An opportunity arose in the shape of an advert from my local Age UK. At work, despite putting in more and more hours, I felt as if I was achieving less and I didn’t feel valued. I had an informal conversation with someone at the charity and immediately felt welcome.
My volunteering with them involved only a couple of days a month but was so worthwhile. I learned new skills and was also able to give back from my own experience. I worked with older people in my NHS day job but as a volunteer, I gained a different and more comprehensive perspective of some of the challenges that older people face – and how difficult life can be for many.
Helping others gives me a feeling of satisfaction that I am doing ‘my little bit’ to improve the lives of others. I was meeting new people and working as a team. All these things were mind-broadening and good for my own mental health.
With my interest in running, I now also marshal and help out at some outdoor events. It’s a win-win for me. I meet like-minded people with shared interests and provide mutual support. I always return from those days tired but happy.
Have you considered the benefits of volunteering? Giving something back to your community provides a great feeling and is recognised to improve mental wellbeing. Your input can also have a huge impact which you might not recognise until you do it.
If you wanted to find out more, your local volunteer centre will be able to provide information.
Challenges make life interesting - overcoming them makes life meaningful