This time of year is supposed to be a happy time with family and friends. The reality is that many people are sad, lonely or heartbroken during the holidays. When everyone else seems to be filled with holiday cheer and family togetherness, you may be left with a recent breakup, facing the holiday without a loved one for the first time, far from your family or feeling like you have nobody to share time with.
If that describes you - don’t worry - you are not alone.
Millions of people reach new depths of sadness during the holidays. The good news is that there’s a simple way to help heal your heart – give it away.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to exercise compassion and distract yourself from feeling down in the dumps. Instead, you’ll be out helping those in need.
You’ll feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Does that sound like a great way to heal your heart? In today’s post, I’ll be detailing exactly how you can start volunteering in ways that will enrich your life.
The Benefits of Volunteering
There are many benefits of volunteering that transcend feeling less lonely. A study published by Harvard indicates volunteering does not only provide mental benefits, Physical benefits include decreased blood pressure and lowered risk of other heart diseases.
Mental benefits include decreased stress, improved focus and a great sense of connectedness with humanity. They also highlight that those who experienced the greatest benefits volunteered for altruistic reasons.
Discover a Cause You’re Passionate About
Volunteering in general will help heal your heart, and volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about will take this to the next level. Selecting a cause that you’re passionate about will encourage you to keep volunteering long after you’re over feelings of sadness and loneliness. You’ll keep going back because you believe in the mission and enjoy being involved with something greater than yourself.
How can you determine which cause will help cure your sadness and take you into new realms of compassion?
Ask yourself a few questions:
- What are the options for volunteering within my community?
- Have I experienced any hardships in the past, such as homelessness or struggling with a disease?
- Has someone close to me struggled with something a cause is aiming to solve, such as cancer?
As you can see, we’re looking for something in your community that resonates with you due to your past experiences. If your mother grew up homeless, you may be drawn to volunteer with organizations who help the homeless.
Explore different organizations in your area that are accepting volunteers. Make a list of your top three and include their phone numbers and websites. You can even volunteer with us at Relief from Pain.
Getting Started as a Volunteer
Though you aren’t looking for a paycheck, you may still have to go through an application process with some organizations. You’ll be representing their cause and impacting their organization, so they may not accept everyone.
Start with your top choice and ask them how you can get started volunteering. They may direct you to an application online, or they may ask you to come down and talk with them. You may even be surprised by being told you start tomorrow!
If you do have to go through an interview to become a volunteer, treat it just like an interview for a job. Instead of paying you with money, they’re providing an outlet for your heart.
Dress nice, be polite and illustrate your passion for their cause.
Receiving the Most from Volunteering
Did you find a cause that you’re passionate about? Did you pass the interview? Make the most of it.
Volunteer as much as you can, and when you’re there, go out of your way to advance their cause. Don’t do the bare minimum, go above and beyond.
Put forth your best effort to help alleviate any lingering feelings of sadness.