As we look beyond the holidays, many of us are thinking about what to do differently next year. Some of us (you know who you are!) will make the same New Year’s resolutions – about exercise, saving money, or learning new skills.
But what if we flipped the script? Try connecting your self-care goals to improving someone else’s life. Consider these common New Year’s resolutions and how volunteering can help you keep them.
Be healthy. Doing good is good for you! A growing body of research links volunteering and benefits to mental and physical health, like reducing stress and the risk of hyper-tension, building self-esteem, and strengthening social connections.
Lose weight. Volunteering can keep you moving and burning extra calories. Consider helping out with a 5K race, packing meals for food insecure families or getting involved with kids’ fitness and nutrition initiatives to inspire you to move more and eat better. Or get help with weight loss: learn how United Way of St. Charles helped community members lose over 900 pounds.
Spend less/save more. Share your money-smart ways with people who may be struggling to make ends meet. Improve a family’s financial security by volunteering to help plan and teach financial literacy classes or prepare tax returns.(And no, you don’t need to be a CPA!)
Spend more time with family. Volunteering as a family teaches children the importance of helping others, teamwork, and generosity and builds stronger connections between family members and your community. Check out these great ideas for engaging kids and teens in service and volunteering.
Travel. Volunteering away from home expands your horizons further than leisure travel. Being exposed to different cultures is also good for the communities you serve. International UN Volunteers deploys thousands of volunteers from more than 150 countries across the globe. Go Overseas and Volunteer Forever offer reviews of programs that accept international volunteers.
Read more. Kids who develop strong reading skills at a young age are more likely to succeed in school, work and life. Reading with and tutoring young students is one of the very best ways to volunteer your time and energy.
Whatever you resolve to do in 2020, make it a happier New Year for you and someone else by volunteering