As a financial planner, I try to put the focus on my blogs on financial well-being and taxes the majority of the time. However, I also enjoy exploring other topics that enhance the mindset and overall wellness of those I work with. This leads me to a topic that is very near and dear to my heart: the benefits of volunteering.
We all know that volunteering provides services to those around us who need help. Volunteering makes us a valuable community member and gives us a chance to have a real impact on those who need others the most. However, we are often surprised that volunteering often benefits us just as much (or more) than those we’re helping. Here are some of the many benefits we personally receive when we volunteer:
Volunteering Connects You with Others
Often, you will meet new people and make new friends when you volunteer. In 2013 and 2016, I was part of mission trips to Dominican Republic. I still have interactions with people I met there. This year, I am volunteering one afternoon every week or two to help Omaha Public Schools students with their virtual learning. Since we live in a suburb of Omaha, I am meeting new people who I probably would never meet otherwise.
Volunteering Can Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Having meaningful contact with another person almost always reduces stress. Contact and working with others can also help you build a bigger support system that can help combat depression. Since we are basically hard-wired to help others, volunteering makes us feel happier which also aids in reducing our stress, anxiety, and depression.
Volunteering Increases Self-Confidence and Provides a Sense of Purpose
Helping others naturally gives you a sense of accomplishment, especially when you are helping with and learning a task that is somewhat new to you. Volunteering often takes your mind off your own worries and provides mental stimulation.
Volunteering Can Help You Stay Healthier
Studies show that people who volunteer tend to be more physically active and are less likely to develop medical conditions like high blood pressure. Even folks who already have some sort of medical issue or a disability can benefit from volunteering. Many show improvement in their conditions after volunteering.
Of course, finding a cause that’s meaningful to you is an important step of the volunteering process and amplifies the positive benefits. So go out and learn more about the causes that are important to you and see if there is a way you can lend a hand. You’ll help yourself and others in need…a true win-win!Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.