Volunteering Reduces Your Summer Blues
Summer volunteering can better your life. It can promote better health, reduce stress, increase community engagement, and give your life purpose. During the chaotic summer season, people can become stressed or even depressed and studies show that volunteering can be a great cure.
Have You Got Summer Depression?
When the seasonal pattern changes, it’s not uncommon for people to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Although it’s associated with winter months, people can also suffer from SAD in the summer. They may experience symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and depression. These symptoms can be triggered by anything from the heat to overbooked summer schedules. To relieve these symptoms, some people exercise or try relaxation techniques, but volunteering may also be a solution.
Helping others, or helping the environment, can help a person’s overall wellness. In a 2013 UnitedHealth Group study, 76 percent of volunteers said helping others made them feel healthier, 94 percent said volunteering improved their mood, and 78 percent said helping others lowered their stress.
Summer Volunteering Ideas
Listed are a few Mindful summer volunteering ideas.
- Clean the beach. With the increase of beach activity in the summer, there is also an increase of trash and pollution. Do your part by volunteering to clean your local beach. Local environmental groups usually have designated beach cleanup days that you can join. You’ll get an opportunity to meet new people and help the environment. Also, consider signing a pledge with the Ocean Conservancy.
- Volunteer at a zoo. A lot of zoos see increased visitation numbers in summer months, so they’ll definitely need extra hands. Many zoos have volunteer programs for adolescents, in which teenagers learn leadership skills, as well as adult volunteer programs. Zoo volunteers can assist guests, help with special events, and provide information.
- Support local summer camps. Help local children by supporting your community’s summer camps. From military camps to academic camps to faith-based camps, there are many different summer programs that you can help. So, if you play the guitar, consider volunteering at a music camp or if you’re great a crafts, volunteer at a summer art camp.
- Lend a hand at a festival or fair. Similar to summer camps, there are a large variety of festivals that happen during the summer and many of them need volunteers. Whether it’s a music, food, art, or heritage festival, many things will need to be done. Usually, you’ll get free tickets if you help pick up litter, help with parking, or assist the ticket booth.
- Clean a park. Another volunteering opportunity that is great for the whole family is cleaning a local park. You can plant trees, clean up trash, and repair or update the playground equipment. Check with your local recreations and parks department to see when their next volunteer opportunity is scheduled.
Bonus: Want more volunteering ideas? Consider summer “voluntouring,” which is a combination of a travel holiday and volunteer work. You can help feed the hungry, build homes, or clean the environment. It’s a great bonding experience for the family, it’s a great learning experience for children, and you’ll be able to help others. For more on summer “voluntouring,” consider these tips.