Volunteering can play an important role in the recovery process. As you invest in helping others, you’re also helping yourself. When you do volunteer work, you can find a new sense of community and a new selfless connection to other people around you. Though it may start as a way to fill your free time, you may find it strikes a much deeper chord in you. You may also be surprised to see how it supports your recovery.
Where Can I Volunteer?
There are many organizations and facilities where you can volunteer depending on your schedule. Think about whether there are any particular groups or causes you want to volunteer for. Maybe you want to help the elderly. You might want to help the homeless and poverty-stricken. You may have a special soft spot for animals and want to help them find homes. Here are some ideas for ways you can spend your free time volunteering and some of the benefits you can reap by helping others.
Helping the Poor and Homeless
One way you can volunteer is by working at a homeless shelter. You might help sort through donations or work directly with the residents doing things like career counseling and helping them find work. Another possibility for helping people going through difficult times is working or volunteering at a soup kitchen. They generally operate in the evening, so if you have a work schedule that demands most of your day, you can still volunteer in the evening. Either one of these volunteer or work positions can remind you of how fortunate you are and give you a sense of gratitude for the little things. An attitude of gratitude and listening to people’s stories can enrich your life, as well as doing a world of good during tough times.
Helping the Elderly
Volunteering at a nursing home or long-term care center can mean anything from doing someone’s nails to reading a book out loud. Many people in long-term care facilities get few or no visitors and are lonely and bored because of it. Having someone that can stop by and chat with them can brighten their day and make all the difference in the world. Some assisted living facilities with active older adults also sponsor senior buddy programs. If you want to connect with someone on a deeper level, you can do things with them outside the nursing facility.
You can also volunteer with organizations like Meals on Wheels by delivering food to senior citizens and those who are homebound. This meal-delivery service may be the only healthy food a homebound senior gets all day, and it means the world to many people.
Volunteering with Animals
If you love animals, you can volunteer for an animal rescue or zoo if your city has one. You can also foster pets awaiting adoption in your home. Animals can give comfort and unconditional love. Studies have even shown that they help reduce blood pressure and provide a calming effect on people with anxiety. It’s hard to feel lonely when a dog is waiting for you to get home and wagging its tail at the door, or with a cat rubbing up against you and purring. If you have trouble making connections with humans, animals are a good place to start. It’s a relationship that stays simple; you don’t have to worry about arguments or drama with a furry pet.
Volunteering with Books
If you’re looking for volunteer work that entails less interaction with people, try volunteering at your local library. If you enjoy organizing things and putting things back in order, this is the job for you. If you like to read or enjoy checking out books, you might enjoy this type of volunteer work as well. Your library might have a reading program for children or group storytime that you can help to run or arrange.
If you want to get a little more involved in working with people in a literary setting, you can consider becoming a tutor. You may find your school has a study program after classes, or you may simply volunteer to tutor someone such as a niece or nephew. While you’re helping them build their math skills, you could be touching up on a few of your own. You may find you have a knack for teaching others and even want to pursue it more. You may also find that this boosts your self-esteem and gives you more confidence when you can help someone else learn, and may even hone your skills for a future job.
Volunteering helps other people in the community but it also helps you by boosting your confidence and self-esteem. It can also be a source of gratitude when you see how fortunate you are and remind you not to take anything for granted. You can also use volunteering to develop new skills or refine ones you already have. Both you and the people you help win in the end. At Everlast Recovery Center, we can also help you rebuild your self-esteem after the devastation of substance abuse. Through our therapy and alternative programs, you can learn how to cope without using drugs or alcohol and find what it is you have to offer other people. We all have value and purpose. Here at our Riverside, CA facility, you can rebuild your life. As part of our rehabilitation programs, we offer options like equine therapy, yoga, and art therapy in a homelike setting. If you’re suffering from substance abuse or mental health disorders, we can help. Call us today at (866) 338-6925.