Why Volunteering Should Top Your New Year’s Resolutions List
A new year offers a new opportunity to commit to our best selves. You know what that means – the age-old New Year’s resolution.
If you're looking for a New Year's resolution that will fill your soul and strengthen the community, we recommend putting volunteering at the top of your list.
When you volunteer (especially with Habitat!), you give so much more than your time. You give partnership to people, families, and communities building a stronger future through affordable housing – and at Habitat, we cannot do what we do without our volunteers.
But don’t just do it for us, or for the community. Do it for yourself! That’s right – volunteerism comes with significant, well-documented benefits for you, too.
So, while you’re assembling your list of resolutions, here’s another list for you:
3 Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering is a wonderful way to mingle with people – and when you volunteer for a cause close to your heart, you’re likely to cross paths with folks whose values align with yours! If you’re hoping to create positive change, so much of the work begins with getting out in the community and connecting with those you may be unlikely to interact with in your daily life. In their book Just Action, Richard and Leah Rothstein emphasize the importance of consciously creating connections outside your usual social circles when it comes to advocating for equitable housing. Going out to volunteer – might we suggest a Habitat site, ReStore, or workshop? – is a great place to start building those connections.
And connections, as we know better than ever, are vital. In fact, a recent advisory from the Surgeon General warned that we are wrestling with an “Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” Creating connections with others is critical to combating this issue and the problems that can result.Improve Your Health
The Mayo Clinic and Happiness.com agree: there are real, physical benefits to your health when you volunteer. It’s a reality that shows up in studies related to heart disease, stroke, mortality rates, blood pressure, and more.
When you volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, for instance, you’re likely to spend the day moving your body. You’ll be in a warm, welcoming environment among people who are working with you in common purpose. You’ll learn and practice new skills. Imagine making volunteerism a regular part of your life, and the benefits your body will enjoy because of it.Support Your Mental and Emotional Well-Being
And of course, they’re not just benefits you’ll feel in your body. Volunteerism can be amazing for your mental and emotional health. Not only does it help you build connection (see above), but it can help give you a renewed sense of purpose. The Mayo Clinic points out that “Volunteering reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine” – all of which can feed right back into those physical benefits, too. Volunteerism has been shown to be linked to reduced depression and anxiety, while correlating to greater happiness and self-esteem.
When you give your time through volunteering, you get a lot back. So, as you’re evaluating your priorities to kick off 2024, we encourage you to prioritize a little self-care. And as a volunteer, caring for the community is self-care.
Wherever and however you volunteer, we hope you’ll enjoy all the incredible benefits we’ve listed here, and more. And while it doesn’t have to be with Habitat, we’d love to have you with us as part of our amazing volunteer community.