Volunteering has been long associated with good mental and physical health and staying connected with people. Many people turn to volunteering to stay connected with the community and meet new acquaintances. Volunteering not only helps you build a strong personal relationship but makes the community a better place.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted volunteering. Volunteering rates have plummeted and individuals, families and communities that rely on volunteer-based initiatives, services, programs, and activities as well as volunteer run venues and facilities have been affected.
The benefits of volunteering are countless. But there are social, emotional, physical, and professional perks. To be specific, volunteering:
1. Builds community: You strengthen your community and your social network when you volunteer. You make connections with the people you are helping, and you cultivate friendships with other volunteers.
2. Ends loneliness: Loneliness and social isolation are two of the most severe epidemics in the world today.
3. Increases socialising: Socially, the benefits of volunteering show up quickly and have long-term effects. Social interaction improves mental and physical health. The benefits of consistent socialising include better brain function and lower risk for depression and anxiety. This can also improve your immune system.
4. Builds bonds, creates friends: Volunteering creates stronger bonds between friends, family, and co-workers. People build better connections and more powerful attachments to people when they work together.
5. Develops emotional stability: Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder have all been helped by volunteering.
6. Promotes longevity: While everyone benefits from a little boost in physical health, long-term volunteers live longer, have less disease, and enjoy better health.
7. Leads to graceful ageing: Older volunteers benefit the most from getting out of the house, engaging with others, and moving physically. Purpose and collaboration result in mental health improvements and a better outlook on life. Older people who volunteer often feel younger.
8. Improves school and college experience: For school-aged kids, volunteering builds social skills and develops awareness.
9. Develops corporate communities: Large corporations support local and national programs financially. They create employee volunteer programs and encourage the employees to commit a certain number of hours to service programs.
These corporate volunteer programs give employees a chance to volunteer during work hours. This increases the likelihood that people will volunteer, even during their personal time. Companies that offer employee volunteer programs may attract more committed employees as well.
10. Volunteering adds fun to your years: Volunteering and freely giving your time, energy, and resources to people can create change on a global scale. It is incredible to think that one person’s efforts can change the life of someone else. However, the best part, and often overlooked is that volunteering is just plain fun.
Volunteering saves lives, both the lives of the people you help and ours. When you invest the time and energy to volunteer, you are investing in yourself just as much as in the cause you support. Don’t overlook the benefits of volunteering. Embrace them!