Volunesia (noun) that moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives because it’s changing yours.
One of Atchley & Associates New Year’s goals is to actively give back to our community in a volunteer capacity. It emphasizes our focus of “We Care,” and positively ties us to the community. At its most basic, volunteering is the act of helping others; “a proactive way of doing something to make the world a better place.” And our tendency is to see its impact on those we help. But what impact, personal or physical, can it have on those who volunteer? The truth is, volunteering can be equally healthy and/or beneficial for those who make the time as it is for those who are served.
It builds community.
Volunteering brings you into contact with people in your community. It fosters relationships, a sense of commitment, and purpose.
Volunteering guarantees that you will interact with real, live human beings. In this world of non-stop, digital interaction, volunteering helps build bonds with other people, fosters new friendships, and decreases loneliness.
Helping others makes us feel good. Having a purpose in life increases self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.
Studies suggest that long-term volunteers live longer lives, have less disease, and better overall health. Volunteering gets people out of the house, interacting with others, and using our bodies/brains in a way that promotes mental and physical health.
Promotes healthy habits.
Volunteers live longer and are more likely to look after their health, including regular check-ups, vaccinations, and keeping their weight under control. Also, volunteering at something that requires physical activity can be more motivating than boring exercise.
Provides Better Job Prospects.
Volunteering just looks good on a resume. It suggests you care about your community, it develops teamwork skills, and reveals a civic-mindedness that can aid in corporate environment.
Last week, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, we posted one of his now ubiquitous quotes “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” It might be a bit worn for wear, but I think it’s appropriate to always keep in sight how our actions are mutually beneficial to ourselves and our community at large.
Statistics speak, and research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that millennials are the least likely to volunteer despite recent trends in required community service and service-based learning. Statistics also point to a marked decline in the number of people offering their volunteered time over the last decade. We can argue for hours on why that might be: lack of time, a weaker relationship with our surrounding communities, basic laziness, etc. But it’s not really the point of this blog. Rather, maybe if we can see volunteering as way to both help others and ourselves, maybe we can all get involved in new ways in 2018.