In a world where the phrases – “I’m so busy! I haven’t got any time in my day!” – are more common than ever, it’s surprising then to learn that Volunteering is on the rise!
In a recent Survey of women over 50 in particular, we discovered some really diverse ways to Volunteer.
In order to understand a little more as to why the increase is happening, let’s look at the meaning of ‘Volunteering’. The Oxford Dictionary states – ‘volunteer – to freely offer to do something/to work for an organization without being paid/offer one’s services’. Wikipedia’s definition is – ‘Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour for community service. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster’.
The common word throughout these definitions is ‘freely’ and ‘unpaid’ so in a time when we are all feeling a global economic challenge, why is volunteering increasing you may ask? It has to do with the ‘Feel Good’ injection we get when helping others. It’s almost like our ‘happy hormones’ get a huge dose of multiplier and it makes us feel so much better! Which is exactly what happens – ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters such as oxytocin and vasopressin are released when we help others.
A study done by the University of Sydney revealed – ‘Australians spend a staggering 700 million hours volunteering each year.’ Imagine that figure repeated globally and then you get a real sense of just how great volunteering must be!
There are so many ways we can Volunteer and the beauty of it is that we can choose the time we allocate to do it as well. That is one of the reasons people enjoy it as it allows them to be flexible and fit it in with their lives. If you are an animal lover, there are so many different places to fill your ‘cup of love’ up including your local Animal Welfare Shelter as well as Animal Rescue organisations.
Our planet is in desperate need for ‘all hands-on deck’ to get our oceans clean so volunteering with a local organization that focuses on that is so rewarding.
Schools are a great place to ‘lend a hand’ too. Why not contact your local schools and see if there are opportunities for you to help out with reading classes or in the tuck shop? Libraries are always looking for volunteers to help out with their children’s reading events … what fun!
Retirement villages and aged care facilities often welcome Volunteers to come and help with activities and resident outings too.
Your local ‘Op Shops’ run for organisations such as Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Animal Welfare are desperate for volunteers and helping them fundraise is a ‘double dip’ of help! We all know the great work of Meals on Wheels and other food providing organisations too.
There is another fast-increasing area in our communities during this pandemic and that is the Homeless. Volunteering to help the homeless with food, clothing, shelter and support is so vitally important so why not check out your local Homeless Support organization and see how you can help these vulnerable people too.
Volunteering helps make YOU feel healthier and happier! The survey reported – ‘People who ‘give’ – either money or their time – have been reported to be happier and healthier than those who don’t.
A 2007 study led by Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University found that givers were 42% more likely than non-givers to say they were ‘very happy’. Dr Rebecca Pinkuse, Lecturer in Psychological Statistics said, “Volunteering keeps you in a positive mood and can help life you out of a negative mood.”
Photo Credits – Pinterest
– Heart Hugs, Jaynie xxx
Jaynie Morris is an Author, Speaker and Advocate for Women over 50. She is the Founder of SheroesUnlimited Global Community for Women Over 50.