Mind Your Mind: Ideas for volunteering

One thing I was told by a therapist was that sometimes the act of contributing to others can make a difference. So today, I want to share some ideas about what to do if you find yourself having free time, and you would like to spend some time and energy volunteering!

Check out volunteering opportunities and resources on websites such as Vancouver.ca, Volunteer BC, GoVolunteer or Volunteer Vancouver!

My potential ways to contribute include:

  • Browsing volunteering positions online
  • Working an extra shift at a learning centre
  • Write cards to my loved ones and sending them through the mail
  • Send handwritten letters to my friends
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Volunteer at a food bank
  • Tutor/babysit kids for free
  • Donate blood
  • Volunteer at a yoga or spin class studio
  • Volunteer at the hospital
  • Help homeless and at-risk youths
  • Participate in a study

Of course, the possibilities are endless. It’s a good idea to ask yourself, “What are my interests? If I could do something to change the world, what would I do?”

Volunteering has so many benefits, but for me personally, it increases my self-esteem and adds purpose to my life. There are a million ways to volunteer/contribute on campus.

Volunteering can, of course, add to your resume. But I caution you: volunteering feels much better when you do it to help others, and not simply to check off another thing on your list.

I do have to say, though, that students are incredibly busy. So, if you don’t have time to volunteer this time, that is totally okay! Volunteering doesn’t have to be another stressor in your life. Even volunteering for one event once a term can be enough to add meaning.

For myself, I find that volunteering can be draining. So, I volunteer for a few months, then take a break. Then when I feel better, I start volunteering again. It’s important to recognize one’s own limits (again, I really need to listen to my own advice at times)!

My last thought is that volunteering can be a way to explore your interest; it can also open doors to potential employment opportunities; and can bring you an immense amount of joy.

What are some ways you can contribute?

The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, the Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency, call 911.