Find and Lose Yourself in Service to Others
Giving – whether it’s your time, talent, or treasures – changes lives. Research shows that the more you volunteer, the happier you are! As a volunteer, you positively impact your community while acheiving a healthy sense of accomplishment, which leads to a sense of pride and identity. You will also reduce the risk of depression, since a key risk factor is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system to protect you against stress and depression.
Here are some ideas of how to support your community:
Donate your time.
Your time is precious to those who need a hand. Consider these ideas to help those around you:
- Babysit for a single mom
- Make dinner for a struggling friend
- Work the registration table at a community event
Donate your talents.
Love to sing? Join a church choir. Have great accounting skills? Serve as a treasurer at a nonprofit. Your skills could be a real gift to an organization you care about.
- Help a neighbor fix their leaky faucet or change their oil.
- Design a newsletter for a nonprofit organization.
- Teach a Sunday school class at your place of worship.
Donate your treasure.
If your schedule is already packed with your job, family, and other commitments, you might consider giving financially to help organizations fulfill their missions.
- Donate money to your local United Way
- Give to the Red Cross for worldwide disaster relief efforts
- Donate used clothes, toys, or furniture to a Goodwill or Salvation Army near you.
Volunteering has numerous health and wellness benefits. You stay socially connected, enjoy life more, keep active, and may even learn something new. Most importantly, make sure you are having fun! The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organization. Speak up if the experience isn’t what you expected. Talk to the organization about changing your focus or consider looking for a better match.
Check out the following websites to explore volunteer opportunities in your area:
www.volunteermatch.org: Find thousands of volunteer opportunities online, sorted by category.
www.redcross.org: Explore ways you can volunteer with the Red Cross locally.
www.createthegood.org: Find volunteer opportunities locally that match your skills and interests. Sign up to receive a monthly newsletter and notifications about new opportunities in your area.