Volunteering as self-care

July 22, 2022
Volunteer smiling outdoors.
In honour of International Self-Care Day on July 24, it’s important to spread the word that volunteering can be self-care too!

Self-care means something a little different to everyone but, at its core, self-care refers to taking the time and energy to care for your mental and physical well-being. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) phrases it this way: Self-care is caring for your mental and emotional needs, physical needs, social needs, spiritual needs, practical needs and intellectual needs. If you neglect one or more of these buckets, it can be difficult to feel balanced and well.

These days, self-care is often used as a buzzword to sell material goods like creams, candles and soaps, but it’s important to look at the big picture. When it comes to genuine self-care, instant gratification is not going to bring about a lasting sense of well-being. What you’re looking for instead are long-term measures that will have a positive effect on your health over time.

Enter, volunteerism.

Volunteering presents all sorts of benefits when it comes to both mental and physical health. Many volunteers experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment in giving of their time and expertise to assist those in need and to make a difference in their communities. Rebecca Drain, an active volunteer we spoke to for the latest issue of Sage magazine, hit the nail on the head when she told us: “It’s good for my soul. I want to be out there doing good in the world.”

Truly, helping others and giving back checks off many self-care boxes. Volunteering can build friendships and reduce isolation through meaningful social interaction. Activities that get us off the couch and out of the house can also do wonders for our physical health. Volunteering can boost self-confidence from accomplishing goals, learning new skills and making a difference in the world. For many, volunteering is also a key aspect of active retirement, adding some structure to the days. So, if anything in this list rings true for you, maybe it’s time to volunteer — whether that’s with our Association or another organization that is meaningful to you.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Federal Retirees and using your skills to improve retirement in Canada, we’d love to hear from you! Become part of our Reach 338 network and help make a difference in your riding. Connect with your local branch or contact our national office and tell us more about yourself and your interests.