26 Sep, 2019

Making time to volunteer. Our mental health advantage.

Cleanup volunteer looking over the rocks at the beach and ocean skyline

We look at volunteering as an essential way to invest in our community and our own mental health. We don’t always have the time so we find the time. Keep reading to find out why.

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’s immensely satisfying for us to spend time every day with like-minded people, the amazing massage practitioners we partner with and all those who receive our professional touch. We employ, give, 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 often comes into play for them.

Meeting needs

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. So 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 yet 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 – OzHarvest 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 connections made with like-minded others and the relaxed and inclusive nature of their approach to us. 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 new friends, learnt new skills and affected our environment and community for the better.

We now recognise our volunteer days as stress free mental health days as much as social and environmental impact days.

This can’t be measured in dollars and cents but in how much better we feel about ourselves through the contribution we can make to our community. We then take these feelings 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 entire family can also experience volunteer life from time to time. As a member of 1% for the planet and supporter of Ozharvest, our financial contributions go to a very effective not-for-profit who are making a big difference in our communities across Australia.

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.

Stu and Lena, Seated Massage directors volunteering for OzHarvest