The holiday season is filled with endless to-do lists of holiday gift buying, family gatherings, and meal prep. The last thing you have time to do is volunteer, right?!
What if I told you …..volunteering is good for your mental health and feelings of well-being!
Now, what do you say?
According to the National Alliance for Mental Health, volunteering can actually be seen as an act of self-care. This is due to the fact that volunteering is beneficial to your overall mental health.
Below are 5 ways in which volunteering could benefit your mental and emotional health
Focusing on the volunteer work you are about to do or the people or animals you will be helping, actually helps you focus on things outside of yourself. When you focus on people and things outside of yourself, the more you can engage with others and forget (at least temporarily ) about obssesive thoughts and issues you have been dealing with.
“A 2020 study conducted in the United Kingdom found those who volunteered reported being more satisfied with their lives and rated their overall health as better.”Nami.org
There is a sense of happiness and joy when you volunteer. I once volunteered to serve thanksgiving meals to people who live in a homeless shelters with my daughter. When we left we felt a sense of accomplishment, joy, and happiness. There is something so special about giving back to people who are in need.
Once a month, my daughters and I volunteer to create earrings that go directly to women at a domestic violence shelter. As I am creating the earrings, I can almost imagine the women being excited and enjoying the jewlery that we were making. That is the most rewarding part of it for me.
By trying something new, and learning a new skill, you gain confidence. Unlike a job where you get paid to perform, volunteering gives you the luxury of learning as you go, which takes away the anxiety and fear of making a mistake. Once you complete the task at hand, the feeling of achievement is overwhelmingly positive. You gain confidence, you learned a new skill, and you are making a difference!
Become Part of A Community
We are social creatures by nature, and sometimes we need to feel like we belong or are part of something greater than ourselves. When you work with other individuals, especially when providing a benefit to others, the feeling of comradery and togetherness can’t be avoided. For example, people who work in habitat for humanity in remote locations for weeks build incredible connections and lasting friendships.
Most importantly having a good time. As adults, many of us don’t have as much fun as we used to (Sigh). Our days are filled with responsibilities and work-based deadlines. The simple act of giving back while having fun has been shown to benefit mental health tremendously. A 2016 study, found that having fun or enjoying a task, has been known to decrease cortisol levels in the blood and increase endorphins which can elevate mood! So what are you waiting for get out there and give a helping hand!!!
Don’t know where to look to begin volunteering this fall? Check out these useful volunteering websites:
Many of these sites provide you with volunteering opportunities based on location and interest. They also offer virtual volunteering options for those who cannot attend in person!
In the comments, let me know how volunteering has positively affected your life. I would love to hear from YOU!