Spread Holiday Cheer: Volunteer!
Making a difference in your local community and the world around you is beneficial in more ways than one. When you take time to give back to others in need, it helps make the world a better place. But did you know volunteering may also be good for your health? It’s true!
Four health benefits of volunteering
When you spend your free time in the service of others, you just may be rewarded with the following:
• Improved mental health. Volunteering creates a sense of togetherness and teamwork. This helps abolish feelings of loneliness or sadness.
• Increased physical activity. If you’re packaging donated items, serving meals, cooking, cleaning, walking dogs, etc., you’re moving—and that’s good for your health! Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy body weight, good cardiovascular health and a positive attitude.
• Reduced stress. Getting some exercise and spending time in the company of others while doing good can create feel-good chemicals that circulate through your brain and body. All told, you may find yourself feeling a lot lighter in spirit!
• Reduced blood pressure. More exercise and less stress? Experts aren’t sure, but this just may be a recipe for lowered blood pressure. Studies show that those who volunteer have healthier blood pressure levels.
Ways to volunteer
Want to get into the charitable spirit, but not sure where to start? Just think about what causes are near and dear to you, then spend a little time on Google to find charitable organizations that align with those causes. Some options are:
• Human well-being: shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, housing programs (such as Habitat for Humanity), or clothing and shoe drives
• Women’s and children’s rights: local women’s shelters, Ronald McDonald Houses, or Big Brother/Big Sister programs
• Animal welfare: local shelters, rescues, pet supply drives or animal hospitals
• Health and wellness: local hospitals, healthcare facilities, charitable runs or walks, or nationwide organizations that support women’s, men’s, adult’s or children’s wellness
Get out there and make a difference!
The holidays remind us that love and kindness are what make the season warm and bright. Take some time this year to help those around you by volunteering. It just might make you feel better, both inside and out.