Nurturing your mental health with meetings, exercise, counseling and good self-care will greatly enhance your recovery. Another way to improve mental health is through helping others. Volunteering in the local community opens up a whole new world of opportunities and positive outcomes for those both receiving and giving the help.
Connections are key. Our lives are expanded and enriched by connecting with others. Seeing, exploring and becoming part of a world beyond your own can brighten your life and provide new perspective.
Volunteering keeps you active and can help release dopamine in your brain which affects mood. These are key elements in battling stress and maintaining positivity. The physical and mental benefits of helping others last beyond the hours you spend doing it, too.
Volunteering allows you to tap into talents and skills you have, or explore interests you have always been curious about. Write down what skills and experience you have to share. Focus on things you like and enjoy and you will find a great fit, it might be photographing rescue animals or teaching computer skills. Make another list of things you have always wanted to try or learn more about. Museums and nature centers are always looking for volunteers.
Some unique opportunities you can look into include equine-assisted therapy, organizations that work with foster children, or sports- or skill-related programs. One good place to start is your local city government web site. Often, whole pages are dedicated to outreach and volunteering, Think through your interests and skills and find a volunteer opportunity that interests you.