The benefits of volunteering are well known and varied. You may have experienced some of them first hand while volunteering for Shelter Movers! Benefits of volunteering range from increased physical activity, creating a sense of community, feeling needed and appreciated, to making a difference in the lives of others.
Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to not only help your community but also to help deal with everyday stress. Whatever your reasons for volunteering, giving your time and effort can have an incredibly positive impact on you and those around you.
The pandemic has shifted how we understand and navigate the volunteer world. In this article, we will explore how volunteering can positively affect volunteers’ lives and mental health when the pandemic has changed normal modes of interaction.
The Mental Health Benefits of Volunteering
COVID-19 has emphasized the importance of maintaining one’s mental health. With fewer opportunities for social interaction and for accessing the community support systems we might typically rely on, we’ve been forced to figure out new ways to deal with the stress of the pandemic. For many people, this has involved finding new forms of exercise, spending time outdoors, making homemade meals, finding ways to connect with family and friends online, or even picking up new hobbies.
For others, volunteering has been a source of happiness during this unpredictable time. Volunteering fosters a sense of togetherness. This has been difficult to manage during the pandemic. Since many in-person interactions are unsafe, our amount of social activity has significantly decreased, leaving many of us feeling disconnected and lonely. Volunteering provides a way to meet new people and feel socially connected, even if interactions mostly take place online.
In addition to helping people feel more connected, volunteering can help build a sense of community and purpose, two things that can be hard to maintain during a time of social isolation.
Another benefit of volunteering is that it can also help boost self-esteem through the knowledge that we are contributing to a cause we care about and making a difference in the lives of others. Seeing the positive benefits our actions have can help improve our mood and sense of belonging.
Going on moves not only allows us to see how our hard work benefits the community but also to have some much needed social interaction. Moves are an excellent way to find that connection to our community and to each other.
As a Shelter Movers volunteer, you are probably aware of how important and rewarding volunteering can be. We are lucky that we have been able to continue providing a much-needed service during this difficult time. This would have been impossible without our volunteers and all of your hard work.
The pandemic has created many new challenges for maintaining a sense of community and belonging. However, volunteering offers a great way to continue interacting with that community and help people find a sense of normalcy when the norm is constantly changing.
Mental Health Resources
If you feel like you want or need to talk to someone during this difficult time, please take a look at the resources below.
Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
Hope For Wellness Helpline (Culturally sensitive helpline for the Indigenous Community): 1-855-242-3310 – live chat available too
Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-866-996-0991
Learn more about mental health and find more resources on the Canadian Mental Health Association website.