We know life is stressful during this difficult time navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC conducted a survey in late June about mental health during COVID-19 and found that 40% of respondents experienced anxiety and depression.
Nonprofit organizations depend on volunteers, but did you know volunteering often benefits your health, too? Here are four reasons to give a little time to a nonprofit organization and how volunteering can benefit your health. United Way of Larimer County recently launched a county-wide volunteer platform at NoCoVolunteers.org to support response efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic – and to eventually provide opportunities to support recovery and clean-up with the Cameron Peak fires.
Thank you to United Way Worldwide for many of the items on this list!
Realizing how much of an impact volunteering can make is incredibly fulfilling. Volunteers who work together to build or clean-up a children’s playground can later visit the site and see how the project has enriched the neighborhood. Just a few hours of refreshing a community space can turn into a lifetime of opportunity!
Volunteer opportunities can allow people to try new activities or learn new skills. A great way to give back during the COVID-19 pandemic can be virtual, by helping with social media or digital marketing. Creating content with canva.com or writing a blog post for a local organization can help volunteers learn about blog writing or how to design eye-catching content.
New friendships can be formed while volunteering, especially when like-minded individuals get together to give back to the community. By giving just a few hours a week, lifetime friendships may be established. It’s not uncommon for volunteers to exchange phone numbers or social media information and keep in touch long after the volunteer project has ended.
Volunteering can be beneficial to your health as well! A recent Harvard University study found that volunteering was linked to favorable health and well-being outcomes. The study focused on U.S. adults over 50 and showed that study participants who volunteered for about 2 hours a week annually developed fewer physical limitations than non-volunteers and had a reduced risk of dying. Positive psychosocial outcomes, like being optimistic, were shown to be higher among volunteers as well.
Kaiser Permanente, a long-time supporter of volunteerism in our community, has also found that volunteering can help reduce stress levels, reduce the risk of depression, and lower blood pressure.
As our community navigates challenging times, volunteering can be an impactful way to support those in need while managing your personal health and well-being. Virtual volunteering is a fun way to stay safe and give back to the community. Visit Larimer County’s volunteer resource center at NoCoVolunteers.org to find your next volunteer opportunity!