PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- OptionB.Org is launching #OptionBThere, a program to help people be there for friends and loved ones facing adversity this holiday season. The holidays can be particularly challenging for those struggling with illness, separated from family, or coping with loss, and sometimes it's hard to know what to do to offer support. At optionb.org/holidays, people will find a range of resources, from holiday cards that acknowledge loved ones' emotions to a guide for hosting an "all feelings welcome" dinner from experts who know.
"One of the most important things you can do for someone who is struggling is to simply acknowledge their pain and be there for them," said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, founder of OptionB.Org, and author of Option B and Lean In. "We're launching #OptionBThere to make it a little easier for people to reach out and let others know they're not alone."
At optionb.org/holidays, people will find actions big and small they can take to help friends and family who are struggling this holiday season, organized around the themes of "Just be there," "Say something," "Lend a hand," "Cherish memories old and new," and "Celebrate the good." Experts in clinical psychology, caregiving, theology, and medicine collaborated on the materials, and members of the Option B community contributed personal insights based on their own holiday experiences. In addition to exploring the website, visitors can sign up to get information delivered directly to their phone or inbox.
Examples of actions people can take to help their friends and family include:
- Be thoughtful about holiday greetings: Suggestions for what to say when tried-and-true holiday greetings don't feel quite right
- Host an "all feelings welcome" dinner: A guide to hosting an event for friends who are struggling, developed by The Dinner Party, an organization that hosts meals to connect people who have experienced significant loss
- Play a feel-good game: A custom #OptionBThere card game to help you and your loved ones focus on moments of joy, celebrate small victories, and practice gratitude
- Give meaningful gifts: Holiday gift ideas that let friends know how much you care
- Send an #OptionBThere card: Quirky holiday cards that acknowledge how loved ones really feel, designed by well-known illustrator Emily McDowell
- Find inspiration in religious traditions: Reflections on what different faiths teach us about finding light when we need it most, written by Scotty McLennan, Stanford University's former Dean for Religious Life
- Volunteer for a good cause: Recommendations to help you give back—because doing good for others is good for you, too
- Support kids whose families have changed: Advice for how to help children navigate the holidays in the wake of death or divorce, from experts on helping kids build resilience.
To amplify the messages of #OptionBThere, OptionB.Org has partnered with Time magazine to highlight the stories of celebrities and thought leaders who've navigated difficult holidays, including Patton Oswalt, Kesha, and Robin Roberts. The essay collection is an effort to break the silence and isolation that often surround adversity and show that it's possible to find moments of joy, especially with the help of friends and family. People are also encouraged to post #OptionBThere with their personal stories and advice for navigating a challenging holiday season.
"#OptionBThere is rooted in the power of people helping people," said Rachel Thomas, president of OptionB.Org. "We want everyone to know how to support friends and family members who need it, and we want to change the way we all think and talk about adversity. The more comfortable we are addressing life's challenges head-on—and doing it together—the more quickly we'll find the strength to move forward."
At optionb.org/holidays, people coping with adversity can also find helpful resources—from advice on how to ask for help to a seven-step guide to declaring their holiday bill of rights—and connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges in an Option B Group. These Groups bring together people to support one another around specific types of adversity, such as living with health challenges, getting through family crises, and helping kids build resilience. There are more than ten thousand members in OptionB.Org's largest group, Coping with Grief, and a third of its members post or comment each day.
OptionB.Org is committed to helping people build resilience, both in the face of adversity and in their everyday lives, and support from others is central to this mission. Research shows that social support leads to improved physical and psychological health and that caring relationships help build resilience. OptionB.Org is launching #OptionBThere during this year's holiday season, but it will be an ongoing program with new expert materials added throughout 2018.
OptionB.Org is an initiative of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation. Our goal is to help people build resilience, both in the face of adversity and in their everyday lives, and better support loved ones who are coping with challenges. At optionb.org, people can find and share personal stories, join groups for solidarity and support, and access resources to help them build resilience. The Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation is a private operating nonprofit organization under IRS section 501(c)(3), which also runs LeanIn.Org and the Dave Goldberg Scholarship Program.