Happy, Healthy Volunteers!

Wow, you certainly can tell it is January; and we are not referring to the current deep freeze we are experiencing. Seems like everywhere you look there are people offering to help create a new, healthier, happier, stronger, and leaner YOU! Well, before you jump on just any old bandwagon, we’d like to offer up Volunteer Calgary’s prescription for the New Year — a program of health and wellness that is recognized by all of the major players and experts in the field. One that doesn’t require a doctor’s note, postdated cheques or fancy equipment! If your goal this year is to build a healthier, happier YOU, please consider volunteering.  

The health benefits of volunteering are numerous and well documented:

  • According to a 2009 Mayo Clinic report, people who volunteer have lower rates of heart disease and live longer than those who don’t.
  • Volunteering can boost mental health; it’s a great way to stay connected socially; and those social connections help buffer stress and get a person through hard times.
  • Women tend to be more adept at maintaining social ties, and volunteer activities can further strengthen a woman’s social network.
  • Volunteering can provide a sense of purpose and vitality, key elements in helping stave off the depression that sometimes accompanies aging and isolation.
  • Volunteering can also improve your physical health there are many volunteering opportunities in the community that encourage volunteers to be physical everything from cleaning a local park to painting a fence or even helping lead a yoga class. 
  •  Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that people who remain actively engaged in life tend to have better mental health and are more capable of coping with life’s challenges.
  •  In his book, “Good Things Happen to Good People”, Stephen Post documents that “Volunteers tend to be happier and therefore less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.”
  •  For those who are unemployed or retired, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose.
  •  When you focus on helping others, you are less likely to focus on your own troubles.
  • Studies show that staying socially connected is related to good physical and emotional health.

 To realize the health benefits of volunteering, your commitment should be 40 to 100 hours a year, says the Mayo Clinic report. (That equates to a couple of hours a week.)

If health and wellness are on your list of things to improve in 2012, we invite you to check out the Volunteer Calgary website to sign up and create a personal profile and let us send you emails every time one of our non-profit organizations posts an opportunity that fits your description of the perfect match.

Volunteerism is a means by which people can take control of lives and make a difference to themselves and to those around them. ~UN State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2011


About Propellus

Propellus is a non-profit organization that has been empowering organizations since 1955. Through a dynamic range of consulting, training and member services, it helps organizations envision and realize new paths, practices and possibilities. Propellus guides, mentors and educates clients, arming them with tools and resources to help boost organizational effectiveness. Propellus strengthens organizations; in doing so, it leads the way toward building thriving communities.
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One Response to Happy, Healthy Volunteers!

  1. Meghan Charters says:

    What an excellent article – and focus – for the New Year! Bravo Volunteer Calgary for pointing out the wise ranging benefits of volunteering. Any chance your wonderful article can go out to a wider audience, such as the Herald?? If you’ve already done so, then great! Who knows what a life-line volunteering can be for so many. I speak from experience. Here’s to an outstanding year for Volunteer Calgary and all its volunteers and staff.

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