2 min read
As we get older and consider the wisdom and blessings that life has bestowed upon us, the importance of giving back to a community in need is often magnified, and many turn to volunteer work for a sense of purpose and meaning.
The best way to overcome barriers to volunteering is to find opportunities that are a good match, not only with regard to your interests and passions, but also in terms of your lifestyle.
-Dr. Jason Holland, Lifespark
But volunteer work is not only good medicine for the soul; it’s also extremely good for your health.
Benefits of Volunteer Work
Here are just a few of the many benefits of volunteer work in later life:
- Longer life span
- Reduced stress levels
- More active lifestyle
- Lower likelihood of disability
- Fewer negative emotions
- Greater well-being
Barriers to Volunteering
- Not having enough time
- Health problems and physical limitations
- Waning interest in the cause
- Dissatisfaction with the volunteer opportunity (e.g., due to disorganization or lack of appreciation)
Making It Work
The best way to overcome these barriers is to find volunteer opportunities that are a good match, not only with regard to your interests and passions, but also in terms of your lifestyle.
Some factors to consider are:
- What causes excite you the most?
- Would you prefer to volunteer from home or out in the community?
- Would a short- or long-term volunteer commitment work best for you?
Established non-profit organizations that coordinate these volunteer activities offer a wide variety of opportunities to accommodate people with busy schedules and other limitations.
For international options, Give a Day Global helps match people to volunteer opportunities all across the world, so even on your vacation you can devote one day of your trip to supporting a worthy community cause.
In the comments below, tell us about your experiences with volunteering. How did it enrich your life? What barriers did you encounter? How did you deal with them?
Jenkinson, C. E., Dickens, A. P., Jones, K., Thompson-Coon, J., Taylor, R. S., Rogers, M., … & Richards, S. H. (2013). Is volunteering a public health intervention? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the health and survival of volunteers. BMC Public Health, 13, 773.
Mojza, E. J., & Sonnentag, S. (2010). Does volunteer work during leisure time buffer negative effects of job stressors? A diary study. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 19, 231-252.
Mojza, E. J., Sonnentag, S., & Bornemann, C. (2011). Volunteer work as a valuable leisure‐time activity: A day‐level study on volunteer work, non‐work experiences, and well‐being at work. Journal of occupational and organizational psychology, 84(1), 123-152.
Morrow-Howell, N., Hinterlong, J., Rozario, P. A., & Tang, F. (2003). Effects of volunteering on the well-being of older adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 58, S137-S145.