I was drawn into the buzz – several activities were happening simultaneously. English class for non-English speakers, peer support group, mental health activities, & whatnot! It seemed like I was transported from a vacuum into a buzzing world of non-stop activities. Contrary to my fears, I wasn't intimidated by it. Despite the chaos around me, I felt strangely at home.
That day, I went to Mary Seacole House just to see what it was all about, and I ended up agreeing to volunteer three days a week. I was assigned to help run women's and men's peer support group, through which MSH run several mental health and well-being programs for women, men, and families.
I am writing this blog to share my experience and the valuable lessons I learned as a volunteer. There are several benefits to volunteering. Allow me to list a few for you.
It Gives A Sense of PurposePersonally, the most significant benefit of volunteering is the sense of purpose it provides. Engaging in meaningful activities that contributed to the well-being of others gave me a renewed sense of purpose. Before volunteering, I often felt adrift and disconnected from the world. But as I started devoting my time and energy to a cause I cared about, I found a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose, which I didn't know I was lacking.
It Connects You with the Community:Volunteering opened doors to new relationships and connections. It allowed me to meet like-minded individuals who shared my passion for making a difference. I volunteered with a group of people who genuinely cared about the causes and worked for the well-being of the service users. It was an opportunity for me to forge new friendships and connections that helped me overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation I felt throughout the pandemic. Being part of a supportive network boosted my self-esteem and provided a sense of belonging. Through volunteering, I got a family away from home…
Gives a New Perspective and Instils a Sense of GratitudeVolunteering exposed me to different perspectives and life experiences. It was a humbling reminder of the challenges others face and has helped foster empathy and gratitude within me. Witnessing the resilience and determination of those less fortunate made me appreciate the privileges I often took for granted. This shift in perspective helped me develop gratitude for the blessings in my own life, and it significantly improved my overall outlook.
It is a Stress Relief
Engaging in volunteering activities has been a healthy distraction from personal stressors. When I immersed myself in volunteer work, I found that my worries and anxieties took a back seat. Although I was never a habitual worrier, I slowly became one. However, focusing on helping others allowed me to break free from the clutches of worries and unnecessary stress. Moreover, it allowed me to gain a fresh perspective. I had read about studies showing that acts of kindness and altruism can trigger the release of endorphins, promoting feelings of happiness and reducing stress. Volunteering helped me experience that.
It Facilitates Personal Growth and Skill DevelopmentVolunteering gave me a unique opportunity for personal growth and skill development. By stepping outside of my comfort zones, I have acquired new skills, gained valuable experiences, and even discovered some hidden talents. Through volunteer work, I further developed leadership skills, improved my communication abilities, overcame my reluctance to socialize, and learned to adapt to diverse situations. These newfound skills boosted my self-confidence and proved valuable in various aspects of my life.
Apart from that, I also attended several formal training in health and safety, food safety and hygiene, TEFL, PTLLS, and more. Learning is a never-ending adventure, so I grabbed every opportunity to learn new skills and brush up on my abilities during my stint as a volunteer.
To all of you reading this, consider volunteering if you're feeling lost or missing a sense of purpose. Find a cause that resonates with you and dedicate time to making a difference. The benefits you'll experience may surprise you. Remember, by helping others, you're also helping yourself.
So, why not embark on a journey of transformation and self-discovery through volunteering? Your mental health will thank you for it.
Click here to know more about Mary Seacole House, Liverpool.