The 6th day of Christmas
GIVE BACK TO NATURE
When you’re feeling blue, touch green. Spending time in nature improves your sleep, mood and reduces a range of health problems. Not to mention it gives you an enriched sense of purpose. If you’re looking for a way to do something for your community this Christmas, volunteering at regional or national parks is a wonderfully immersive way to stretch your philanthropic muscles. The Department of Conservation needs hut wardens and campground hosts over the Christmas holiday period at a range of sites throughout the North and South Island. They are also always in need of citizen scientists who can help collect data about local ecosystems and wildlife. You can even become a bird “minder” – DoC is looking for people in the Coromandel who can help protect the endangered New Zealand dotterel during the breeding months from now until March. If you have a few days spare, sign yourself up to help with general maintenance at one of the North Island’s most beautiful spots, Tiritiri Matangi Island, over the Christmas period. The predatorfree island is a bird-lover’s paradise. Visit doc.govt.nz/get-involved/volunteer/.
Kindness and positivity can lead to longer lives. A 1996 study found giving back was second only to dancing as a method for creating joy. Volunteering reduces stress and has been shown to be an effective antidote to depression.