Volunteering is not only good for others; it’s good for you too. Studies show that volunteering contributes to both your mental and physical health by reducing stress and depression and encouraging physical activity, among many other benefits. Using Reward Volunteers can make the hours you spend serving others even more fun and effective.
Here are just a few of the mental and physical health benefits of volunteering according to a variety of medical and psychological sources, including The Corporation for National Community Service report on The Health Benefits of Volunteering:
–Decreases risk of depression by increasing social interaction and helping form a support system and build relationships.
–Provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment and increases self-confidence.
–Supports staying physically active. There are many volunteer activities that can get you up and moving while helping others at the same time.
–Can reduce stress levels and can also reinforce the need to slow down and appreciate what you have. The Happiness Effect Studies show that the more you volunteer, the happier you are. Helping others releases dopamine in the brain, which elevates your mood.
Its not uncommon to spend hours or even days doing volunteer work which begs the question, what are your options for quick, healthy meals to enjoy before, during or even after a productive day of volunteer service? We know volunteering takes time, says Wing, but its still important to try to provide your family a healthy homemade meal.
Our Make-Ahead Spaghetti Pie is the perfect go-to dish that can easily be made ahead of time for those days when you’re busy volunteering. It’s inexpensive to make and can be easily paired with your favorite side salad or roasted veggies; plus it’s rich in nutrients like protein and calcium so it makes you feel good about serving it too.
At Cabot, we have a long history supporting community activism and involvement through a number of programs – Reward Volunteers (since 2012); The Community Celebrity Cruise (since 2010); The 2012 Community Tour, 2014 Community Tour, and the 2016 Community Tour. Through these programs, Cabot encourages volunteerism, honors selfless volunteers for the work they do day in and day out, and helps spread the message of the importance of volunteering.
In 2014 our Cabot team was in Florida with our Farmers’ Gratitude Grille serving lunch to the Jim & Heather Gills YMCA. What a history they have! They started as a Y Without Walls around 1920 and then, seven years later they opened the first Y building. They’ve grown to cover four branches. It was a joy to support their volunteers and what they do for their community.
We met Hilary Douglass, who is originally from our neck of the woods – New Hampshire. Hilary thinks of special ways to celebrate with the volunteers. Every week has a theme and, we’re proud to say, that we visited on week Joy.
Meeting people like Hilary is a wonderful reminder of the connections and yes, the joy, that comes from volunteering.
There are so many resources you can use to find volunteer opportunities in your area. VolunteerMatch.org brings “good people and good causes together.” The United Way has an online form you can fill out to determine where there’s a need for your time, skills, and energy. And the amazing folks at All For Good exist solely to help match people willing to volunteer and organizations who need their help. They can help you find and share all kinds of ways to do good. Click here to learn more about Cabot’s Gratitude department.
This is an updated version of a post that was originally published on April 20th, 2014.