While perusing Facebook this morning, I managed to find a gem of an article tucked in between political posts and someecards. My eyes lit up and I quickly clicked the link “The Healthy Benefits of Volunteering.“
Healthy benefits? Yup!!
Volunteering isn’t only good for your community or cause, it’s actually good for your health, too!
I’ve been volunteering for, like, forever. It all started when I had to earn some volunteer hours in high school and I decided to be an unpaid swim instructor at the YMCA (I have no idea how I was qualified to do this job).
I quickly gained the necessary hours but then something weird happened….I kept volunteering. It had
everything nothing to do with the super-cute lifeguard that I did didn’t have a crush on for most of high school. Nothing at all.
Years later (we won’t discuss just how many years) volunteering is still a big part of my life (although lifeguards are not). I’m frequently asked, why do you sign up for all this stuff? And, how do you have time for all this? Sometimes, I’m at a loss for a reason. Sometimes I ponder these question myself as I’m labeling save-the-dates at 2am (and crying). Sometimes I’m like this lady:
But it really boils down to one, admittedly selfish, reason. It makes me feel good.
And it turns out that there’s a science behind why it makes me feel so good. “It’s been shown that volunteer work enhances well-being (defined by measurements of happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health and depression). Since people with a greater sense of well-being give more hours to volunteering, the process actually helps increase volunteer dedication.” Source.
Also, it’s been shown that having extra time really has little to do with the amount one volunteers (younger adults volunteer more than retirees, for example). And, there’s a whole physical activity benefit (depending on what you volunteer for).
So, feeling blue? Feeling a bit…blech? Get involved with a cause you care about! I know a lovely organization in Fort Collins who is always accepting new members and we’d love to have you.
P.S. I’m currently reading Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta and let me tell you….mind blown! What an interesting look at the structures of non-profits and how our ideas about charity actually hinder the efforts of charitable organizations. I definitely recommend it!