With busy lives and evermore demands on our time, it can be difficult to find the time to volunteer. However, volunteering doesn't mean you have to give a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your already busy day, but a few hours here and there can make an enormous difference to help those in need and the bonus is that volunteering can also improve your health and happiness. Volunteering can help protect your mental health by reducing stress and giving you a sense of purpose and if it is physical activity you are also looking after your physical health too!
And there are many more benefits of volunteering.........
Meet like-minded people and make new friends
- Volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends as well as strengthen existing relationships through shared commitment of a project or activity. It helps you to connect with people in your community so that working together even on the smallest task can help to make it a better place and make a difference to the lives of others.
- It's great if you are new to an area, want to broaden your circle of friends or get involved with businesses who are keen to support the local community. Volunteering as a family too will show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how as a family you can be involved with fun and fulfilling activities.
It's good for your mind and body
- It's proven that volunteering has benefits for both your mental and physical health. In fact, helping others makes you feel happy and the more you give, the happier you will feel.
- Volunteering keeps you in touch with others, helps develop friendships giving you a support network in times when you might need help. It can relieve symptoms of depression which is common with loneliness.
- Having regular contact and working with others has a positive effect on your psychological well-being counteracting the effects of stress and anxiety. We all feel much better after catching up with friends and family - it's making those connections and being in touch with people that helps relieves everyday worries.
- As a volunteer you will feel a sense of accomplishment in helping others and this will give you a sense of pride and identity. Feeling better about yourself will mean you are more likely to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
- Volunteering can add a bit of zest to your life and provide a sense of purpose and direction particularly if you have lost a family member or close relative.
- Volunteering can help you stay physically healthy - it's proven to help reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Whether it's down to walking a little more, keeping active and continuing to use the 'grey matter', studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not.
Explore your interests and gain new skills
- Volunteering allows you to share vital knowledge and experience and use them within a local charity which cannot afford to employ someone with these skills on a permanent basis. You can also share and practice skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, project planning and organisation in a new and different environment to benefit a community project.
- Volunteering brings renewed creativity and motivation to both your personal and professional life.
- Many people volunteer in order to make time for hobbies and interests whether it be helping in an animal shelter, with a gardening project or to coach a football team or help with a scouts group.
Supercharge your CV
- Many people chose to volunteer because it can help to further their career as well as gain experience and broaden their skills in a different environment. It's important to remember — volunteering demonstrates leadership skills, flexibility, initiative, commitment and confidence which are ALL characteristics that employers are looking for!
- Another advantage of volunteering is being part of the wider community building your network of business professionals who may be a source of information on job opportunities and possible career progression.
Once you have made the decision to volunteer it is important to find a position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing and that your commitment matches the organisation's needs. Try out different roles with several organisations to get a feel for what they are like and if you get on with other staff and volunteers. And finally, make sure that you are able to give the time that suits you - volunteering should be fun and rewarding and not another job on the to-do list.
If you would like to join JustHelping as a volunteer please get in touch.