Labors of Love

Consider giving your free time a more personal perspective by turning it into a labor of love.

Do yourself a favor. Write a list of things you appreciate about yourself — artistic talents, good penmanship, ability to make people smile. Use it as a reminder if your negative inner voice starts nagging. By accepting yourself first, you’ll be better equipped to spread goodwill.

Give thanks. Sincere gratitude is a gift — for yourself and the recipient. Researchers have discovered saying thanks can increase immune efficiency, boost energy, and even help reduce pain. Whether you write it in a card or shout it from the rooftops, let your family and friends know exactly how much they mean to you.

Serve and protect. Studies show volunteering — even just a couple hours a week — can reduce depression and improve longevity. Find a cause that’s close to your heart. Ask a friend or family member to join you for double the impact — on the community and on your well-being.

Remake this perennial holiday to focus on love’s labor; you’ll reap — and sow — kindness as well as compassion all year long.

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