Making time to volunteer. Our mental health advantage.

We look at volunteering as an essential way for us to invest in our community. We don't always have time to do it and we do it whenever we can anyway. Here's why.


Beach cleanups. It's a tough gig, but someone has to do it ;)
On days like these. Beach cleanups. They’re a tough gig, but someone has to do it 😉

Meeting needs

We’re fortunate (and brave) enough to choose what we do for a living. And we chose what we do because it meets important social needs. It is immensely satisfying for us to spend time every day with like minded people, those we work with and those who receive our professional ‘touch’. We employ, give and receive and earn a living from it.

But for many, this level of like-minded connection doesn’t play much of a part in their day to day. Most need to find this satisfaction externally – outside their work and home life activities. And this is where volunteering comes into play.

There is a plethora of info in the public domain on the positive physical and mental health aspects of volunteering. However, as with most things in life, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We needed to check this out for ourselves. We felt the need to do something within our community with like-minded others.

We knew we’d never ‘have’ the time to do it and we chose to do it anyway.

We choose to volunteer a minimum 1% of our work time every month, usually 3 hours or so with a local charity, a couple of favourites being – Conservation Volunteers Australia and Trees For Life

We’re keen environmentalists and see ourselves as custodians of planet earth, understanding very well the social impact caring for the environment also has. They are in fact inseparable.

The surprising results

What came as a real surprise were the immediate strong connections with like-minded others and the relaxed and inclusive nature of their approach to the work we do with them.

We connect, we’re included, wanted and needed. We finish each volunteer day with a deep feeling of satisfaction. Replete with stories from the day. We’ve met new people (everyone is interesting and has their story), worked alongside recently made friends, learnt new skills, more about native flora and fauna and affected our environment and community for the better.

We now realise our volunteer days as stress free mental health days as much as environmental impact days.

This can’t be measured in dollars and cents but can be in how much better we feel about ourselves and our community. And we then take these feeling back out into the world positively affecting others.

Making a difference

We mostly volunteer during the ‘working week’ with an occasional weekend day added for good measure, so our daughter can also experience the volunteer life from time to time.

As a member of 1% for the planet and supporter of Give Directly, our dollars go to incredibly effective charities making a difference in the developing world however our volunteering time is spent locally.

 

What are you passionate about?

Write down what you are passionate about, go online and search for volunteering opportunities in your area and there will no doubt be a local chapter of an organisation screaming out for you to come help.

All it takes is a few hours a month. It can change your life and importantly, the lives of others.