Reasons to be cheerful…volunteer, volunteer, volunteer

Like many of you, I’m sitting in my attic room tapping away at my laptop with intermittent Zoom interjections, the odd phone call and an endless supply of tea/coffee.

And, let’s be honest, sometimes, just sometimes, life seems a little constricted.

But as I do my neck exercises and contemplate how to best execute our next virtual inspirational event, I realise that actually, it’s not so bad because I can spend the next part of my encouraging you to join our Inspiration for Innovation Network by showing that volunteering really is a two-way win. That in itself is a motivator and we all need some of those right now! 

So if you, like me are looking for a way to use your skills to help others and also do something to represent not only your own personal altruism but that of the company for which you work, then let me help you decide with a few easy pointers as to why that is the best idea for your own wellbeing and also for the wellbeing of the young people that are now confined at home doing their lessons online. 

This pandemic circumstance is tough for them. They miss their friends, their play-time and the social interaction that they get in the classroom. Plus, for the older children, they are worried about the effect these educational changes, such as cancellation of exams, will have on their futures. 

Aside from the considerable benefits to society as a whole, volunteering allows you to enjoy new experiences, learn a skill or simply help those most in need. But there are proven other benefits too, which are very relevant to our here and now, so let’s see if we can take some positive pandemic busting steps to improve our mental health and wellbeing whilst giving our next generation a much needed boost of inspiration…

Let’s start with this one – if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, or are preoccupied with negative thoughts, having an activity that’s a bit out of the norm will help take your mind off those negatives and help you to live in the moment, which is great because we all need a distraction.

Not only that but the satisfaction you can get by helping others can really reaffirm your sense of purpose and values. You might have to learn a new skill, even if it’s something quick and easy, like online presenting, and this is important because learning in itself brings a sense of achievement and fulfilment. 

Also, even though we are in lockdown and much of what we are doing is online, volunteering definitely brings social opportunities, which are proven to promote mental wellbeing. Just to prove a point, today I chatted with a completely new acquaintance about our Inspiration for Innovation Network activities, the conversation was fun and informative and was a great way to remind myself how much I love talking to and learning from other people. It made me feel good. 

By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel. For those of us who are less naturally outgoing, it also gives an opportunity to practice and develop social skills and it builds confidence. One advantage of volunteering online is that you don’t necessarily have to see your audience, so it really does help with any stage fright.

Depending on where you are on your career journey volunteering can also help you advance your career prospects by giving you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization. You might feel more comfortable stretching your wings at work once you’ve honed these skills in a volunteer position first.

Here are some comments from our  Automotive 30% Club networks about how volunteering has made them feel…

“I have personally gained a sense of achievement by being able to talk through my skills and experience to help support our young adults of today.  Now more than ever these guys need support so I am more than happy to volunteer to support this.”

“Running this session has further inspired me to volunteer for more of these sessions.  It was clear that the students found the session useful which is encouraging to know and provides me with the confidence to continue building on these sessions to benefit other students in the same position.”

“It was very rewarding and made you feel very important”

“A welcoming change from a normal day in the office and quite refreshing to provide support to a club which actively encourages diversity in the Motor Industry”

If you are a member of the Automotive 30% Club and would like to help others whilst helping yourself and the company you work for by volunteering for our Inspiration for Innovation Network, please drop Danielle@automotive30club.co.uk a message or complete our short volunteer profile form here.

For more information about our Inspiration for Innovation Network, visit our website.

 

Article by – Danielle Humphreys, Inspiration for Innovation Network Manager

 

Source(s)

https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/volunteering-mental-health

https://www.powerofpositivity.com/volunteering-is-best-for-good-mental-health/

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