The Holiday season brings with it many opportunities to serve. While service clearly benefits those who are the recipients, it also provides a plethora of benefits for those who choose to volunteer. From improved mental health to reducing stress, here are a couple reasons why volunteering is in your best interest.
Depression can be a very isolating disease. When you struggle with your mental health, it’s often difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Struggling to leave the house means you probably aren’t interact with many people throughout the day. Service is an excellent antidote to this issue. An article written for helpguide.org states, “Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against depression.” Additionally, the article goes on to mention how service can help improve your self-esteem as well. It states, “Doing good for others and the community provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.” You have very little to lose by serving others. Give it a try and see what kind of positive impacts it can have on your life.
When you engage in meaningful activities where you feel purpose and appreciation, it can reduce your stress levels. These positive feelings have a chemical impact on your brain. The effects of service have also been known to reduce disease as well. When you think about it that way, you are doing yourself a huge favor by taking a bit of time to serve those around you. Keep in mind, you don’t have to dedicate your entire day to service. If you only have an hour every week or month, that’s okay. Make an effort to serve and you will reap the amazing benefits.
Sharpening Social Skills
Day-to-day life can be so busy that it’s easy to feel our social skills are suffering as a result. Service can help you reduce your anxiety while also helping you become comfortable with meeting and working with new people. An article written for mayoclinichealthsystem.org mentions, “One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to participate in a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people who share common interests with you. Dedicating your time as a volunteer also helps you expand your network and practice social skills with others.” Volunteering can help eliminate some of the anxiety associated with socializing. Additionally, strengthening relationships and developing new ones is another benefit that comes from serving.
Take some time out of your week or month to volunteer this Holiday season. Serving benefits you just as much as those you are serving. Keep your eyes open. Opportunities are everywhere!