Today people talk about the importance of work life balance. They understand the importance of a healthy diet, regular exercise, recreation and work all contributing to overall wellbeing.
Research also shows that contributing to society and the positive feelings experienced when people give back can be just as important to overall wellbeing. Giving back to the community and having a strong social conscience can also benefit the individual.
Here are some of the benefits;
- You can learn new skills – doing volunteer work is one of the best ways to expand your skills and gain new knowledge. You will be exposed to a variety of tasks and a greater diversity of people. Being involved in community projects will open opportunities to learn.
- You can expand and diversify your social connections. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and get to know your local community. It also helps you connect with other people who share your passion.
- You can contribute to the greater good. Australians are respected internationally for their social conscience and their contribution to society especially in times of disaster. Volunteering is a valuable contribution to your community and delivers benefits not achievable in other ways. Some organisations pay their employees to spend one day each year volunteering in the community.
- You can review your career. Volunteering helps explore future pathways and career possibilities without taking career risks. You can try before you buy in areas that you think you’d like and find out if you really are suited. Many people change careers when they have had very satisfying volunteer experiences.
- You can gain perspective. Often we get bogged down in the daily grind feeling very ungrateful for the life we lead. Volunteering exposes us to the lives of others and can give you a different perspective on your own life compared to that of others.
- You feel needed. We often don’t value ourselves and trivialise our actions. Seeing what a big impact your seemingly small contribution can make to the lives of others is very rewarding.
- You will feel good about yourself. Doing something for someone else makes you feel better about yourself as a person and boosts self-esteem. It’s a win-win for everyone.
There are many ways to contribute to the wider community whether it’s using your business skills to support a Board, getting your hands dirty planting trees at the local park, visiting a lonely person or knitting toys at home. Consider what you really like doing and find the right match with an organisation that needs your skills and passion.
Your local council should have a directory of local organisations and may even run volunteer information days. There are also national and international organisations providing opportunities to contribute.
The links below might help.