Many people are hesitant about putting themselves out there and lending a helping hand to those who need it the most. For one, everyone is in the middle of a pandemic. They are battling an airborne virus that is dangerous to the immunocompromised and other vulnerable members of society. For another, many question their abilities and resources, wondering if they have anything to offer to begin with.
At the end of the day, however, you don’t need to be as rich as Warren Buffett to be of service to the marginalized in society. Every person has something to offer—be it their talents, empathy, or even their time. Just their presence can be enough to cheer somebody up who needs it the most. As long as you follow the minimum health precautions to curb infections, there’s no reason you can’t offer yourself as volunteers in worthy causes and events.
If you are thinking of doing some volunteering this year, here are some reasons you should go for it.
You can build a healthy community with like-minded individuals
One of the biggest advantages of being a volunteer is fostering connections and meaningful relationships with people who believe in the same advocacy that you do. No matter how introverted one may be or how happy they are about living life alone, no man is an island, and one can use a healthy friendship or two. If you struggle with making new friends, becoming a volunteer at a shelter or other type of non-profit organization might be a wonderful way. You can not only sharpen your social skills but also build organic friendships with like-minded people.
You can help bestow people (or animals) the dignity they deserve
So many beneficiaries of these healthcare facilities or non-profits have had their dignity stripped away from them. Whether it’s people experiencing homelessness, abuse survivors, or elderly or disabled patients, many of them have experienced being forgotten by society. By spending a day or two with them, you communicate that they are valuable and loved and that many people have not forgotten them or turned away from them.
If you have a knack for caring for people, consider volunteering at a care facility and assisting health aides at home. These facilities give people in their twilight years the love, care, and attention they deserve. If you volunteer, you can be part of making this worthwhile endeavor a reality.
You can become happier
Remember that argument Joey and Phoebe had on Friends when the former insisted that there are no good deeds because every time one does a good thing for others, they feel good about it? Perhaps there’s some truth to that fatalistic sentiment because research shows that volunteering makes people happier, and it can even improve their mental health as time goes on.
So if you find that happiness has been elusive lately, consider offering your time or energy at your local animal shelter. You can even partner with more established non-profits like Habitat for Humanity. You never know how much it can improve your happiness.
You can improve your self-esteem
If you are having trouble believing that:
- You are capable
- You have something to offer to the world and other people
- There is good in you
- You can hold space for other people’s pain without absorbing their trauma
- You can help change the world
Then volunteering or being of service to the community might be a good way to unlearn these harmful thought patterns about yourself. One might have low self-esteem or don’t have confidence in life; they feel like they have no purpose or reason to wake up every day. In that case, seeing the need in the world and finding their place in it can be a good way to start.
You can offer to cook for someone experiencing homelessness, and they might like your food. Or you can contribute to making a mural for a public school that has no funds to improve its aesthetics, and everyone might end up liking your work. This way, you can gain a confidence boost you never knew you needed. Do not underestimate how much volunteering can do for your sense of self.
If you have always thought about volunteering but have never tried it before, think of these benefits to help propel you forward. Most of all, think of all the people you can help and how much they deserve it. Good luck, and have fun being a light during these dark and uncertain times!