The Holiday Season is upon us and that means opportunities galore to spend time with loved ones and spread cheer. Volunteering is one of those activities we can do that not only benefits others but has positive outcomes for ourselves too. It may sound a little selfish to think about volunteering in those terms and it probably is, however, at the end of the day don’t we all deserve to feel good?
Benefits of Volunteering
1. Social life increases. Whether this means seeing your friends and family more or making entirely new friends, volunteering opens the door to your social life. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you have just moved to a new area and don’t know anyone. If strengthening your relationships and finding a place in your community are important to you there is no better way to accomplish those goals than through volunteering.
2. Feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually. Volunteering is a great way to increase your self-confidence, combat depression, feel better physically and give you an all-around better sense of purpose. Doing something for others or your community instantly gives you a sense of accomplishment. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others which helps combat social isolation and feelings of loneliness.
3. Advance your career. You never know who you will meet volunteering, what applicable skills you may pick up, or passion you discover that could launch you into work you never dreamed of doing. Networking and learning are things we should constantly be doing throughout our lives and volunteering is a great marriage of both things. Life is about opportunities and volunteering can offer a plethora of them.
Where to Start
1. Animal Shelters. Whether you foster or spend time at the shelters feeding, walking and playing with the animals there is nothing better than spending time with our furry friends.
2. Habitat for Humanity. Talk about learning usable skills. Building a home—and all the little things that go into it is information you can apply to your own life, or a friend’s. It’s also greatly satisfying knowing you helped a deserving family get into a safe and cozy home.
3. Retirement Homes. Unfortunately, our elderly population can get forgotten, but you can make a difference in their lives. Whether you run errands for them, deliver a meal or spend some time visiting there is no doubt you will put on a smile on their face.
4. Homeless Shelters. Brighten up someone’s day who is out on their luck. It may seem like a small gesture, but giving your time and energy to men, women and children who are in a tough spot can make all the difference in the world.
5. Tutor. Help the next generation get ahead in school. This is a great option if you love children and had a favorite subject or two in school that you excelled at.