3 Crucial Elements for Meaningful Volunteer Projects
We hit the gym to improve our bodies, but what can you do to improve or maintain the health of your mind? Here at Project Helping, we design volunteer projects with the key elements to improve mental wellness.
Whether you’ve been struggling for awhile or you just want to foster good mental health, giving back can help you feel better.
But not all volunteer projects are created equal.
We hand select all of our volunteer projects by carefully working with our non-profit partners to include these key 3 elements.
#1: Simple to sign up for.
First, we’ve found it’s important to break down the barriers to getting involved. We build unique relationships with our nonprofit partners to make it ridiculously easy to find and sign up for our volunteer events. Plus, we do the majority of the registration work for our volunteers.
We are continually trying to improve upon this barrier, simplifying both finding and signing up for events.
Next, we ensure every volunteer project is hands on and engaging. This is important because the more clearly the volunteer can see the impact of their work, the more it improves mental wellness and self worth.
By being closely involved, volunteers often report an increased sense of self esteem, gratitude and peace of mind after just one volunteer project!
Finally, each volunteer project is also carefully designed to have a social setting. The social setting offers people an opportunity to be part of a community of people who empathize with the effects of mental health challenges and want to promote mental wellbeing. This type of meaningful interaction empowers our volunteers to build lasting, supportive relationships.
Building a support network is an incredibly powerful way to combat the isolation of depression. But you don’t need to be in the “critical danger” zone to reap the benefits of connecting with peers in a healthy, meaningful way.
But why is volunteering good for the volunteer?
Volunteering often gets looked at as a zero-sum equation, with whomever is being served being the beneficiary of the work.
However, there’s a physiological reaction that happens in the brain when you help other people, releasing biochemicals like serotonin and dopamine, making you feel happier and more at ease.
Regardless of how you volunteer, it is important to keep in mind that volunteering need not simply be an altruistic game. Rather, it can be an excellent way to boost your mood, gain perspective and foster meaningful relationships.