Wednesday, April 10, 2024


            Life isn’t always what we would like it to be. If we have children, they grow up and move on with their lives. One’s work might pay the bills but may not be particularly satisfying or challenging. Retirement may be a hard adjustment for some after the busy life of raising a family and working. These situations may lead one to ponder, “what’s next in my life?” Consider using some time constructively and giving back by volunteering.

            Volunteering doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment—you can decide how much time you want to offer.  Many charities and agencies are short-staffed and would welcome the assistance of volunteers.  As Field states, “Driven by empathy humans put themselves in the shoes of others facing hardships and want to help others,” (2022). It is a part of our humanity to want to ease the suffering of others.

Giving back to the community is a win-win situation. Those who are in need benefit through various agencies within the community or from caring individuals. Those individuals who volunteer or step up can benefit both physically and mentally. This paper will explore some of the benefits.

When you volunteer, you help others and often expect nothing for yourself. No rewards, no praise, just the satisfaction of helping others. You can, however, reap some worthy perks through volunteering.

Better Mental Health from Volunteering

            One of the benefits of volunteering can be better mental health. Even if one doesn’t experience common mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, an overall feeling of satisfaction and well-being is a plus for the volunteer. Listed below are some of those perks:

·         When you are busy with a worthy endeavor, you worry less about your own troubles or challenges.

·         Have a more positive outlook on life.

·         Working with other volunteers or agency employees can lead to less feelings of isolation or loneliness. This could lead to less depressive episodes or less anxiety.

·         Feel a sense of accomplishment. According to Harvard Health, volunteering can create a sense of well-being from endorphins, a chemical sometimes referred to as “the brain’s natural pain reliever,” (“Endorphins,” 2021). When you help others or take part in an activity that you enjoy, endorphin release is the result.

·         Being socially engaged can lead to better brain health, such as clarity of thought, less cognitive decline, and keeping your critical thinking skills keen.

Physical Health Benefits from Volunteering

·         Those who are over the age of 50 and volunteer have less likelihood of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), (Field, 2022). Hypertension can often lead to other types of heart disease, strokes, and premature death.

·         Depending on where you volunteer and what you do, you could lose weight, build muscle and endurance, and even have better lab results due to increased activity, such as blood glucose or lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides).

Ideas for Volunteering

Look around your community and determine what volunteer opportunities are available to you. Make a plan based on what appeals to you or perhaps a need that you have a particular skill set or talent for. I would never leave you without some options so here they are:

·         Play a musical instrument weekly at the local senior center or long-term care facility.

·         Lead bingo games or art class at the senior center.

·         Help at the food bank or soup kitchen.

·         Play with dogs at the shelter, foster cats in your home, or help care for animals at a rescue/sanctuary.

·         Offer to drive elderly or disabled neighbors to medical appointments or to take them grocery shopping.

·         Do yardwork for those neighbors!

·         If you are good at graphic design or creating designs, offer to print posters or handouts for charitable events or to market local charities.

·         Respond to a call for assistance, such as when a charitable organization requests household goods or clothing for a family displaced by a house fire or loss of income.

·         Donate pet food to local rescues or offer to pay for Trap-Neuter-Release of feral cats.

·         Carry necessities in your car in a gallon zip lock bag to give to the homeless. Items could include hand sanitizer, snack foods, toothbrush/paste, quarters to do laundry, pet treats, etc.

·         Donate cash to your favorite charity, whether online or locally.

Of course, there are many other ways you can volunteer but the important thing is to decide if it’s something you can put time into at this point in your life. Many of us already volunteer through our church or schools so don’t discount what you are already offering. Volunteering doesn’t have to be full-time or even in-person; donating cash or services as you are available can be advantageous, too. To reap the benefits of volunteering, make sure you are informed and happy volunteering!

Photo credits Pic Monkey


Endorphins: The Brain’s natural pain reliever. Harvard Health. (2021, July 20).


Field, B. (2022, April 27). Can volunteer work boost your mental health?. Verywell Mind.


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  1. This post is one of my featured topics at this week's SSPS, pinned, thanks for sharing with us!

  2. Volunteering has so many great benefits. This a is a great post. Thank you for sharing with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #33. I will be featuring your post tomorrow at party #34. :)


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