By: Mecca R. Dennehy
When we think of volunteering or doing something for others, we may not always think that, in return, we also benefit from these acts of service. It’s a two-way street and a win-win: the organization or friend gets a favor done or some of your time, and you get to learn new skills, be a part of your community, make new friends, have a sense of fulfillment, and come out of it a better person.
Let’s break down how volunteering improves your life. Volunteering can take on many shapes: from spending time at a dog rescue to helping plant trees for your local nature non-profit. There is no money involved and you volunteered your time to the organization. So, in return for your time, what do you get out of it?
Volunteering at a dog rescue can boost your happiness (who doesn’t want to walk and snuggle dogs all day?!) and you can learn how to work with dogs on training skills and behavior.
Volunteering at a nature conservancy non-profit gets you outside and working with others. This can improve your mood and social skills. Working with the community and learning about ways to conserve nature in your area also can give you a sense of fulfillment that you are doing your part.
Volunteering as a Big Brother or Big Sister, or volunteering as a helper for foster kids, is not only an amazing way to mentor and help youth in your area, but it also gives you a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Being a mentor is a big responsibility, but it pays off when you get to see these kids have fun, grow, and learn as you help guide them.
Acts of Service
Now, volunteering isn’t the only way that giving your time can help improve your life. Even doing small things for your friends and family can improve your mood, your confidence, and your feeling of fulfillment. It also shows them how much they mean to you.
Washing your mom’s car or offering to do the dishes after she had a long day of work can give you a sense of accomplishment and joy when you see her able to relax while you load the dishes into the dishwasher.
Bringing over a delicious meal to your friend’s house after they had a rough week can strengthen your friendship and boost your mood as you laugh together at the dinner table.
Offering to drive your sister to basketball practice so she doesn’t have to walk in the rain can give you a sense of responsibility. Plus, you become a great role model for your sister who, when she can drive, will offer her little brother a ride to his lesson because she knows how nice it felt for her older sibling to offer her one.
While the main point of volunteering or helping friends and family is to help others, there is still so much you can benefit from giving your time to others. Volunteering can really improve your life, and we hope this article has inspired you to reach out to your local dog rescue, nature conservancy organization, youth mentor program, or so many other places that need your help. We also hope it has shed some light on how the little things you do for your friends and family positively affect you and your loved ones. Stay safe, get outside, and use your time for good as we look forward to 2021!
About the Author:
Mecca R. Dennehy
Mecca is an adventure writer and photographer based in Oregon and loves everything the rainy PNW has to offer. You can find her hiking to alpine lakes or camping with her husband and her two rescue pups, Finn and Ruby. She is also an adventure wedding and elopement photographer and loves to capture couples as they start the most epic adventure of all together.