people. No conditions attached, no wondering whether or not they're worthy. Cross oceans, climb mountains. Life and love isn't about what you gain, it's about what you give." - Unknown. This quote really stuck out to me when I first came across it months ago, and it is has kind of become my mantra and what I always come back to. Let's love and care for each other.

When I am feeling down about my life or a certain situation, or just feeling pretty crummy in general (I've hit some pretty low spots in the past couple of months) the quickest way I am able to turn that mood around is to realize that I have a lot of great things going on around me if I choose to focus on them. One of the best ways (in my opinion) that changes my outlook about life is helping out the next person. There are soooo many ways to do this. You don't have to look far. There are some of the obvious ones, like donating to help distribute food, donating goods, coat drives, but you can also just listen to the next random person you bump into when they ask if you have any money or food and actually help them out with what you can. When I give my time, goods, and/or services to someone who really needs help their appreciation and smiles are pretty contagious. People are amazing, and giving back is such a powerful way to help out someone who may be in need. 

Slowing down the pace during the "hustle and bustle" of the holidays and really noticing the ways you can help out your neighbor, some random person down the street, your friend, a family member, coworker, etc. can really make the difference in someone else's day. You never know what someone else is going through and your smile or word of encouragement might make the difference to them. So just try it. You might just be surprised by how your outlook for the day may change. 

With it being the holidays there are soooo many ways you can volunteer if you want. If you are in Maryland, I listed some options below (if you aren't local there are probably similar places you can help out at in your area too). But I challenge you to not just give back during the holidays, try and make it a more regular occurrence (I am preaching to myself here too). The shirt I am wearing is from Half United, which is an ethical clothing/jewelry brand that gives 7 meals to children in need with every product that is purchased. I love their story and the cause they are fighting for. Check them out at halfunited.com. If you need any holiday gift ideas they have some awesome bracelets and necklaces and this tee is my fave. Use code: CATURDAY25 at check out to get 25% off your purchase.  

With all this being said, if you aren't able to give anything else of yourself at the moment (due to finances and/or your current situation), and are just emotionally and physically spent then please take sometime for yourself. That is okay too. Breathe, eat, walk, and cry as necessary. Just know that I am sending you a virtual hug (though I wish it could be an actual one) because you are awesome. Hang in there, and honestly please reach out if you need anything. I will do my best to help out or just to listen, or whatever else you may need. :) Love you guys! We will be going back to the hospital on Tuesday for another extended stay (we were able to go home for a week, YAY!), so our holidays will most likely be spent in the hospital, but at least we get to be together. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! xoxo!

Here are just a few awesome organizations that you can donate to or volunteer for in the Baltimore area:
Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families
Casey Cares provides support to families with critically ill children by lifting their spirits with gifts, a movie night, or maybe a local sporting event.
House of Ruth leads the fight to end violence against women and their children by providing some necessary services that will help rebuild their lives safely.
Maryland Food Bank is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes more than 120,000 meals a day. 

Top: Half United || Jeans: Loft || Flats: Charlotte Russe

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