Extensive research on volunteering has led to conclusive evidence that those who volunteer as little as 2 hours per week enjoy better physical, emotional and mental health. i.e., it's good for you to do good for others.
Evidence shows that you will live longer, healthier and happier if you volunteer.
I can vouch for this personally. Volunteering has helped me tremendously to move forward with my grief work. I have been volunteering at a local hospital now for almost eight months. Before starting I was physically weak. I had difficulty walking up a flight of stairs do to fibromyalgia. I was struggling with depression and had lost most of my previous friends due to my isolation.
I am happy to report that since starting volunteering, I can now run up a flight of stairs. In fact, I went on a hike at Starved Rock State Park with hundreds of steps and made it to the top with very little difficulty.
I have also benefitted by making new friends at the hospital. We spend time talking and getting to know each other and share our lives with each other.
There are several volunteers at the hospital that are over 85 years old and some have been volunteering for over 20 years. Several of them are married couples that volunteer together. They are all a joy to be around and add to the research that volunteering adds to your longevity.
I have also started teaching my great nieces some art lessons to augment their home-schooling program. I'm not sure who enjoys it more me or the girls!
So, no matter who you are or what you are going through, giving your time to help others will give back to you many times over. If you are struggling with moving forward after the loss of a loved one, give volunteering a chance. Just narrow down what type of volunteering suits you and your interests and personality.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Tutor kids after school
- Walk animals at the local animal shelter or vet clinic
- Teach Sunday School
- Read letters to residents at a nursing home
- Volunteer at a local hospital or clinic
- Teach art or music classes at a local YWCA or homeless shelter
- Make food for people who are homebound or recovering from surgery
- Search the internet for other ideas that interest you
I think you will be very surprised at the benefits YOU receive from volunteering.