As office spaces open and require employees to begin working in person, many people have to travel away from home and everything familiar. Consider your average work days - you wake up, go to work or start working from home, finish your daily chores and kick back to chill with your favorite Netflix series or turn on the news to update yourself with the current events. Any routine when followed for long periods of time can start feeling like mundane, repetitive tasks. It is only natural to want something more out of life.
A new place connotates a new beginning and going out to make new friends can be a challenge. This can become a very lonely journey and not knowing anyone in a new city can make it all the more difficult to connect with others. A new report suggests that 36% of all Americans—including 61% of young adults—feel “serious loneliness.” these figures have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
If you are looking to connect with people while also doing your bit for the betterment of society and the world around you, then, volunteering is your best option. Researchers discovered that being helpful to others is extremely pleasurable by measuring hormones and brain activity. It was discovered that volunteering gives a person a “helper’s high”, releasing feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin in the body.
Humans, as a species are empathetic and are hard-wired to help others. We feel better when we give more. Even minor tasks can make a significant difference in the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. And volunteering can benefit you and your family just as much as the cause you choose to support.
Committing to a shared activity together is one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships. Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people, particularly if you are new to the area. It strengthens your community ties and broadens your support network by introducing you to people who share your interests, neighborhood resources, and enjoyable and fulfilling activities.
While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and find it difficult to meet new people. Volunteering allows you to practice and develop your social skills because you will be meeting with a group of people who share your interests on a regular basis. Once you've gained traction, it's easier to branch out and make new friends and contacts.
Some volunteers also report that their volunteering experience has been very transformative and almost life changing! This is true and there are three ways in which volunteering can change your life:
- Psychological - your perception of yourself and the world around you.
Volunteering can boost your self-esteem and provide you with a fresh perspective on the world. When you do good for others and the community, you naturally feel a sense of accomplishment. Your volunteer work can also provide you with a sense of pride and identity, and the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive outlook on life and your future goals. You will be more empathetic to those in need because you will understand what others are going through. Volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life, regardless of your age or life situation.
- The breaking down of biases
When one is caught up in the tangles of one’s own life, it is difficult to even bring ourselves to comprehend the struggles of others. Images like the “struggling girl” captured by Kevin Carter, while on assignment to Sudan of a vulture waiting for a child to die to eat her or the image of a polar bear on a floating piece of ice. These images have a grounding effect and invoke a feeling of sympathy in us. Having a first-hand experience of the issues people face in terms of poverty or with persons with disabilities removes the distance between them and us and now there is a personal connection to the problem you want to be a part of solving.
- Changes in the way we behave
These experiences of volunteering can have long-lasting effects and will make us more cautious about the way we use our resources or we’d think twice before we take a certain action like throwing away leftover food or leaving the tap running. The next time we see a homeless person on the street or an animal hurt and whimpering, we might be drawn to help them. Volunteering has a looping effect where we volunteer for a cause that we feel very strongly about, we understand more effectively the issues that need to be addressed and this motivates us to help more in the capacities we can.
Volunteering is a simple and enjoyable way to pursue your interests and passions. Volunteering for something meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing and energizing break from your daily routine. Volunteering also renews your creativity, motivation, and vision, which you can apply to your professional and private lives.
Chezuba offers everyone looking to add purpose and meaning to their lives a chance to volunteer virtually with nonprofit organizations from over 100 countries around the world. You also have the freedom to choose the causes you would like to contribute to. Sign up as a virtual volunteer to begin your transformative journey.