The benefits of volunteering on mental health

Volunteering is one of those commitments that many of us put off until later… We often don’t realize just how much volunteering can be beneficial for us and for those we are helping. What if the time just before the holidays was the perfect opportunity to start?

The holidays: a time to give and to give of ourselves

In a society that is too often individualistic, and despite the abundant means of communication available, solitude is omnipresent. If you sometimes feel alone, or wish you had a purpose in life or to take up new challenges, you may want to consider volunteering!

It can sometimes be difficult to balance our personal, family and professional lives. Lack of time is often the reason given for putting off until later our good intentions regarding volunteering. Yet, just a few hours can sometimes make all the difference. Although volunteering is known to be beneficial for persons who are retired in particular, people of all ages can benefit from it.

As we near the holidays, a number of organizations are working to put into place various activities to help the well-being of individuals who are alone or in need. In fact, there are all sorts of ideas for activities to do during the holidays:

  • preparing and distributing Christmas baskets;
  • visiting people that are hospitalized or in long-term care facilities;
  • preparing and serving community meals;
  • wrapping gifts for organizations (such as the Children’s Wish Foundation);
  • participating at a kiosk;
  • putting on free Christmas show;
  • answering calls for a help line;
  • etc.

The benefits on well-being and health

Volunteering can contribute to your well-being and health in several ways. Here are a few examples:

  • strengthens self-esteem and self-confidance;
  • general feeling of calm and well-being;
  • stabilizes mood;
  • reduces the risk of depression and anxiety;
  • increases your ability to manage stress;
  • improves quality of sleep;
  • reduces the risk of heart disease;
  • reduces mortality rate, especially for individuals over the age of 60.

Here are a few tips if you wish to integrate volunteering into your life:

  • Choose an activity that you enjoy or a cause that is important to you. You will find it easier to honour your commitment if it allows you to relax, energizes you and if it fits in well with your routine and your lifestyle.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to do the things that you have always dreamed of doing. For example, if your profession did not give you the opportunity to explore your artistic or creative side, choose benevolent activities that will.
  • Set realistic objectives for yourself.
  • Get friends and family involved in your benevolent activities and keep in mind everyone’s preferences and motivation.
  • Set aside time to take care of yourself.

"La grande guignolée des médias": an opportunity to be taken

The holidays are a golden opportunity to question ourselves about our social involvement. A simple and accessible way to pay it forward is to participate in “La grande guignolée des médias’’ which will take place from November 25 to December 24, 2013. Be it as a volunteer or as a donor, there’s no doubt that your contribution will make a big difference. This event takes place in numerous areas in Quebec each year. Be sure to listen for the different designated collection points announced in the media. All of the goods collected (non-perishable goods, money, household items, etc.) will be used to reach out to the less fortunate for the holidays and the start of the new year. In addition to going to the designated collection points, you can also bring your generous donations or your collected goods to your Jean Coutu pharmacy. More than 300 of our pharmacies participate in this initiative. It is also possible to make a donation by telephone, mail or internet. Here is the contact information:

Telephone: 514-790-1111 or 1-866-908-9090 (toll free)

Address:
Sun Youth
4251, St. Urbain Street
Montreal, Quebec  H2W 1V6

Volunteering is an opportunity to give a little of yourself and of your time. Why not take advantage of this time of the year to bring joy, a smile and your sense of commitment to the service of those in need? Who know, maybe your benevolent activities will provide you with an opportunity to form new lasting friendships and perhaps even a soul mate? In any event, suffice it to say that the benefits you will gain will go over and above your wildest imagination.

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The benefits of volunteering on mental health

Volunteering is one of those commitments that many of us put off until later… We often don’t realize just how much volunteering can be beneficial for us and for those we are helping. What if the time just before the holidays was the perfect opportunity to start?
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