Volunteering for Your Health and Happiness
Do love helping others and giving back? And do you love learning new skills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then volunteering could be for you!Volunteers do things that make a difference to the lives of others – whether it’s helping disadvantaged kids, assisting the elderly, lending a hand in school canteens, weeding nature strips, helping injured wildlife or coaching junior sport. So it's no wonder volunteers feel good about themselves and are proud of what they do! And further to that, the greater the level of commitment to volunteering, the greater the sense of self, satisfaction from one’s efforts and contribution to personal and community mental health.
So go on, make today the day you join in and volunteer too!
Did you know? In 2014, 5.8 million Australians participated in some sort of voluntary work – that’s 31% of the population!
Why volunteer and how does it contribute to wellbeing?Everyone has different motivations to volunteer. Some people get a buzz out of knowing that they have made a difference to people’s lives. For others, volunteering gives them a chance to step outside their comfort zone and challenge themselves. Others are passionate about a cause and want to contribute to making a positive change in the community.
Volunteering provides the opportunity to feel part of the community and meet like-minded people with similar interests and goals. This gives you a sense of belonging which helps to keep you mentally healthy.
Most volunteers will tell you that not only is it great to know they are helping those in need, but there is a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction and achievement from volunteering.
Whatever the reasons, it's clear that engaging in volunteer work improves your self esteem and confidence, and can provides you with a sense of achievement, all of which contribute to good mental health!
Can I volunteer and how much do I need to do?Anyone can give volunteering a go. Whether you are young in age or heart there are volunteering opportunities to suit your interests, skills and experience. And being a volunteer means you can choose where and when you volunteer and the amount of time you want to commit. It doesn’t matter whether you can volunteer one hour a week or one hour a month, every little bit helps people in your community. Helping out at at one-off events is a great way to get a taste for volunteering.
Organisations that work with volunteers understand that you have other commitments. Volunteering can be quite flexible and you should be able to find a position that is right for you. You can even volunteer your time and skills online!