Life seems to have fallen into a rut lately. It has been a year since you retired, and you’re still searching for a new purpose. Many of your closest friends are still working. Your adult children and grandchildren live two states away. Spending more time with your spouse and indulging your interests—pottery, writing and photography—have been wonderful, but you have a lingering desire to do more with your time.
You couldn’t do much better—for others and for yourself—than volunteering. Many volunteers say they get more out of the experience than those they help. That is true in ways they may not realize, especially for seniors.
Volunteering is far more than the act of donating time and energy to help others. It is also:
- A compass. If you’re searching for direction after a major life event, such as retirement or the loss of a spouse, volunteering can provide it.
- A form of hypertension prevention. Want to avoid high blood pressure? Research suggests volunteering can help.
- A mobility preserver. Donating your time is a good way to stay active, which may help you maintain strength, flexibility and independence.
- A mood booster. Being around others while giving back can help prevent or reduce depression, including after the death of a loved one.
- A relationship builder. Volunteering is a way to strengthen existing ties and form new friendships during a time of life when socialization is perhaps more important than ever for emotional health.
- A stress reducer. Volunteering can help unburden your mind and spirit of the stresses of everyday life by allowing you to connect with others, do meaningful work and satisfy our innate desire to be helpful.
- An icebreaker. Meeting new people can be difficult, particularly if you’re introverted. Volunteering is a way to practice engaging with others in an environment in which you’re comfortable.
- Brain food. Being of service to others can help your mind stay sharp and agile.
Think about your interests, find a volunteer opportunity that aligns with them and start serving. You, and those you help, will be glad you did.
The Volunteers at Columbus Regional Healthcare System are always looking for members to assist with their many projects. If you would like more information about how to join the CRHS Volunteer group please call 910-642-8011 x2257 or visit crhealthcare.org/volunteers.